Friday, 23 November 2007

Recent additions to the library

Earlier this evening, in an attempt to drown our sorrows over the Tigers blowing their national title shot, the family dined at Rockfish, then did a little shopping. Normally, I try to avoid frequenting retail establishments on Black Friday, but by dinner time things had quieted considerably in our little corner of the metroplex. Part of the shopping involved an excursion to Barnes & Noble.

I’d been wanting to read No Country For Old Men for quite a while, more so after Nathan told me his impressions of it, as well as my own reading of Cormac McCarthy’s more recent bestseller, The Road. Now that the movie is out, and I, like Nathan, am jonesing to see it, I figured it would behoove me to read the book from whence it came.

(Seriously, what is the deal with McCarthy and dialogue? Does the guy just not believe in the use of quotation marks? All three of his books which I’ve undertaken to read have been bereft of this usual aspect of literature, and while it seemed to work well in The Road, at least for me, it’s made reading Blood Meridian quite a slog. I’m only 19 pages in to No Country as of this writing, and it’s not a problem so far, but geez.)

I first read Richard Matheson’s I Am Legend in…gosh, I really don’t recall, but it was late middle school, early high school. I really enjoyed it at the time, read it once or twice more before leaving college and getting married. After that, I didn’t give it much thought until, some time in the `90s, I learned that Tom Cruise’s production company had optioned it for a motion picture. I was worried about what Cruise’s involvement, notably as the star of the movie, might do to Matheson’s work. Of the myriad actors in Hollywood, Cruise is certainly not one I could picture as Robert Neville.

I’m somewhat apprehensive about the 2007 film release, even though I’ve yet to see it. I have no problem with Will Smith as Neville; from the teaser and trailer I’ve seen, he seems to bring the right elements to the character. I am disappointed with the film’s movement of the plot location from Los Angeles to New York City, mostly because I don’t really see the point; it seems to be a change simply for change’s sake. I totally understand updating the story for our modern time: the book was written in 1954, and the story takes place in the mid- to late-1970s. There are minor tweaks to the main character—Smith’s Neville is currently in the military, rather than formerly, and is a scientist, whilst Matheson’s Neville is more of an everyman—and those are also understandable and digestable. But the change in the plot location… I guess I’ll just have to see the film to make a final, informed judgment. Until then, another rereading of what I consider to be a classic is in order.

posted on November 23, 2007 11:46 PM




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