Classics Revamped for the 21st Century


What makes a book a classic?  It is often defined as a book that has an enduring quality and has stood the test of time.  There are two novels by two sisters that are often at the top of people’s lists:  Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte and Wuthering Heights by younger sister, Emily. Both of these classics have recently been adapted to the big screen in 2011 and hope to attract a new audience.

Recently released to DVD, Jane Eyre, directed by Cary Juji Fukunga, tells the tale of the young governess who works for the wealthy Mr. Rochester.   A romance develops between the two, even as Rochester is harboring a dark secret. “We wanted to move this interpretation forward into the 21st Century whilst maintaining the story’s haunting beauty,“said producer Paul Trijbits .

Opening  to great acclaim at the Venice Film Festival, Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte is  set for a 2012 movie release ( U.S. release date not determined as of writing).  It tells the tale of another orphan, Heathcliff, and his eternal love for Catherine on the Yorkshire Moors.  It is also the story of revenge and what Heathcliff does to the families that destroyed his life.  The film “shows how 21st century cinema can — and should — go about boldly revitalizing even the most familiar literary properties,” writes Neil Young in the Hollywood Reporter.

I am a firm believer in the idea that reading a book is better than watching a film, because it puts your imagination to work, but these two adaptations have gotten rave reviews.  Is the book better than the movie?  I suggest you read the books and watch the movies and then let me know which version inspires you?

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