Tuesday, January 05, 2010

Superior

It’s been an exciting start to the year. One of the things that G and I have to do each evening is 30 minutes of housework (this is a not a permanent thing, it is merely to undo the chaos). Last night was the kitchen, which is looking pretty good now, and tonight is the bedroom. The bedroom will take more than an hour of collective work to sort out. I might also have to check the definition of exciting as well.

Over the weekend I watched the BBC adaptation of The Day of the Triffids. I imagine taking so long to comment on it (a week?) makes it old news in blog world, but I shall throw off convention. If I had never read the book I think I would have thought it was really good. Having read the book, it certainly strayed some way from the original, although was not entirely at odds with it. Bill Masen’s father does not appear in the book and the nun is puritanical rather than a bit deranged. I think ultimately what the TV adaptation lost was the sense of man’s weakness. Both a meteor shower and some plants get the upper hand in the book, but on TV you never got a sense of quite how many people were blind (about 95% of the population) or that it was truly a global phenomenon. The TV programme also implied that were it not for an error the Triffids might have been defeated – and they could actually be foxed by black magic – whereas the book shows the great toil that humans would have to face if they had to pretty much start all over again, whether that be in terms of building a population or laws or morality. Whilst the TV version gave food for thought, the book offered far greater things to ponder and was, in all ways, the superior.

10 comments:

LizSara said...

I never read the book and i thought the TV adaptation was rubbish. Well acted but terrible production and no sense of menace at all. As for the 'black magic' part of it, that made no sense in any world. I am now hunting down my copy of the book to give it a read and see what it should have been like.

Rebecca Taunton said...

I like the idea of half an hour's housework a day...it wouldn't feel so bad having to do it then. Though I do think a rethink of the word "exciting" is a must ;-)

Sarah said...

I enjoyed the first half of the triffid adaptation, but not the second. In the first I was impressed by the way in which the story had been brought up to date without substantially changing any important details.

But in the second half, I think it was as you said. There was little or no sense that humanity had been defeated and must start again almost from scratch. And sometimes fiction needs that little bit of humility.

Random Reflections said...

LizSara - thanks for your comment. I couldn't work out if I thought the Triffids were some 1970s Dr Who cast off. I thought they were a bit more 'realistic' towards the end though.

I am glad that what the TV version did was inspire you to read the book. I think it is really good and well worth a read.

I have also taken a look over at your blog and will drop by again and comment at some point. Thanks for stopping by.

Rebecca - we have managed to keep it going for two days, so that is good. I wonder when we will give up though. We have mixed enthusiasm about it - it is cleaning after all! Perhaps my new year's resolution should be to work out what "exciting" really means...

Sarah - yes, I thought the first half was much better than the second and truer to the book. There were many things in the second half that I thought just strayed way too far from the original.

I rather liked the starkness of the book and that it showed us how fallible (and arrogant) we can be. I also liked the dilemmas it presented because there were no quick fix solutions - and I was so miffed by the whole black magic bit of it and thought that totally undermined the very nature of what John Wyndham wrote. He was someone who wrote about every day things and then put a twist into it and posed the dilemma of overcoming it (if that was even possible). The black magic solution just totally missed the point.

Kahless said...

Its probably 25 (!) years since I read the book but I must say I did enjoy the tv adaptation.

Have you read "The Midwich Cuckoos"

I still remember the old black and white adaption, called something else... I forget .. i will just go google...

[incidently the word verification is rable, which I read as ramble!]

Kahless said...

Ah yes, where was I????

"village of the damned."

It had....
er just off back to google...

Kahless said...

see here

Now word verification is kackli [read "kack"]

Random Reflections said...

Kahless - the book is so much better than the TV version - time to re-read the book? I thought the TV adaptation lacked the subtlety of the book. It had that need to try and come up with a more conclusive ending, like TV audiences demand, rather than the more stark conclusion of the book.

I have read The Midwich Cuckoos and really liked it, but haven't seen a TV version of it. I might give it a go.

All my word verifications are specially chosen for you. Your next one will be:

updateyourblog!

I hope things are ok with you xx

Kahless said...

lmfao!

I will at the weekend. Too knackered right now and about to get some zeds. More snow today. I couldnt get the back gate open this am (iced shut.)

I am taping Slumdog which is on C4 right now. I will watch that at the weekend rather than tonight as a result of the review you posted a while back.

Random Reflections said...

Kahless - I will look forward to the weekend then. We had snow as well, even in the centre of London. I am hoping that is the end of it.

Oh... Slumdog... you have been warned...