Sunday, September 30, 2007

Noooo! They’ve ruined The Dark Is Rising!

Okay, you know when you have a favourite book? A book that you really like, say, one that you read when you’re a child, was instantly engrossed in, and became a part of your childhood. The Dark Is Rising is such a book for me. I wasn’t exactly a kid when I read it, more like a fifteen-year-old teenager, but I remember reading Greenwitch, the third book in the sequence (which is also called The Dark Is Rising), enjoyed it immensely, and started scouring MCKK’s (my secondary school) library for the rest of the books. Unfortunately, it has all but the last of the sequence, Silver on the Tree, and I was left hanging until a few years ago when I bought the book on the internet. Just a note, you can read it in the order of book 1,2,3,4 and 5 or even 2,1,3,4,5 for the reason that (some of) the key characters from book 1 and 2 are different and they only meet in book 3 onwards. However, starting with book 3 is totally not the right way to read it. Oh well…

For those who have never heard of it, The Dark Is Rising (the second book) is about Will Stanton, an English boy who discovered on his eleventh birthday that he is the last of the Old Ones, beings of the Light, and that he has to find the Six Signs to stop the forces of the Dark. The book is deeply embedded in British and Celtic folklore and Arthurian mythology. It also received the 1974 Newbery Honor award.

I found out a few months back when browsing IMDB that the book is being made into a film. At first I couldn’t believe it since it is my favourite book, then I was really excited. However, after searching a bit more on the net, I was flabbergasted, and not in a good way.

Apparently, the people involved in the making of the film had decided to take it upon themselves to ‘adapt’ the book in a way they see fit. And by that I mean they totally butchered the story. It is now changed so much it’s horribly beyond recognition!

Now, before you start, I know you have to change the book a bit to make it into a film because of the different media. That’s pretty much obvious and everybody knows that. However, there is a line between adapting a book and making an entirely new story altogether! From what I’ve gathered, the only things that are the same are the names of some of the key characters and the fact that Will has so seek the six signs.

As a start, they scrapped all the Arthurian reference! I mean, what the heck? That is entirely integral to the story since it’s part of the storyline. In fact, two main characters (one appearing in book 4) are directly from the mythology. By removing that, you’ve effectively removed the backbone of the story itself. Which also means there’s no way they can make book 4 and 5 into films, since you won’t have much of the story left. Apparently, the scriptwriter acknowledged that he hasn’t read the rest of the series, which is absurd, since that’s a very stupid thing to do if you’re making an adaptation.

What’s more, they’ve changed the main character’s nationality to American, furthermore distancing the film with the English mythology. His age is also changed to thirteen, since they probably thought an eleven year old hero will not appeal much to teenagers. They changed the magic from subtle to flashy (a la Harry Potter style). They’ve also totally rewritten the characters. They changed Will’s family from a caring one to a stereotypical emotionally distant, pick-the-younger-brother type family. His older brother is now an agent of the dark. Instead of the English countryside, there are now police chases in the malls and kung fu fights on top of fruit carts. There are a lot more changes, and you can find a list of them in this blog in livejournal here. There’s also another big change, which I’ll get into later.

Sadly enough, I was planning on seeing the film despite all the disservice it has done to the book, simply because it’s my favourite book being shown on the silver screen, if nothing else. However, now that I’m back in Cambridge (with fast internet), I saw the trailers for the first time. And I must say, I’m not impressed. They’ve turned a perfectly good book into a cliché-ridden, typical kiddies story. What’s more, I’ve made the decision not to see it because the trailers confirmed my worst fear:

They’ve totally changed Will Stanton.

Now, Will is one of my favourite book characters of all time (the other one being Granny Weatherwax) and one that I adored so much when I was a kid (or rather, teenager) and is still now. He’s a calm, collected and thoughtful kid (that comes with being an Old One) and is described in the books as ‘wise beyond his years’. In the film, the impostor Will is a bratty little kid who tries to be cool and fit in. He blows up cars and hurled his brothers with his super powers when he’s frustrated. They even gave him a love interest! Now that is utterly PREPOSTEROUS!! In the trailer, Will is quoted as saying “I'm supposed to save the world? I don't even know how to talk to a GIRL!” I was so shocked it’s not even funny. Now that is one thing that Will Stanton will NEVER, ever say. And I mean never!

I realised that to see this film means I’ll be ruining the Will I envisioned in my head, so I’m not going. I know that it’s not really his real character, but it’ll be hard to get it out of my head if I see the film, and I don’t want to be reminded of it every time I pick the book to read. I’m appalled enough as it is now with this horrific treatment of my beloved book.


Thursday, September 27, 2007

Hey there!

I’m now back in Cambridge. Well, actually, this is the third day since I’m back so it’s not really a big deal anymore, which also means I should have posted this sooner (e.g. the first day) but it wasn’t easy to move stuff and set the place to how I like it to be lived in. Ever tried moving ten boxes from one end of the college to another? My advice: avoid if possible, especially when none of your friends are back yet to help with it.

Speaking of which, my room this year is great! The first thing I noticed, and also the thing that most prominently makes this place worthwhile is it has a fridge installed! It also has a sort of mock fireplace that has been boarded up, which is a pity. The downside of the room, however, is that the kitchen is downstairs, so I have to walk a bit to cook.

Computer table

Bed and studying table

Fridge. Left door is the way out. Right door is the bathroom

Actually, by far, the best room I’ve ever lived in is the one in my first year. I’ll give a quick rundown:

1st year


  • Best room ever. Enormous! Like my across-the-hallway-neighbour Dom said, “Compared to yours mine is like a box.” Actually, it's not really that much bigger but you get the idea.
  • Has a fridge, two tables (one for studying and the other for computer), lots of sofas, mock fireplace, and a proper bookshelf.
  • Kitchen’s just nearby


  • The only thing I can think of is that it’s located on the road where Sainsbury’s is, so it can be a bit noisy at times. Also in the morning it faces the sun so you will often be woken up by it, although this might be a good thing. It depends.

2nd year


  • Biiiiggg wardrobes. Lots of storage space.


  • Far from Sainsbury’s, my department and the dining hall.
  • No fridge in the room
  • Kitchen has no oven. Also if you cook in the afternoon it will get really hot because of the sun.

3rd year


  • Fridge in room, two tables, boarded-up mock fireplace…
  • Not far from my 1st year room so it is also strategically located


  • Kitchen far away
  • Not much storage space, though I’ll probably manage to squeeze my bags and boxes somewhere…

Oh, and just to mention, all those room have en-suite bathrooms. I can’t live without it.

I’m a senior scholar this year, which means I get first dibs on choosing the rooms. Guess I’ll choose properly this time, with research, room visits etc unlike last year where I actually didn’t know what the room looks like until now.

Classes will not start until next Wednesday so I have plenty of time to relax/do nothing/get bored. At the moment I’m in a One Piece marathon. Episode 120 something and counting…


Friday, September 14, 2007

It’s almost time…

… to go back to the UK. Just another ten days. Can’t wait.

Today was the second day of fasting. To be honest, it feels kinda weird since this is my first time fasting in Malaysia in five years. I sort of like fasting in the UK. With it being cold, you don’t get that tired, or thirsty. And the fact that breaking of fast can happen as early as half past four. That was really something. I think I might have irritated the hell out of some people by whining about how I wish I can be there instead of here for Ramadhan. Ha ha, sorry to… well, you know who you are =)

There is something going on that made me feel extremely unhappy. However, since I’m currently in Malaysia and am somewhat sheltered, I haven’t felt the full force of it yet, which I probably will once I'm back in the UK. So, when I get back, expect me to have a long rant about it.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Just to tell you...

Ha ha, I know, I know, it's no excuse for being silent for almost a month or so, but in between playing games, reading, watching stuff and a few excursions to KL there isn't really anything interesting to tell.

Anyhow, I'm going back to the UK and Cambridge this 24th for my third year. Am really looking forward to that. So if there's nothing else going on hopefully you'll hear from me then.

See ya!