Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Conversation with My Daughter

My nearly-nine year-old daughter (her birthday is Friday) and I have many fascinating conversations. Today, before she went off to school, the topic turned to Tarzan. She asked me if Tarzan had a son named "Boy." I told her, no, he didn't; he had a son but his English name was Jack and his Ape name was Korak. My daughter then asked me where Boy came from and I explained that he was invented for a series of movies back in the 1930s. This led to the further question of why Boy "didn't have a real name." My reply was that, in those old movies, Tarzan wasn't portrayed the way he was in the original stories. He was a grunting brute who barely spoke English and so "Boy" was the kind of name they figured he's give his adoptive son. "Why do they always have to ruin books when they make movies?" She asked.

That's my girl.

13 comments:

  1. Out of the mouth of babes!

    Here's to hoping the John Carter won't meet a similar fate!

    Actually, I always like The Legend of Greystoke!

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  2. Happy (early) birthday, daughter Maliszewski, many happy returns.

    And truer words were never spoken.

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  3. I remember back in the day having a lot of hope for that Christopher Lambert Tarzan movie. They seemed to be getting it right, but then they ruined it by having him act like a crazed baboon in Europe. Could they not tell from the books that this guy was an incredible mimic, and would only act like an ape in civilization if he was in a fight in a darkened room.

    I fear that no film will ever get him right. Actually (and ironically), that Disney animated Tarzan probably came the closest.

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  4. Actually, I always like The Legend of Greystoke!

    Save for the over-dubbing of Andie MacDowell's voice with Glen Close's, I'd imagine.

    Hard to believe it's been 10 years since the Disney version!

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  5. Your kid rocks.
    Tell her happy birthday from Rachel, won'cha?

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  6. I fear that no film will ever get him right. Actually (and ironically), that Disney animated Tarzan probably came the closest.

    I read recently there was a serial made of Tarzan in the 30s starring Herman Brix that is much closer to Burroughs' conception of the character. Beyond that, there really hasn't been a good portrayal of him, though I agree that the Disney film, though inaccurate in a great many respects, was more in keeping with the spirit of the character than most versions.

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  7. Just let her watch Ridley Scott's Blade Runner before she reads Philip K. Dick's Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep! Sometimes a movie is worth appreciating on its own merits.

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  8. For that matter, I think the movie version of Children of Men is better than the novel -- and am sure I could think of at least one other such example.

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  9. Jurassic Park. Much less pseudo-intellectual "isn't maths great" bobbins in the film, and Spielberg omits the whole Aliens-esque egg hunt bit at the end. I'm not saying it's a great film, mind you, just that the book is worse.

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  10. Sometimes a movie is worth appreciating on its own merits.

    Sometimes it is, but that's a rare things -- probably as rare as finding a movie that's a faithful adaptation of the written word.

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  11. For that matter, I think the movie version of Children of Men is better than the novel

    The movie seemed to tell a very different story than that of the book, which is fine. I simply hate it when a movie shares a title and superficial elements with a novel and then veers off on its own. I know why it happens, but it bugs the heck out of me.

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  12. My youngest daughter turned 8 today James...Tell your daughter Happy Birthday from one of your faithful readers. ;-)

    When I was a kid growing up (in the 70's) in a small town with one theatre, no cable TV and no VCR (VHS), we had to rely on the local library. There was this illustrated version of the story of Tarzan, in color no less, that had to quite likely one of the most popular books with boys my age. IF you could get your hands on it you were THE guy.

    I had friends come over and we'd lay on the floor while slowly and silently turning pages, pointing things out and nodding as sagely as a 9 year old boy can. I read Tarzan soon afterwards and while the story was fantastic, that illustrated novel will always stick in my memory as seminal "Tarzan".

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  13. kelvingreen, I disagree about Jurassic Park. The book gives me the sense of a mystery, or a puzzle, unfolding, while the movie is a mere technology demo/action-adventure.

    (I am a mathematician-in-training, though, which might be relevant.)

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