Tuesday, 14 July 2009

De Ja Vu

I was just watching the DVD of Anne of Green Gables The Sequel the other day which is a hefty almost 4 hours long and is based on three of the follow up books to Anne of Green Gables by L. M. Montgomery.

It isn't bad, certainly it's only based on the books and deviates from them marvellously. In some ways I enjoyed it more than the first DVD, probably because I'm not so attached to the sequel books as to the first book. So the fact that the plot deviates a lot didn't bother me so much.

I know that TV series such as this are supposed to evoke a sense of de ja vu, but must they do it so self-consciously? I suppose I watched 4 hours in one stretch (hey, I've just lost my job, I have nothing to do round the house all day but watch nostalgic videoes) and if it were shown episodically on TV it may have felt differently.

But I felt that in the Anne of Green Gables DVDs, they overdid the bit about repeating key "Anne" phrases till they became laborious. "Luckily I have an imagination" "she really is a kindred spirit" "I see that [whatever] hasn't damaged your tongue, Anne" seemed to pepper everyone's speech, with a knowing look and twinkle in the eye. Bah. Or maybe it just seemed that way to me. As far as I know, Ms Montgomery cooled off using that so much in the later books anyhow.

But what really got me was the play scene with Mary Queen of Scots. There's that fainting scene. Am I dreaming but were those complaints made by the girl who had to do the fainting snitched straight from Amy in Louisa May Alcott's Little Women?

Amy is told she's "stiff as a poker" at the fainting scene, and she complains that she doesn't choose to get all dirty tumbling down getting bruises, and if she can down easily, she will go. Jo then demonstrates how to faint for her, and does so with drama.

In Anne of Green Gables, "Hattie" in Mary Queen of Scots is told she is stiff at fainting, and she complains she doesn't choose to get all dirty fainting, and if she can go down easily, she will. Anne jumps in and does a demonstration, but Hattie can't imitate her well.

I know this is meant to evoke childhood memories, but nicking something out of another childhood girly book? Or am I forgetful, and did L.M. Montgomery and Louisa May Alcott happen to write something very similar, and the screenplay writer just faithfully adapted that very scene from Ms Montgomery's work?

Anyhow, felt weird.

1 comment:

Maria said...

By the way I watched Anne: The Continuing Story, which is the third of the Anne series discs. In some ways Anne the Sequel was quite good, as I've mentioned, but theContinuing Story is just a shambles comparatively.

* No Marilla.
* Deviates completely from any story or spirit in the Montgomery books and goes for a sensational war time story created by the Tv writers.
* Anne's beginning to look plain old.
* Too much soppy flashback crap
* Repeat of Anne the Sequel idea, with an attractive male coming in to the picture who might threaten Gil's and Anne's relationship. We did that last time, folks. Predictable.
* You just can't see our Anne getting conned so easily with her book.
* Too much running around in the war, not so much charming Anne incidents, or humour, or Anne and Gil interaction. This took out the real "wholesomeness" of Avonlea that really drew in people, and took out the charm of the eccentric characters. While their lives might have seen mundane before, it was how they interacted that made them worth watching. Instead the directors went for less interesting and likable characters and big bangs, which was just out of character and spirit with the book.