Analysis: The Crow movie adaption

So the topic of The Crow movie vs The Crow comic has been done a lot, so instead of just comparing the two, I wanted to focus on how the “Hollywoodization” of the film forces a more concrete, sympathetic story.

“Hollywooding” and medium

CineFix’s video “The Crow: What’s the Difference?” describes the major differences between the film and the comic as “Hollywooding” of the story. This includes raising the stakes, making Eric a more sympathetic character, etc.

Because of “realities of the film world,” as Brandon Lee (who played the main lead of Eric in the film) put it in a behind the scenes clip, changes had to be made to accommodate the change in medium.

It’s a movie. They had to condense the story and make it easy enough to understand in an allotted time, and have a character to root for. These are things that you don’t necessarily need in something less mainstream like the comic world.

Brandon Lee explained:

“we had the responsibility to fill in some gaps that weren’t necessarily there in the comic book because they’re different mediums, you know, you don’t have to tell a cohesive narrative story in a comic book—you can do a lot with images and leave a lot up to the imagination of the reader.”

The comic format offers a way to show metaphor, to jump through time and flashback, easier than film can. There’s a lot of really well done ambiguity throughout the comic that we ultimately lose in the film version.

Comic publishing history

There is, also, the publishing history to take into account.

The original comic couldn’t be published as intended just due to the way comics are… well, published. Page restrictions and printing space caused O’Barr to cut things. He added pages and chapters, most notably the “Sparklehorse” chapter, in the special edition of the book in 2011.

The movie is a retelling of the four main chapters of the comic. Sparklehorse is the closing segment of a metaphor that is at the very beginning of the first book. The metaphor and image is obviously not included in the movie, possibly for reasons I listed above.

Amidst all of the constant rumors of a remake of The Crow movie, I’ve heard most recently that they want to make a page for page faithful adaption of the comic, horse and all. This is possible because Sparklehorse now exists and it didn’t when the original movie came out in 1993.

It feels… much more complete now. Eric’s grief and guilt come full circle in the special edition of the book.

Side characters

There was, reportedly meant to be another character from the comic in the movie version: the Skull Cowboy.

If you don’t feel like watching the video, the Skull Cowboy was meant to give exposition on the rules of how Eric Draven works and then later tell him that he would be stuck on Earth after he “strays from his mission” in avenging Shelley by saving Darla.

This is important because Brandon Lee was meant to make two more Crow movies as Eric Draven. But due to Lee’s unfortunate death, this is obviously impossible.

I imagine this meant having the Skull Cowboy somewhat pointless… (This is speculation on my part.)

So we have Myca, Top Dollar’s love and half sister there to bridge the gap between the realism and supernatural elements of the story. (Because she’s Asian. Of course she is. Sarcasm) They knew they needed to explain the crows powers somehow, and give Eric a weakness, a struggle he could overcome. That task went to Myca.

Sympathy and audience

Okay, so let’s talk about the big boy here.

Most fans know that the comic was originally created as O’Barr dealt with his own feelings of guilt and grieving. It’s significantly more hopeless than the movie version. The attack is random. Eric doesn’t have nearly as many emotional ties or support as he does in the film. He literally cuts himself.

From CineFix’s above video, on the topic of grief in the comic:

“It’s angry and hostile and literally indestructible until it runs its course. The only thing you can hope to accomplish is to be aware of the world around you enough to make at least something a little bit better.”

While the film depicts a much more hopeful Eric and, while it’s still a horribly sad situation, it isn’t senseless. He has friends in Albrecht and Sarah. (While he has Sherri in the comic, the relationship isn’t nearly as strong.)

Shelley was targeted because she was standing up against a crime lord. They weren’t just random people in the wrong place at the wrong time like they were in the comic.

“So while the book shows grief to be a destructive force that must be endured until its run its course, movie Crow confronts his grief, using it in order to finish his journey back to the grave.”

This goes back to medium, but I think more people can relate to the sympathetic movie Eric than the downright depressing comic Eric. The possible reality of comic Eric hits hard and… it’s scary and bleak.

CineFix uses the term “Hollywooding” in a bad way, but I think it actually helped to force a more succinct, accessible storyline while maintaining the emotions and capturing the spirit of the original source material.

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On Writing: How I Stay Motivated

Hey does anybody remember the “You Gotta” meme that was like

Brain: Hey, sit at your computer and write until your shoulder and back hurt and you forget to eat

Me: why?

Brain: you gotta

Because that pretty much explains my process….


So if you read any of my other blogs or tweets or know me, you might know that recently my computer broke. Anyway I finally got a new one sometime in May and I’ve been struggling to get back into the habit of writing. I’ve been neglecting working on my novel revisions and writing blog posts and… the many other projects that I have sitting around on my computer with the excuse that it was just inconvenient to work on it without a desktop computer. (That’s true—it was really inconvenient, and I couldn’t get myself to do it.)

I’m finally getting back into the feeling of “I need to sit down and write. I want to do that.”

I don’t know what changed, other than it’s just been a long time and the thought of wanting to write has been simmering in the back of my head for a long time now. I’ve had friends ask how I can stay motivated, too, especially right after I started sending off my first short story for submission. (This was the mark that it was “finished.”) I feel bad that I don’t really know what to tell them, so I’ve been trying to think about it and come up with some things.

  1. Cultivate a habit. This is advice I see everywhere, because it’s solid advice. The idea is that if you don’t do it you feel like you’re missing something in your day—but there’s more to it than that. And that’s creativity begets creativity. Maya Angelou has been cited as saying “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.”
  2. Find a schedule that works for you. This goes with the one above, but it’s important, too. Experiment to find out what method and times work best for you. I can’t work on a laptop very well, as it turns out. Working in a bad environment or in a way that you hate can kill your want to do anything at all. Of course you can’t have what you want all the time, but knowing yourself and what works for you will help to understand when things aren’t working, too.
  3. Don’t force yourself. You won’t get anything done by doing something you hate to do.
  4. Don’t use finishing as motivation. You have to enjoy the act of writing itself. If you don’t enjoy writing, why do it?
  5. Think of the big picture: you are creating something great. You love what you do, even if it’s hard. Know that nothing is perfect, just that you have to be satisfied knowing you tried your hardest. Everything you work on now is a step towards the next thing.
  6. Take breaks when it gets to be too much. You don’t want to get burned out. It’ll come back to you, don’t sweat it. When I just can’t do it, when I’m not satisfied, I have to take a step away from it and do something else.

Every person works differently so these might not work for you. Sorry. These are just how I work, but I know myself and I’m naturally geared towards writing. Even if I’m away from it for a while, I know that I’ll always end up coming back to it.

June summary + July goals

I wouldn’t say it was a particularly exciting month, but it was a productive one.

I’m liking the schedule I’m building for myself and I’m looking forward to July!

Writing report:

I’m getting back to it.

I’m starting on revising the novel again. I’m kind of stuck currently on leading up to the climax and ending parts, trying to find a good way to set it up in a way that fits and expresses what and how I want. I’m rereading everything and consulting my notes. It feels good, even if I’m a little bit stuck. I love the story and have no intention of giving up on it.

The blog posting went pretty smoothly this month. I’ll try again in July and see how it goes. Like I said, I’m cultivating a schedule and it seems to be working so far. No buffer so far, but I have topics lined up and ideas are simmering constantly in the back of my mind.

I started some new, stress relieving writing projects, too. Always nice to have something to work on when I’m stuck on other stuff and just need something fun to fill my mind with and stretch my writing muscles.

Media:

  • Things watched:
    • Sense8 finale (Netflix original)
    • Hannibal TV series s1 and s2
    • Your Name (2016 anime movie)
  • Games played:
    • Heavy Rain (2010)
    • Beyond: Two Souls (2013)
  • Read:
    • Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Was hoping to watch s3 of Hannibal, too, but I ran out of time. Also not sure if I’ll actually finish Through the Looking Glass before June ends, but I’m in the middle of reading that. If you’re familiar with Heavy Rain and Beyond: Two Souls you can probably guess the next game I’m gonna play… it’s Detroit: Become Human. I also watched a bunch of kpop variety stuff but idk if that really counts ha ha

July Goals:

Finish Through the Looking Glass

I should probably be more ambitious but this is the only thing I have on my list right now lol…

Analysis: “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams and the Intentional Fallacy pt. 2

So last week I introduced the intentional fallacy as an argument in literary criticism. This week I wanted to show it in action with a very famous poem, William Carlos Williams’ “The Red Wheelbarrow” or, as it was originally titled, “XXII,” because it didn’t really have a title and was the 22nd piece in a collection.

William Carlos Williams was a writer and doctor (this will be important later) who was known mostly for his sharp and precise imagist poetry. For some reason “The Red Wheelbarrow” seems to be his most famous poem, with people wondering and making jokes about what the red wheelbarrow actually means.

Intentionalists and The Sick Girl

Dave Wolverton, while criticizing the literary elite in an essay, said of this poem “of course you can’t figure it out by studying the text. The clues aren’t there.”

Well WHERE THEY AT THEN, DAVE?

In my research, I’ve found that several people (including Wolverton) seemed to think that he wrote this about a sick and dying little girl he was attending while working as a doctor. The stories vary from that, whether the red wheelbarrow was her toy or whether he looked outside and saw it the next morning.

As Wolverton said, the idea of a sick/dying little girl is nowhere in the poem.

There is a solitary, maybe even hopeless, tone in the poem. It’s a still image, caught in time that doesn’t give the reader much to go on.

The enjambment of the poem creates a punctuality that gives each line, each word, more meaning than it would normally carry, giving the impression of something much more than the words themselves. This sense of importance created by the enjambment creates the want for a metaphor in the reader.

(I still have no idea where the little girl came from. Some people were obviously more thorough in their research than I was. But!!) This was a valid theory, considering Williams’ profession, until he came out with the inspiration himself.

Williams and Marshall

I can’t find the original source for this because can’t access the site so take this with a grain of salt, but some years later, Williams himself said that the poem was vaguely inspired by Thaddeus Lloyd Marshall Sr., an old black man he knew and that his “affection for the old man somehow got into the writing.” He reportedly saw Marshall’s wheelbarrow surrounded by chickens one day and was inspired by the scene.

This is closer and more believable than the sick little girl theory when we look at the text. The little girl theory ignores the “glazed with rain / water” stanza that sets the poem in an outdoor setting. The facts of the little girl lay so outside of the poem that it barely makes sense to connect the two.

But without having heard it, we couldn’t have known that it was about somebody specific. Does that mean that he failed as a poet? No, of course not. But saying that this is the only meaning of this poem ignores the people’s interpretation of it. As said last week, everybody has their own interpretation of poetry.

We could have read it as an affectionate moment inspired by something very concrete. The specific details and the vivid imagery make the concrete image into something very believable and realistic, so this being inspired by a real-life occurrence is just as plausible as the metaphor for the sick girl.

Just the Text

This is a short and arguably simple poem, which I suspect is the reason people have turned to outside sources to try to understand it. Tristan Gans has a brilliant article that deals just with the text and its statement on life, declaring that the poem “has delivered the theme that life, though turbulent, deceptively complex, and at times scary, resolves to purpose and beauty.”

I’ll save you the pain of just quoting the whole thing and encourage you to read it yourself. Gans’ argument is solid because it deals only with the text, no debatable outside facts that I can’t find the source for.

My point isn’t to say that any one of these theories or analyses is wrong, because as we’ve said before, art belongs to the public, they are what you make of them. We can see and understand any of these theories/analyses if they’re properly argued for. If combined, any of them is stronger.

 

Source:

https://www.tangentonline.com/articles-columnsmenu-284/529-on-writing-as-a-fantasist

http://www.inquiriesjournal.com/articles/536/the-red-wheelbarrow-dissecting-the-minimal-masterpiece

On Reading: The Intentional Fallacy (pt. 1)

Have you ever heard or seen people complain about how in English class teachers talk about what the author meant when they wrote “the curtains were blue”?

author intent img
This image has been reposted so many times I can’t find the original. If you see it let me know so I can link back. Also I hate this image lmao

Good news: everyone’s right! (Or you’re both wrong, depending on how you look at it!)

Let me introduce you to a thing called The Intentional Fallacy AKA authorial intent.

What It Is

A fallacy is a mistaken belief or a fault in reasoning. The intentional fallacy basically states that whatever intention the author or creator of a piece of work had while creating doesn’t matter to what the work truly means.

The Intentional Fallacy essay claims that everything you need to analyze and understand a work is within the work itself. It places an emphasis on reader response over author intent because “the poem belongs to the public.”

History and Impact

The essay Intentional Fallacy was written in 1946 and revised in 1954 by WK Wimsatt and Monroe Beardsley. It was a response to Intentionalists, who believed that you needed to discover the intent of the creator. The essay mainly talks about poets, but I personally believe that these theories are applicable to all arts.

Previously, analysists and critics would consult religious, historical, bibliographical, etc. texts to assist in trying to discover the point of a work. This essay was important to New Criticism, which used only the work to interpret the work with no outside knowledge or influence.

Obviously, it’s impossible to look at a work without these outside influences if you already know them so nowadays we use all of these to interpret and analyze work, giving us different lenses of criticisms to look through. New Criticism is why you absolutely must use textual evidence in your papers.

Why It’s Important

The essay states:

“The design or intention of the author is neither available nor desirable as a standard for judging the success of a work of literary art.”

And

“If the poet succeeded in doing it then the poem itself shows what he was trying to do. And if the poet did not succeed, then the poem is not adequate evidence, and the critic must go outside the poem…”

That is to say, execution of intent does not equal success.

So it’s impossible for us as consumers of media to know exactly what the intent was. Intentional Fallacy and New Criticism has given us a new way to look at art without judging whether it was successful or not.

It’s important to know that there are different ways to look at, analyze, and interpret a work, but you can still be wrong about it. Authorial intent still plays a large part in analysis today, but psychoanalytic criticism argues that sometimes there’s an unconscious intent that even the creator is unaware of.

Intent isn’t the only way to measure or analyze a poem.

The reason I wanted to talk about this was so that I could next talk about the poem “The Red Wheelbarrow” by William Carlos Williams. It’s a famous poem that’s been reduced to what did he mean? What does the wheelbarrow symbolize? And there’s a lot more to it than that. So stay tuned to see how authorial intent is actually applied in literary analysis and criticisms!

Sources: Intentional Fallacy PDF

May summary + June goals

Hey soooo I missed posting in May again.

My bad.

On the upside it was a really fun month for me. I turned 25 in May and had a blast in Dallas with my brother for my birthday. We went to a sculpture museum and saw sculptures by Rodin, Picasso, Matisse, and others! It was really amazing to see them up close and in real life. Hanging out with my bro and his girlfriend is always loads of fun and I always eat so well when I’m with them lol. And I don’t know how or why this keeps happening, but I somehow have been getting like 2-3 cakes for my past couple birthdays? Idk but I always feel so full of cake and love ha ha.

My father is also retiring from teaching after 20 years. Clap clap clap. Good for him. I saw some of my old teachers at his retirement event and that was fun.

So it was kind of a socially busy month for me. Aside from that and the changing seasons and impending heat, I got a new computer and have been trying to get back into the habit of writing. It’s a rough path, that’s for sure. I feel it in every fiber of my being that I want to do it, but I don’t feel satisfied with anything yet. I’m getting there though.

I also kind of got crafty, which was another goal. I made a flower arrangement for my mom for Mother’s Day.

The others are lost in the wind lol Let’s move on.

Writing report:

I kept trying but nothing really worked.

I’ve actually been thinking I want to try posting here once a week, but I’m not sure if I’ll be able to keep it up. I need to make up for last month, so I have a two-parter coming up, which will wind up equaling a post each week. We’ll see how it goes and if I can keep it up… I’m working on a schedule and a buffer and ideas so that I can follow through on this plan.

Media:

  • Things watched:
    • I am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016 Netflix release) – interesting horror film with a literary narration
    • K Project (anime) – yo I haven’t watched an anime series in forever
    • Black (Netflix kdrama) – this was so so good and I really recommend it! It’s a crime/mystery/thriller type story with some supernatural and romantic elements.
    • Lupin III: The Castle of Cagliostro (1979 anime film) – directed by Miyazaki before he and Isao Takahata founded Studio Ghibli! It was exciting to see it, and you can definitely see very Miyazaki-esque elements in it
    • John Mulaney: Kid Gorgeous (comedy special) – also highly recommended if you haven’t already seen it
  • Things read:
    • I feel so bad that I didn’t read any books this month……

June goals:

  • Read Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass
  • Post to the blog once a week this month
  • Write for personal projects
  • Find some new media outlets
    • I mostly want to find new interesting blogs to read or interesting and fun youtubes to watch, but I’m kind of open to any sort of thing like that (podcasts, comics, artists, etc.). If you know any please let me know in the comments!

April Summary + May Goals

Wow! Can you believe it’s the end of April already?

This month seemed to fly by in a haze of work. I worked a lot the first half of the month and only recently feel like I had time to breathe. I’m behind on a lot of things now eheh…

Writing report:

Uh yep.

Part of that work mentioned above was for that collaborative project I mentioned in March. It seems to be shaping up into something exciting, so hopefully we’ll continue to work on it and it will get off the ground soon.

Nothing other than that. Will try to fix that this month lol. I do miss writing a lot, like I haven’t really sat down to do it in a while…

Media:

  • Watched:
    • Peaky Blinders seasons 1-4 – that’s all of it. It was really good. This might be why I felt so busy the first half of the month.
    • The Gift (2015 film)
    • The Open House (2018 Netflix original film)
  • Read:
    • I am Princess X by Cherie Priest – YA mystery/thriller novel. It was really good and I recommend it. Thoroughly enjoyed it! First book in a while that I’ve enjoyed this much
    • Mass Effect: Andromeda Art Book (does this count??)
    • Princess Jellyfish vol. 2 by Akiko Higashimura

May goals:

  • Buy computer
  • Organize desk
  • Get back to work on novel revisions
  • Come up with a (semi?) good schedule because I know you hate schedules but it might help with productivity and you’re trying to do a lot of things at once, Maggie, you probably need one
  • Get crafty (aka work on some of the other projects I have laying around lmao)

So ambitious month ahead of me. But it’s the beginning of Summer and my birthday month and I’m feeling good. I hope things continue this way ha ha ha