Thursday, January 23, 2014

The Truth about Grimm's Fairy Tales/Book Thief Movie

 'The Fairy Tale' by Walter Firle (1859-1929, German)
 "He heals the brokenhearted, binding up their wounds.  He counts the stars and calls them all by name.  Our Lord is great, with limitless strength; we’ll never comprehend what he knows and does." ~Psalms 147:3-5

Have you ever wondered about the Grimm brothers' process of collecting fairy tales and publishing them?  You might think that the tale was true, that they didn't change anything that they heard, that they collected purely German fairy tales, that they published the tales word for word.  Well,
we were wrong.  *cue dramatic music*
There is a book.  A book that is actually about thirty or forty years old, and it is called One Fairy Story too Many and it is by John Ellis.  In it is evidence of what really happened.

The brothers changed the original tales they collected (some weren't even German stories though they said they were "purely German"), the beginnings, and made them much longer than the originals.  The style was changed.  The original style was folk-ish and informal.  They changed the tales so that they were more literary. 
Mr. Ellis contrasted the original manuscripts (at least, the ones that were left alone.  Most of the original manuscripts were destroyed by the brothers...) to the printed 1st editions.  For instance, the step-mother.  In most of the original stories told, there was no step-mother.  Just a mother who had turned bad.  The brothers didn't want such dark material to get into these collections that were supposed to be "charming".  So now I am very disappointed in the Grimm's Fairy tales.  What stories I thought were purely German were mostly... not.  The Princess in the Frog, for instance, was French I believe. 
There are questions as to why the brothers did this.  They had been mixed up in a political debate at the time... also, they did write a book about purely German mythology that was actually accurate.  So why were these fairy tales changed?  Now I just want to know the real originals.  It's so sad...

But there is hope for accurate German fairy tales because five hundred fairy tales have been discovered a year or two ago and are being translated into English.  They were collected by someone other than the Grimm Brothers, and a lot of them are actually about Princes.  Interesting, isn't it?
Sad news: they are not translated yet.  So I want to learn German so that I may read them in German.
Other good news: Cornelia Funke is German and her books are good, specifically the Inkheart trilogy.  I am currently reading Reckless.  So far it's a little choppy at the beginning, but I'm sure it will get better.  I've heard good things about the second book.  Also, the illustrations are all the more interesting because Cornelia herself drew them.

Now on to the Book Thief.  I saw the movie (I've read the book and my review for it is here)
Cinematography/Setting: beautiful and accurate to the book.  Breathtaking at the beginning with the smoke and the train and the snow... Not sure I liked that it began in the clouds.  Felt just a little cliche, like something you might see in a movie about the afterlife/heaven...
The Narrator: He was death just like in the book, and he stayed true enough to the book though of course he couldn't have narrated every single scene.  I didn't like the voice very much, and sometimes I felt like they were portraying him as /almost/ a villainous person.  I wish Benedict Cumberbatch had done the voice because he would have done perfectly and the movie would have won movie awards and gotten more people to go see it, etc.
Liesel: she was well cast and well acted.  I liked the actress.  Near the end though, I don't know... she didn't seem as sorrowful as I thought she was in the book.
The other Characters: well cast and well acted.
Book versus the Movie: The book was much much better but this was still a good adaptation.  I really wish they had left in Max's story about the Word Shakers because it felt like it was sort of the heart of the story to me.  But other than that, very good and well made, and a good length at a little over two hours.  They couldn't have left everything in, as it's a long book, so I'm happy.
Another thing I really liked: the title.  I really liked that it was written in cursive in German, and then it translated to English "The Book Thief."  Also, there was a lot of German in the movie and I like that they translated Himmel to Heaven and just called it Heaven street so that the audience would get the idea that it was named after heaven.
Content: Much cleaner than the book was.  Nearly spotless actually contrasted to the book.
A note on the words contrast and compare.
Compare = talking about the similarities between two things
Contrast = talking about the differences between two things
I've probably already misused these words a lot... oh well.

I apologize for neglecting this blog.  I have many ideas for blog posts (a few are half-written already) for the future. This is a big year, aye it is.
God bless you all!