Friday, November 30, 2007

Children of Men

I just read PD James' Children of Men and it gave me a lot more respect for the film. The book is good, in its own way, but it's surprisingly staid, almost sedate, and its concerns are fairly different than those of the movie. Characters are dramatically altered, the ending is completely changed. And all of the best moments of the film -- the refugee camp, the final battle, the impossibly slow car chase, the carjacking, the David -- are nowhere to be found in the novel. Likewise for the book, with its descriptions of the children of the last year of fertility as evil, emotionless bastards and the booming doll industry and the women who push dolls around in baby carriages, cooing at each other's children, etc. And that's fantastic for both the book and the movie. It's not just an adaptation, not just a reimaginging, but a reinvention. Sure, both have their clumsy moments (the diary feels forced to me in the book, as forced as much of the dialogue and the occasional overwrought image felt in the movie (the manger, the repeated exclamations of "Jesus!")), but, still, good good good.

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