Thursday, June 29, 2023

Around the world in 80 days, or so

I'm not sure how old I was when I discovered Jules Verne. First was 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, then ATWI80D, then Journey to the Centre of the Earth, and From the Earth to the Moon. It was probably grade 4 or 5 or so. Reading was an escape. 

Some things I figured out on my own, that a giant cannon isn't a practical way to send people to the moon. In high school I revisited the FtEtM and actually did the math. I wanted to research how long it would take to replicate that journey using modern shipping and rail routes, but never got there. I never thought about it at the time, but Nemo's Nautilus seemed to have a great deal of it devoted to Nemo's comfort, and not that of his crew. I hadn't quite grasped how much pressure deep water exerted and what that does to submarine design.

I've seen several versions of ATWI80D, and you can look them up yourself, but I missed the 1989 version with Pierce Brosnan.  As I was browsing through the DVD collection at our library I saw a recent version  and grabbed it. This is the Masterpiece version from 2021. We're part way through and mostly enjoying it so far, though I suspect not for the reasons the makers expect.

I suppose this is as good a time as any to address novel to movie or TV show conversions. They are different mediums, and what works in one might not work in another. Plus, ATWI80D was written in 1872, and trying to show the mores of the day, or even the mores as presented in the book, would make a movie nearly unwatchable. The point these days is action, or rather ACTION to the exclusion of essentially everything else. Thus the recent outbreak of comic book movies.

I'm most disappointed in the character of Fogg. In the books he is a precise, time driven man, so he and his money drive most of the action in the book. As is to be expected, shit happens and he deals with it. Mostly, as I recall, by projecting the British stiff upper lip and a spirit of derring-do, along with spreading money around liberally. When in doubt, offer a bribe. He of course finds true love along the way. 

In this version he is weak and helpless. It's almost painful to watch. Everybody else is driving the action, mostly (to my surprise), Miss Fix, a journalist who attaches herself to the trip. She's the most fun to watch. I just hope the show doesn't bend her character to fall for Fogg. So far there is no bank robbery or resulting detective. 

They've rearranged some of the plot elements. Maybe that's to keep watchers on their toes. I was disappointed to find there were no elephants in the India portion of the trip.

Next, if I get through it, is The Dawn of Everything, A new History of Humanity, by Graeber and Wengrow. This is a seriously thick book, with the notes and other stuff starting on page 527 and going on for another 160 pages or so.

Today's VERO post, which hasn't been blogged. There's a link up at the top of my blog roll where you can drop in on my account and see what my daily post is. Sometimes it's been blogged, sometimes not.

Of the Day
Driftwood (NZ)

Driftwood (BC)




Yukon (Miles Canyon)

Film (new)

Film (old)
The story here is I'd just captured Linda's mom on film, to the cry of "Keith! Is there film in that camera?" The hands are demonstrating what she would do to the camera. Or my neck.

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