The many adaptations of Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World has given me the pleasure to be able to not only read the novel but to also watch Brave New World (1980) and Brave New World (1998) film versions. Brave new world (1980) is a three hour film which doubles that of the Brave New World (1998). Brave New World (1980) time allotted allowed for a more thorough depiction of Aldous Huxley’s novel than that of Brave New World (1998). Although Brave New World (1980)deviates a little from the the plot and themes of Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World it proves to be more complimentary to the novel than Brave New World (1998).
Brave New World (1998) is a far cry from Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World because it is saturated by the movie structures of Hollywood. It uses the three character structure through the three act structure eliminating the important roles of Helmholtz Watson and Mustapha Crowne. With Helmholtz absence we lose he theme of isolation and Mustapha’s absence we lose the theme of happiness. John, Lenina, and Bernard serves as the three structure characters. John is the antagonist, Bernard the protagonist, and Lenina the relationship character. The film turns Bernard into the main character who’s goal is to find out how the faults in there system can be managed because he himself knows first had that although all should be happy they are not and this seems throughout the film to be because he is unable to have Lenina all to himself. This is a strong deviation of the motifs of Bernard in the novel. In the chapters following the arrival of John you can see he was quite content with being popular. In the film john is then introduced. John is the antagonist and his point that living with this sense of false happiness is not right is made to the protagonist through the films love interest Lenina. This Hollywood structure totally ruins the relationship between Lenina and John because it emphasizes that of Lenina and Bernard.
Hollywood’s want for excessive drama changes the conflict and themes of the novel. For one it changes between Bernard Marx and the director to something totally different on film. Unlike in the novel Bernard Marx does not just come in and embarrass the director and the director storms off. In the film Bernard and the director have a sort of violent conflict because the director tries to condition a beta to kill Bernard. How Hollywood is that. The film also ends happily ever after with Bernard and Lenina happy with child. Definitely different from the novel which ends in the suicide of john in which, the film turns into an incidental death.
Brave New World (1980) was a close depiction of the novel with very little impact on the plot and themes in a negative way. The film did not tell the story in the chronological order of the novel. This film told the story of the director and Lenina right before she was left in the Reservation at the beginning of the film. It gave the audience the sense that the event was an accident, unlike the film (1998) which makes it seem like it was done on purpose. In the novel it is up for interpretation but I as a reader looked at it as a deliberate act on the director’s part. This deviation did not affect the plot in any way however. The telling of Bernard’s childhood was different in the (1980) film however it did not impact the plot and themes negatively. I would recommend Brave New World (1980) to go along with the reading of Brave New World (novel) because it is most true to the novel. Reading the novel is just a way to get more of the intimacy that is not seen through film.