Friday, October 3, 2008

You've got a lot of nerve, Mr. Sullivan.

“Oh, there's another bend in the road at their end,” answered Anne lightly. “I've no idea what may be around it—I don't want to have. It's nicer not to know.”

I’ve loved Anne Shirley for as long as I can remember. From my first encounter with her in books (all eight of them!) to the pleasant miniseries adaptation, I have followed Anne through her various journeys. Jordan even had his heart set on taking me to good ol’ P.E.I. for our honeymoon-- until we found out it would be below zero degrees.

Unfortunately, my journey with Anne in her various forms just came to a screeching halt. Why?

This year, during the 100th anniverary of Anne, Kevin Sullivan tried to make a buck by producing a “prequel” to Anne’s story. Give me a break.

With all of the original L.M. Montgomery novels still intact and beautifully written, this idiot has taken it upon himself to develop a prequel to the Anne stories that complete departs from Montgomery's beloved classics.

Now, Sullivan’s orginal, critically-acclaimed miniseries starring Megan Follows originally came out in the late 1980s, and I admit, I love it. They are beautiful films, and for the most part, they actually match the events that take place in the Anne novels. When the miniseries sequel, “Anne of Avonlea,” came out, I was still a faithful follower. Although it strayed a little from Montgomery’s original concept, the basic story of Anne was still there.

But in 2000, when this same director produced “Anne of Green Gables: A Continuing Story,” I had to put my foot down. My aunts raved about the production; I, on the other hand, still haven’t seen it. And I don’t plan to. For real Anne fans, the plotline is not only absurd, it’s problematic. And now Sullivan takes the absurdity one more level by developing this prequel, supposedly released earlier this year. I never saw “Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning” advertised, and for good reason. Poor Lucy Maud Montgomery is probably rolling in her grave.

Why weren’t Montgomery’s original stories good enough for Sullivan? They’re full of vibrant characters and strong themes, two literary concepts Kevin Sullivan clearly doesn’t understand. Too bad, because in the film world, I’m pretty sure a decent screenplay is relatively important.

Thanks, Mr. Sullivan, for attempting to ruin a beloved classic. Next time, do all Green Gables fans a favor: stick to the script (preferably not your own).

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