Fantasy Fiction into Film: Essays
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This work examines the symbolism of fantasy fiction, literal and figurative representation in fantastic film adaptations, and the imaginative differences between page and screen. Essays focus on movies adapted from various types of fantasy fiction--novels, short stories and graphic novels--and study the transformation and literal translation from text to film in the Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Howl's Moving Castle, Finding Neverland, The Wizard of Oz, Wicked and Practical Magic.
produced since the creation of the medium. Even in times of limited technology, during the era of the silent film, audiences flocked to movies like The Lost World, She, and The Thief of Bagdad. And should it be any wonder that these very films were themselves adaptations of existing texts? A brief foray into the history of fantasy film demonstrates that many (if not most) film fantasies have characteristically been such adaptations. This is not only true of more recent movies such as those in the
Pretty,” begins the Wicked Witch, viewing Dorothy’s party en route to Oz. “So Gandalf,” begins Saruman, when he learns the good wizard intends to lead the Fellowship through Moria. • The Witch on her bicycle or broomstick, her cape flying about her, could o›er a model for Jackson’s Black Riders— insubstantial and ghostly in Tolkien’s text — in their flying capes, galloping in pursuit on black horses. • The filmic Saruman employs flocks of birds as spies, recalling the flying monkeys who perform
mistreatment. In a similarly recuperative gesture, Kathy Davis Patterson’s “From Private Practice to Public Coven(ant): Alice Ho›man’s Practical Magic and its Hollywood Transformation” discusses the conversion of the witch from an emblem of female corruption and potential malfeasance to a feminine principle inherent in all women and one that challenges the domination of patriarchy. However, Patterson argues that the film of Practical Magic does not manage to eradicate completely the negative
which made the witch think she had traveled on a broomstick. The straddling the broom was “undoubtedly more than a symbolic Freudian act, serving as an applicator for the atropine-containing plant to the sensitive vaginal membranes” (¡3¡). Whether the phallic shape was practical or symbolic, the image came to signify a woman’s use of male power, the phallus, to transcend the limitations of the physical and, thus, female realm. The vertical has more to do with heavenly concerns, while the
explains that the child “would not allow itself to be lowered into a pail of water” (30). Thus from the very outset of the novel, Maguire’s witch has green skin (a trait from the movie, not the book) and an unnatural intolerance of water. Her di›erence from other people is based strictly on these physical traits. Although Maguire does explore the nature of wickedness in his novel, he creates no clear binary between good and evil. While her social-climbing roommate Glinda studies sorcery, Elphaba