kaigou: Edward, losing it. (1 Edward conniption)
[personal profile] kaigou
So the word is that Gaiman is adapting Journey to the West. Now, I will give the man props for doing a beautiful treatment for the subtitles of Spirited Away that really kept the poetry and meaning of the original, and I'll set aside for now the issue of Cameron's involvement, which I do consider so many kinds of wrong I don't even know where to begin.

It's this bit in the linked article that's got me coming back, and twigging again each time:
Additional pressure may come from the Chinese government itself, which has been known to censor creative works. Speaking to that, Gaiman said, “Monkey is irrepressible. The moment that you try to censor Monkey, he’s not Monkey anymore.”

First of all, I'm dubious as to what the Chinese government would censor in terms of Monkey. I mean, haven't there already been like sixty-something various treatments of Journey to the West already, just in China -- radio, television, movies, books, comics, and so on? It's not like we're talking about current events here.

Second, if the Chinese government were to insist on changes (because to film, you must submit a script for review), is that automatically censorship?

I've been trying to think of a Western tradition/story that's as well-known and loved as Monkey. Hmm, maybe Robin Hood (because here I'd say the Arthurian Legends are a little too, uhm, formal -- in the sense that Robin Hood's semi-satirical characters, like Friar Tuck, are impertinent in the same way that one might see Sanzo's party as mildly impertinent). What happens if I consider the shoes on the other feet?

Let's say someone in China decides to do a film adaptation of Robin Hood and the British government were to insist on an approval process to, say, film at certain locations. And let's say there's something in the script that contradicts the understanding of the British review board when it comes to their own legends. Like, I don't know, the idea that Robin Hood kept a lot of the loot for himself. Or that he was abusive towards Maid Marian. Or that Friar Tuck was a double agent. I think if I were on that review board, I'd express my dissatisfaction with the script. If I had the power, I might even say, "you're filming something, but it's not the story of Robin Hood. Go ahead and film it, but I'm not putting my stamp of approval -- or permission to use historical locations -- on your not-our-Robin-Hood story."

I don't consider that censorship. I consider that a natural human self-interest when it comes to stories we consider "ours". If Robin Hood is a story I "own" in some sense due to family background and language and other socio-cultural factors, then I'm going to have -- whether or not I realize it, most of the time -- some kind of cultural possessiveness about it. It'd take someone doing Robin Hood really really wrong (and I won't mention the times that's happened), but that's when I'd stop and say, hey, that's not Robin Hood. It could be a good story, but it's not the Robin Hood.

As much as the West sometimes likes to paint China with the broad brush of a totalitarian system, it's still a system comprised of humans... and we're talking about a story that probably every single one of those humans (in any government review board) probably grew up with. I would expect each of them to feel, whether or not they've ever been made consciously aware of it, somewhat protective of Monkey.

I guess that's what's got me twigging -- the sense of entitlement and arrogance in saying that any assertion by a Chinese government board is (implied automatically) censorship. I can't believe someone who didn't grow up hearing stories of Monkey all over the place could possibly ascertain what is, or is not, Monkey... better than those for whom Monkey is a continuing, constantly-entertaining, story-force. Or maybe I should say: I have a bubbling sense of disgust for the implied argument that if someone -- whose culture effectively 'owns' a large chunk of the legend -- corrects for doing it wrong that this is immediately the error of the correcting culture.

Actually, the other analogy that popped into my head when I first read that short article was of drinking alcohol. If in my home country, drinking wine comes with loud cheers and extra rounds and raised voices, let's say then I travel to the country where that wine was originally made. If that country is one where wine is drunk with reverence and only at solemn occasions, but I'm in the back whooping it up -- if I get shunned, or even thrown out, can I really claim that wine-drinking is irrepressible, and that attempts to make me adjust my behavior to what's considered proper were a sign of a totalitarian system that wanted to censor me?

There's a phrase for that -- gaijin smash -- though I guess in this case it'd be weiguoren smash.

ETA: I think maybe what's bugging me is the hidden antagonism in the proclamation. I mean, try inserting some other government/country/culture, and it feels more blatant. Does it seem acceptable to [the speaker] to state such assertions because the government in question is presumed to be hostile?

Date: 19 Mar 2011 08:01 pm (UTC)
hollyberries: (Default)
From: [personal profile] hollyberries
Er, what actually worries me is that Gaiman has a history of appropriating things and not doing it correctly, which is rather aptly summed up by his quote here, on The Graveyard Book.

The great thing about having an English cemetery is I could go back a very, very, very long way. And in America, you go back 250 years (in a cemetery), and then suddenly you’ve got a few dead Indians, and then you don’t have anybody at all, unless you decide to set it up in Maine or somewhere and sneak in some Vikings.

Really? Dead First Nations people have no history? Thanks.

I'd rather not see another piece of my childhood desecrated on the altar of white, Hollywood entitlement, thanks.

Date: 19 Mar 2011 08:21 pm (UTC)
leorising: (batvibe)
From: [personal profile] leorising
Yikes. Interesting post! Besides agreeing with you, it brings up a couple of things for me:

1. It really shows where Gaiman is going to be coming from when writing his own JttW. If he were remaining true to the legend, he wouldn't worry about Chinese "censorship". Instead, it seems he wants to play madboy and get Monkey to chew up the scenery a little. Bleah.

2. There are remakes I will not see any more:
*Robin Hood (last one I saw, I took a couple of kids to see the Kevin Costner version, and we were treated to a crotch-eye-view of a rape. I swore off RH remakes that very second. :P)
*Dracula/general vamp movies/series (Buffy is the exception here, and maybe -- maybe -- Anne Rice.)
*Frankenstein (the classic and Young Frankenstein are all the genre need, IMO.)
*Tarzan (I have yet to see the Disney version or the version with Brendan Fraser, though they've both been recommended out the wazoo.)
*Hunchback of Notre Dame (haven't seen the Disney version.)
*Most superheroes, incl. Batman and Superman, unless they're new and fresh (like the Ironman series, or Hellboy.)

That's all I can think of for right now. They're just all fucking overdone. If a director tries to squeeze one more original concept out of them, they're no longer the original stories, and some iterations turn out to be pretty horrible.

Date: 19 Mar 2011 08:25 pm (UTC)
leorising: (batvibe)
From: [personal profile] leorising
Re-reading that (^), I just remembered my original thought about the Disney Hunchback: "Hm, a singing and dancing Quasimoto. Um. NO."

Some things just don't bear thinking about.

Date: 19 Mar 2011 08:50 pm (UTC)
starscream: ([Saiyuki] Hakkai; Past)
From: [personal profile] starscream
Oh come now. If it follows the trend of Saiyuki, the movie will last the next ten years and in the end they still will not have made it to the West.

Date: 19 Mar 2011 10:08 pm (UTC)
starscream: ([Saiyuki] Sanzo; Past)
From: [personal profile] starscream
I guess I don't get the whole "everything Gaiman touches is gold" thing that the internet puts on. I enjoyed Sandman but eh, I don't think he's God's Gift to Writing or anything of the sort, which apparently places me in the 'Net minority. I'll admit he's fairly funny on twitter at times though.

Though I am curious as to how the gang in Saiyuki could still be putting around and never made it to their destination. They have a jeep for cripes sake! It must be about the journey money and not the destination.

In the end though, I'm sure if this gets made that it'll do well. They'll advertise it as the next Avatar and people will rush to go see it.

Date: 19 Mar 2011 10:55 pm (UTC)
starscream: ([Gundam] Setsuna; Kiraboshi)
From: [personal profile] starscream
The gang in Saiyuki not making it doesn't surprise me. I mean, the second season they couldn't even find the plot, so how were they going to find India?

It's things like this that make me want to serenade to you. Write songs in your honor, etc. Just sayin'. ♥

Date: 20 Mar 2011 02:29 am (UTC)
starscream: ([Gundam] Athrun; Look Back)
From: [personal profile] starscream
... Well I guess I could do that too. You're probably better off that way. Safer for your ears.

Gundam Unicorn takes place between Char's Counterattack (three years prior) and Gundam F91 (twenty-seven years later). Three years before Unicorn begins is when Char attempted to drop Axis onto Earth, forcing both sides to band together into a really awkward truce to stop him. Not that it really did much good -- there's still splinter groups of both the Federation and Neo Zeon ready to fight at any moment. Sleeves was one of those groups.

Of course, the most confusing part of all of this is the Laplace's Box nonsense. As I haven't watched the third episode yet I'm not sure how far they've delved into exactly what it is -- but each side is hoping that it is going to give them the leading edge and give victory to a 20 year long war (which NEVER ENDS seeing it's still sorta going on in F91. Good job, UC Gundam factions).

Banagher Links is a badass motherfucker for being a teenage protagonist. Because he was born after the One Year War he sorta views war and fighting as something that's only read about in books, giving him really foolish views on life and combat. He's the heir to the Vist foundation, but his mother took him away from his dad when he was just a child (which we see in Episode 1).

Audrey Burne is the alias of the Zabi family's surviving child, Mineva. She was supposed to be the spokesperson of Sleeves to give them Leplace's Box but believes it would be a mistake. She's who Banagher is going to pine over for quite some time.

Haro is a replica Haro and is awesome.

Full Frontal may or may not be a Char. Char's body was never recovered after Char's Counterattack and is considered Missing In Action. Full Frontal leads the Neo Zeon forces with the charisma and authority of Char Aznable, and is constantly being compared with Char. If you read the novel spoilers about him you should keep in mind that they may change his origin story in the OVA.

Marida Cruz is the pilot of Kshatriya and is a member of Neo Zeon. She also has some ties to ZZ Gundam which I can go into a little more in depth if you want, but it is characterization that I have a feeling may not make it into the OVA sounds like it was hinted at in episode 3 but wasn't detailed. She's a survivor of the Neo Zeon War.

Date: 20 Mar 2011 06:00 am (UTC)
starscream: (Default)
From: [personal profile] starscream

It has the Japanese language track with subs, or the dub track. Pick your poison. :3

Date: 20 Mar 2011 06:17 am (UTC)
starscream: (Default)
From: [personal profile] starscream
Unless you're looking for all of the episodes, as that link was the latest one.

Date: 19 Mar 2011 09:08 pm (UTC)
branchandroot: oak against sky (Default)
From: [personal profile] branchandroot
*snorts* Yeah, after Gaiman's other remarks about how story figures (especially, it is apparently, ones he likes) are not culturally specific but appeal to everyone (and therefore, he implies, it doesn't matter if he writes it in ways the story's own culture finds offensive or just plain wrong)... well, let's say I'm not surprised.

whether it's just you or not...

Date: 19 Mar 2011 09:22 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Hi--just someone randomly wandering the internet who happened upon this, and thought about it a little. Hope it's okay to share (and adding a signature as per what the profile page asks for).

Before getting to the issue of a script that contradicts the understanding of the government that happens to have established a military border around locations associated with the cultural heritage of the people who live there, I think there's a major difference between what Gaiman said "The moment that you try to censor Monkey, he’s not Monkey anymore" and what you are imagining: "the idea that Robin Hood kept a lot of the loot for himself."

I think a better analogy would be if this were the 80s at the height of Thatcher's influence, and you were trying to film a faithful version of Robin Hood but the *government* insisted on Robin Hood not stealing from the rich and giving to the poor in your story. Instead the government wanted a version of Robin Hood where he spent his time kicking the squatters off the private property of Sherwood Forest.

Your analogy seems to depend on this statement: "I would expect each of them to feel, whether or not they've ever been made consciously aware of it, somewhat protective of Monkey." The question, however, is whether those changes are the result of feeling protective of Monkey, or protective of the PRC.

Even if we're talking about a story that probably every single one of those humans (in any government review board) probably grew up with, don't assume the *decisions* of those humans on the review board are motivated by a desire to correct Gaiman's idea that Monkey is irrepressible. In fact, Monkey being irrepressible is something they seem to be in total agreement on, and is the root cause of the fear of censorship. Totalitarian regimes, even ones made of people, tend not to be too happy about things that are 'irrepressible' whether they (even more so?) are part of their cultural heritage or not.

Don't assume just because the (small government-employed subset of the) people of a culture object to an outsider's ideas about their cultural heritage, that means they are objecting because the outsider has the wrong idea. Just because someone is part of a culture, that doesn't mean their decision isn't motivated by a desire to protect their government, even at the expense of their culture.

It's one thing to whoop it up in the wine-inventing country if the people of that country have always drank their wine in solemn reverence. It's another thing if the people of that country also whooped it up when drinking wine until the government started putting them in jail for that kind of behavior.

--Random Internet Dude #78

Date: 20 Mar 2011 03:26 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I think the issue here is that we're not talking about changes in the abstract, we're talking about the government demanding a particular change: censoring Monkey's irrepressibility (just to be totally accurate, Gaiman's anticipatory hypothetical change). When a totalitarian government goes and demands a character be more, um, 'repress-able' I don't see the problem with assuming that change is because of their style of governing.

There's a relationship there between totalitarianism/irrepressibility that doesn't exist between--looking at the rest of the discussion and the parts about Queen Elizabeth I and George Washington--constitutional monarchy/murder or federal republicanism/philandering and drug abuse. Just changing the country isn't enough--there also has to be that connection between the style of government and the type of change being requested. It's more like a theocracy requiring that a blasphemous character be written out of a story.

Also, looking through the rest of the discussion, there's a key difference to keep in mind that might be getting lost: it's one thing when the government restricts your access, and another when a private party does so. If a private citizen owns the location, there are issues involved there regarding private property rights that are not involved when it's the government demanding changes.

Date: 20 Mar 2011 06:24 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
About the government/private citizen part: the right to restrict is (should be) different. Governments--at least ones I would call legitimate--owe people more than people owe each other when it comes to how they behave with their property: government only owns property for purposes of benefiting people, while people can own their property for their own benefit alone if they choose. That's why a government excluding someone based on the material they want to film triggers the censorship question and excluding someone based on the danger to the environment does not.

Maybe you feel that the government should be able to behave like any private citizen in regards to its property, but then I think it's an issue of you having a different concept of government and civil rights than the people you're in disagreement with. Or maybe you consider 'artistic' pollution the same as environmental pollution, but that puts you in a much different boat than people who see a difference between speech and actions when it comes to government regulation.

As for the main issue, I guess I have to wonder what the big deal is with someone being antagonistic towards a totalitarian government. That puts the discussion in a far different place than where it started, which I gathered was whether an outsider can tell people of a culture they have to indulge his mucking about with their heritage. There's a big difference between "I know Monkey better than the people who grew up on this tale, for whom it is a fundamental part of their cultural heritage" and "I refuse to let the group who is currently in power over the region where this tale comes from mangle their own cultural heritage because it's politically inconvenient for their continued rule."

As for why the PRC would all of a sudden have a problem with Monkey? These issues with the PRC seem to be heating up as of late. The PRC has been becoming much more aggressive in responding to criticisms of its practices.

Also, to the extent that this is about Neil Gaiman specifically, if you follow the links from your linked article, you'll eventually get to this piece:


where it seems the person who did the 'assuming' is the interviewer:

With every upside to filmmaking in China, there’s a downside, often in the form of restrictions on creative control. At a press conference called to announce the film last May, Film Bureau director Tong Gang sat next to Zhang, a strong sign that the state would be watching how he handled the cultural treasure.

Asked if he felt that China’s censors might try to tell him how to interpret the classic, Gaiman said simply: “Monkey is irrepressible. The moment that you try to censor Monkey, he’s not Monkey anymore.”

It seems your problem isn't with Neil Gaiman, it's with Jonathan Landreth: from that article, it reads to me like Gaiman was just responding to a reporter's question, not assuming anything off the bat.

--Random Internet Dude #78

Date: 19 Mar 2011 09:37 pm (UTC)
mediumrawr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mediumrawr
I didn't grow up with Monkey. Whatever. My cultures have their own heritages of stories, and I doubt one of them has not been worked over for at least one recent major motion picture within the last several years. Protectiveness bores me, and I think it ought to bore everyone who participates in a community that's all about re-approaching works.

A quick Wikipedia check tells me a little about Journey to the West - that it is itself, at least in part, a sort of appropriation/retelling of a collection of older Chinese folktales. As far as I can come up with, there's only one close comparison in the West, Le Morte D'Arthur, and the Robin Hood story fails to match up because it drifts in and out of publication without any telling ever becoming really authoritative.

A major film was just published, called Robin Hood, in which Robin is a commoner who takes on the identity of Robert Loxley, who is active not during King Richard's reign but during King John's subsequent one, in which the Merry Men meet while fighting in the Crusades... et cetera, et cetera. It filmed in Wales, around London, and in Sherwood.

Another major film was put out in 2004, called King Arthur, in which Arthur is a Roman officer trying to preserve Hadrian's Wall against the Picts. It bore little resemblance to the Arthur myth, and yet claimed to be the most accurate telling yet. It was shot in the United Kingdom and Ireland.

If you assert that the British government would have had the right to create review boards that would prevent filming in the United Kingdom for stories which do not get script approval, you then have to demonstrate two things: first, that the British people have a right to dictate who and how people get to tell 'their' story, and second that a small review board is qualified to and capable of deciding on their behalf. I'm skeptical on both counts.

Ultimately, I'm very skeptical of what you apparently take for granted - that Chinese "culture effectively 'owns' a large chunk of the legend". I don't know what 'effectively' nor 'owns' means here, nor, in fact, 'a large chunk'. Demonstrating that some subgroup any smaller than the human race 'owns' a story will prove to be as difficult, I think, as demonstrating that an individual owns a story.

The only way a person can keep his grip on a story is not to tell it to anyone, ever. Is the only way a culture can keep its grip on a story to never tell it to anyone outside the group? Well, it's a bit late for that. The story's out, and now it's going to get told and told again. Whether or not it qualifies in the strictest sense as 'censorship', attempting to exert creative influence over someone else's telling of that story isn't just pointless - it's likely to do a lot more harm than good.

It annoys me that people routinely expect the things Gaiman says in casual conversation to meet the standards of minutia-nitpick that the online fan community loves to bring to the table with respect to pretty much everything. The bottom line is that if I trust anyone to bring me a version of this story which I am capable of accessing, it's Gaiman a lot more than either any film review board I could think of or any group of people who grew up with this story indigenously. (Maybe not James Cameron, though.)

Woah, screed. If I spent half so many words on my actual writing...

Date: 20 Mar 2011 04:02 am (UTC)
mediumrawr: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mediumrawr
I've been going over this a bit, trying to figure out exactly how to say what I want to say.

I'm not particularly concerned by appropriation. Is it possible that much of a viewing audience will look at this movie, no matter what it ends up looking like, and think it is essentially identical to the original? Yes, absolutely. But so what?

(And also, how many people think the same thing about Journey to the West itself?)

The only people who will be fooled into thinking that are people who are unfamiliar with the actual original. Anyone who is actually interested in the story will, by hook or crook, come across information that will set them straight. Anyone who isn't actually interested won't much affect anything.

Those people will have a picture of the story that isn't directly based on the original. Lots of people do, about the works in the literary canon. It essentially impossible that a viewer of this film would be able to claim to speak with authority about the original material without being set straight first, unless they were solely in a community of people who didn't know about the material. The story never corrupts the original, and anytime the two come in contact the first one has the weight of verifiable fact.

There was a historical time when this was not so, but this is no longer the case.

The real danger that you describe is not frightening to me, because it boils down to some people being wrong about something they don't think about or discuss.

When you talk about culture, I start to feel like you're speaking a different language. I don't know what "invested cultural interest" means. I'm automatically skeptical whenever someone says that belonging to a culture confers some kind of ownership. (Though, for an interesting treatment of, among other things, that concept, I'm reminded of Roger Zelazny's masterful ...And Call Me Conrad.) Culture is a canon of experiences and references and common context that influences the way you approach something, but there's no reason a part of one canon can't be taken and mutilated into a new part of another. Just ask Shakespeare.

Irritation is natural, because we have a vision of a story and it annoys us when it turns out someone else views it differently. But that experience is hardly unique to intercultural transmission; in fact, I think it's a transposition of the same reaction we so often ridicule from authors.

Date: 20 Mar 2011 01:04 am (UTC)
soukup: Senator Eleanor Prentiss Shaw (half face)
From: [personal profile] soukup
Your above response to mediumrawr, along with this post in general and most of what I know about you, make me sure that you would really, really like a book I also adore: The Truth About Stories by Thomas King. These are the lectures the author prepared for the prestigious Massey Lecture series, and they're among the most engaging and thought-provoking things I've ever read. Focus is on race and media, and marginalized cultures, and authenticity and appropriation, and how a culture's stories inform its values (and the laws it writes), and what it means to "own" a story, and oral literature, and all kinds of other fun related topics. It's hilarious and thoughtful and wise and sad and subtle, and the style is fluid and extremely readable.

By the way, speaking of recs, I loved Where the Girls Are. By which I mean that I fought with it a lot, too; but it's helped me think, and thank you for reccing it, because I'm glad now that I read it.

Date: 20 Mar 2011 04:57 pm (UTC)
soukup: Quentin Crisp is my personal hero (qc)
From: [personal profile] soukup
I think the most fascinating/frustrating part of WtGA -- for me, at least -- was her use of the terms "we," "us" and "our" to refer to her (implicitly homogeneous) generation. I kept trying to decide whether it was a calculated move, or a mark of how the author actually thinks about herself and her peers in her own mind. Some of both, probably.

It did bug me a lot that that group was mostly white/middle-class/cis/hetero, of course; though I suppose that that demographic was the target audience of much of the media she was discussing, so in a way it does make sense to be curious about and want to investigate that group's reaction. I just wish she'd made that distinction explicitly instead of letting the implication stand that her book was written for everyone, you know? :/

Date: 20 Mar 2011 05:24 am (UTC)
geraineon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] geraineon
I'm a regular reader of your dw. Hope you don't mind a comment from a stranger.

I grew up with Journey to the West so it's a story that's very dear to my heart. Honestly, I am wary of this adaptation and I share your sentiments about the offhand comment about China's hypothetical censorship. There are so many things, so many elements that can go wrong. There's a wealth of cultural background/nuances in Journey to the West which I'm not sure would be present in the adaptation. ._.

Date: 20 Mar 2011 06:02 am (UTC)
geraineon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] geraineon
Nice to meet you (formally) then. XD

Agreed on the subtitles part. Official subtitles leave a lot of background information missing, while fansubbers seem to work a lot harder in making everything accessible/understandable to the viewers. Best example of this is probably Gintama, which is probably hell to translate as it references everything under the sun, from Japanese history all the way to obscure pop-culture stuff. I can't imagine watching it without all the notes.

Heh, by knowing how much we don't know do we really start to fill in the blanks for ourselves...

Have you watched many Journey to the West adaptations?

Date: 20 Mar 2011 09:26 am (UTC)
geraineon: (Default)
From: [personal profile] geraineon
... I am brilliant. I managed to accidentally close the window instead of posting the comment. -_-;

Heh, I'm more fluent in Cantonese than I am in Mandarin so I've only watched adaptations in Cantonese. Mandarin hurts my brain because I would need to mentally translate it to Cantonese to understand. I love HK's wirework, but then again, it might be because I grew up watching HK wuxia series which are very heavy on wirework.

... I didn't know that there's already an english adaptation of JttW. Hearing what you said about it, I'm just going to give this a miss. ._. I have issues with the whole white guy saves the day/takes the lead in another culture's story.

I liked Saiyuki's first season. Then it starts going in circles/losing the plot. -_-; One daaaay, I will get the manga just to see if it's any better. It's very superficially related to JttW though. I can't think of any anime/manga that's faithful to JttW though. Toss me a few titles to check out?

Haven't watched much USian adaptations due to bias against them. The trailers never look/feel right. Wonder when will Hollywood realize that it's more important to get the story right and cast right for the roles than to try to please the audience based on assumptions like that. =/

The 86-87 two season series was before my time so that's definitely good news. All this talk of JttW makes me want to rewatch the series. XD

orz sorry. I don't get it. Is it a Dune reference?

Cultural adaption

Date: 20 Mar 2011 07:47 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Leaving aside concerns about the likelyhood that Gaiman will write a script that is faithful to the original, I agree that it is not inappropriate for a goverment to be concerned about it's cultural heritage. I also agree that the question on the possiblity of censorship was assuming the worst case.

I agree that there is a problem when, to use an example my husband gave, dreamcatcher are used as pretty decorations in cars completely ignoring their original use. On the other hand quite enjoyed "Throne of Blood" a Japanese adaptation of Macbeth.

I think that a good part of my differing feelings has to do with the health and prevalence of the original culture, as well as the amount of modification and variation on the story or custom prevalent in the originating culture. The original Macbeth is in no danger of being lost and there have been many retellings in English culture, why not a new retelling from a different viewpoint?


Date: 21 Mar 2011 10:21 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I admit that my feelings on the matter are influenced by the fact that my 12 year old knew about _The Journey to the West_ and Monkey when I told her what the blog entry I was reading was about. Our local library has lots of children's books with Monkey (translated into English)as well as the abridged English version.

From what I understand the basics _Journey to the West_ and it's adaptions *are* as ubiquitous in China as Macbeth is here which is one reason why I used it as an example (the other is that "Throne of Blood" or Kumonosu-jō is a truly great and memorable film which comes easily to mind).

I agree that it would be a severe loss if the first wide-spread media adaptation was badly done but my feelings would be close to how I feel about an bad adaptation of Beowulf (to pick a western tale more know about then known), it's more of a loss for the audience rather then a cultural loss unless the adaptation was particularly offensively wrong.

Although now that I'm thinking about that adaptation of Beowulf Gaiman was involved with....um... , disregard all my theories about what should or shouldn't be free game for adaption. I'm in complete agreement that someone who loves and understands Monkey have final approval of the script, not Gaiman! [Changing Grendel's mother to an demonic seductress, who seduces rather then trying to kill her son's killer aaarrrrggghhhh.]


Date: 21 Mar 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)
leorising: (ichc  rilla lulz)
From: [personal profile] leorising
Wow, you ended up with quite the discussion here. I can only imagine you gleeing and rubbing your hands together as you crafted another 350-word reply! :D

Also, re: "Random Internet Dude #78": Gaiman's gotta stop googling his own name, it's a bad habit. Heh.
Edited Date: 21 Mar 2011 03:51 pm (UTC)

Date: 21 Mar 2011 09:36 pm (UTC)
leorising: (ichc  rilla lulz)
From: [personal profile] leorising
Hey, analysis is your chocolate cake. There's nothing in the world wrong with that, at all. I hope I didn't give you the impression I was judging you, I wasn't. Peace!

Date: 21 Mar 2011 11:13 pm (UTC)
leorising: (Default)
From: [personal profile] leorising
WAhaha! :D

I just realized I have (at least portions of) three versions of Journey to the West: a few volumes of Saiyuki, a tape or two of Dragonball Z, and a moldy-oldy but very charming old vid which was re-cut and re-voiced in the '60s for the Western kid audience, "Alakazam the Great!" It's apparently a faithful cartoon version from China.

I remember seeing "Alakazam" when I was, oh, about three years old, on TV, early-early in the morning, all by myself. I was enraptured. I think this is where I got turned on to Eastern mysticism, seriously.

Western voices included Frankie Avalon as Monkey and Dodie Stevens as his girl. Also included Jonathan Winters and Sterling Holloway.

I just looked up the wiki, it's interesting: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alakazam_the_Great .

My question is, how the hell did I end up with 3 versions of JttW? Oy!

Date: 21 Mar 2011 11:34 pm (UTC)
leorising: (batvibe)
From: [personal profile] leorising
I could blame it on being friends with a young boy at the time, but the truth is I turned him on to DBZ, not the other way around. *snerks* Yeah, it's pretty frustrating, what with all the constipation/powering up going on, but I liked the beginning parts with Buruma et al. I liked the story, but the fights were hard to sit through. Thank the gods for the fast-forward button, LOL.

Turns out Frankie just sang the songs. Some other guy did Monkey's (Son Goku's) spoken voice. Still, I was utterly charmed.

I have a DVD player and a VCR. I wonder if there's a way I can hook them up? I'd love to save a bunch of tapes on DVD. Hm. There's gotta be a DIY or a Lifehack or something somewhere, right?

If I figure out how to do it, I'll give you a copy. It's best watched in two pieces, because it's about 30 minutes too long. You might hate it. I have very low standards, comparatively.