Monday, April 18, 2011

Movie Monday#3: The Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper

This is another book that I am astounded I haven't previously thought to read. Cooper's action-adventure is narrated in uber-romantic 18th century style; I was only a few chapters into it when it dawned on me that it's Ann Radcliffe for men.

The environment of frontier America is described tenderly with patience: Cooper's homage for the wasted landscape that can never be returned. Indeed, it's more of a tribute to the American landscape and geography than it ever could dream to hold up as that of Native American heritage; talk about ouch. Cooper was writing as Andrew Jackson was victimizing thousands with his Trail of Tears. Anthropological objectivity isn't exactly part of the agenda here. Nor is it in most action-adventure novels from this era. Despite it's overly dramatic, (often times insulting) picture of Native culture though, it is entertaining and full on in its romantic sensibilities. Again, Radcliffe for men.

The only thing it may have going for it in the vein of historical accuracy is the play of English vs French and the manipulating of all the varying tribes amongst the two; it makes for some really confusing alliances.

Cooper also isn't lacking in suspense! The action keeps the pace flying, but never lets go of the gentlemanly dialogue amongst our band of heroes! It's exactly the sort of entertaining classic I love to read; while lacking in the humor department, I comfortably compare my enjoyment of this novel to that of The Three Musketeers!

The film, on the other hand, didn't leave me as excited as it left my father... I loved the cinematography. Of course. The beautiful vistas featured are landmarks of my own neighborhood! The acting was great; Daniel Day Lewis never ceases to amaze me, he's one of my all time favorite actors. I just felt the changes to the plot weren't necessary. I appreciated what sacrifices Cooper's characters made in the book (no spoiler, phew), but Michael Mann (director) puts a much larger emphasis on the romance. I won't reveal more, for I'd like you to read the book, watch the movie, and let me know what you think!

The Last of the Mohicans, James Fenimore Cooper
ISBN: 0553210548

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