Monday, August 09, 2010

Synesthesia: Eat, Pray, Love Trailer

Eat, Pray, Love

I don't know how anyone could have missed Elizabeth Gilbert's memoir Eat Pray Love when it came out in 2006––literally every single person (female) I knew on Earth had read it by the end of summer 2007, myself included, and half of those people again had made vows to attempt a similar experiment--to throwing the shackles off! A quick summary of the memoir's plot: "[Eat, Pray, Love] chronicles [Gilbert's] trip around the world after her divorce and what she discovered during her travels." Let me jump in and give away the ending: she discovers herself, and how to be happy. Classic plot twist! It took the movie industry exactly three seconds to capitalize on the book's unprecedented success and make a movie adaptation.

Great! OK!
Was anyone else incredibly bored for about, oh, the first two entire minutes? Of the two and a half minute trailer? As far as music goes, the trailer boldly uses one song and one song only––Florence and the Machine's "Dog Days are Over." I have a severe case of depth overcharge when it comes to Florence - so, logically, this is right up my alley.

Wrong! The trailer is simply the worst. One of the million reasons to be in love with "Dog Days Are Over" is its pacing: starts out slow, builds, rushes in gleefully, backs off again to just a whisper...and then the beat comes back (BOOM!) all accompanied by Florence Welch's howl. It's not just a song, it's alive. But the Eat, Pray, Love trailer utterly ignores the pace, the vibrance that effuses from the song, and instead throws massive shackles around it by spending the entire first two minutes lingering in a looped repetition of the song's harp-chorded, tiny-clapped introduction. This amounts to two minutes of what the original spends five seconds on––a kind of terrible restraint that feels about as bad as that common human experience of trying so hard to sneeze for MINUTES on end, but somehow still not being able to. Let it OUT already!

Conveniently, I have a glaring parallel point of contention with the trailer thematically--the fact that Eat, Pray Love is a memoir of what Gilbert experiences after her divorce, yet the trailer lingers in the mind-numbing boredom of Julia Roberts' life falling apart and James Franco folding her "delicates" (tee hee!) in dreary NYC. The book spends its first few pages elaborating it will not be dwelling in the time of Gilbert's depression and divorce, and tears voraciously (literally!) into the "Eat" part of the journey––a journey that should the movie adaptation's selling point as well, yet one its trailer gives us only a hurried glimpse of.

What tends to happen when one reads
Eat Pray Love or listens to "Dog Days Are Over" is a tiny rush of with pure, utter, unabashed joie de vivre, coupled with a hinted certainty that happiness is within your grasp if you could just let the universe in, just live for once (a reminder humanity needs now and then). The trailer, conversely, falls flat.

All things considered, will this deter you from seeing the movie itself? We'll give it a solid sideways-thumbed "maybe"––the soundtrack looks dull, Julia Roberts is dull, so let's be honest: we'll end up watching it on Megavideo this November when it's sleeting and we have a paper to write.

-- Fiona Hanly

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