I have opinions, yah just need to ask.
I have opinions, yah just need to ask.

I have opinions, yah just need to ask.

There is a lot going on in the world. I have opin­ions about things, but I don’t feel a need to voice my opin­ions about everything all the time. If you ask for my opin­ion I will share it, in which case I expect that you will not then chas­tise me for telling you, or, like that time when a writer asked me to cri­tique his manu­script, which I did, and his response to many of my com­ments was, “Well that’s just your opin­ion.” Yup. Which you asked for, dude. Next time he asked for my help I was too busy.

Today I will share my opin­ion about a thing that is not even a little bit earth shat­ter­ing. I have strong opin­ions on TV adapt­a­tions of Agatha Christie novels.

Now, I love murder mys­ter­ies, and Matt and I often watch them on tv of an even­ing. Lately, Know­ledge Net­work has been show­ing the series of Miss Marple mys­ter­ies star­ring Julia MacK­en­zie. Joan Hick­son is my favour­ite Miss Marple, btw, she just so beau­ti­fully por­trays the frail old woman that people would under­es­tim­ate, and tell all their secrets to. Julia MacK­en­zie just seems too… sturdy. And there is only the occa­sion­al homage to the “typ­ic­al old lady” char­ac­ter when she just can­’t find such and such in her hand bag, and good­ness gra­cious me, and so forth. Now that’s not her fault, that’s the script and direction.

Speak­ing of scripts… In these pro­duc­tions you can tell when an epis­ode is based on a book that actu­ally is a Miss Marple story, and when they have inser­ted her into a story. The stor­ies Miss Marple is actu­ally in are very good. The oth­ers.… well, it’s clear they often com­bine Agatha Christie stor­ies and stick Miss Marple in where it would oth­er­wise be someone else’s point of view, and they invari­ably become these nutty, con­vo­luted tales that leave you exhausted and con­fused by the end. Matt and I look at each oth­er and say, “Hunh?” Recently we saw the Secret of Chim­neys, which bore so little resemb­lance to the book I wondered how they had the nerve to use that title. Why not just use a dif­fer­ent story altogether?

It is irksome.

And anoth­er one we saw was John Malkovitch play­ing Her­cule Poirot in the ABC Murders. Now 1: I LOVE Dav­id Suchet as Poirot, 2: I am not a John Malkovitch fan. 3: I can­’t stand it when the writers add a bunch of back­story, try­ing to make Poirot all com­plex, and giv­ing him a his­tory as a preach­er back in Bel­gi­um dur­ing the war and that a whole bunch of people died while under his care and that’s why he came to Eng­land, and blah blah blah.. .Why??? It does­n’t make the story any more com­pel­ling, it just makes it longer.

You know, when I saw The Two Towers I left the movie theatre infuri­ated at the changes they made, in par­tic­u­lar to the char­ac­ter of Fara­mir, and all that crap of him tak­ing Frodo to Gondor. When I saw the exten­ded ver­sion, some things about those choices came clear, and even moreso when I watched the spe­cial fea­tures, the inter­views with Peter Jack­son and Fran Walsh etc. It made sense that they had worked so hard to make the ring this thing to be feared in a visu­al medi­um, that it did not make sense that Fara­mir would­n’t be affected by the ring, that in the con­text of the film that did­n’t make sense. Ok, so I for­give that.

But I can­not think of a reas­on­able explan­a­tion for adding this super­flu­ous con­vo­luted com­plex­ity to Her­cule Poirot.

What are your favour­ite or least favour­ite TV or film adapt­a­tions? Or if there is more than one ver­sion, so you get to see more than one act­or play a role, which is your favour­ite? Guess what? I have opin­ions on vari­ous ver­sions of Little Women, or Jane Aus­ten nov­els! Jot ’em down on the Totally Fant­ast­ic Title face­book page!