I don’t know if you guys know this, but one time Meg Cabot touched me. Actually, she did more than just touch me. She ate lunch with Jenny, Sarah and I. We drank together, and laughed, full of mirth. We were mirthful. Mirth-infused, even, much like all those herb-or-fruit infused expensive olive oils that Bon Appetit is always making you buy for recipes. We were cold-pressed and extra virgin.
Amongst the many topics that Meg and FYA discussed as we lunched in the outdoors like the ladies of leisure we so obviously are was Disney’s TV movie adaptation of Avalon High! “Avalon High!,” I thought to myself. “I love that book! Will Wagner is so dreamy! Ellie’s so kickass and fierce! And it’s about King Arthur! I can’t wait to watch this movie!”
Well, no offense to Disney, but, eh . . . it wasn’t great. Why? BECAUSE THEY COMPLETELY CHANGED THE ENTIRE FUCKING BOOK. My ire could only be summed up in list form, and so I present to you: 10 Script Changes in Avalon High That Make No Fucking Sense.
1st Script Change That Makes No Fucking Sense
Ellie’s name is now Allie. Why? Well, that relates to Script Change Number Ten, I suppose, but let’s not get into that yet. Ellie, in the book, is short for Elaine. She was named, by her medieval studies-loving parents, after Elaine of Astalot, i.e. The Lady of Shalott. (I, on the other hand, am a Lady of Shallots. Come ‘ere, you gorgeous garlic-onion hybrids!) If you’ve read Avalon High, you may be wondering to yourself, “Well! That is weird, and not her name! And how will they tie in the whole Lady of Shalott thing? Because that is, you know, a pretty big part of the book!” The answer is revealed in Script Change Number 2.
2nd Script Change That Makes No Fucking Sense
They don’t. Not one word is mentioned of the fair maid who, madly in love with Lancelot, stays in her tower, weaving steadily, whilst daring to look down upon Camelot. Not. One. Word. Why? Why take out, like 40% of the book’s plot in this way? Were they concerned that teenagers today (as opposed to the teenagers of five years ago when this book came out?) would not know or understand or care about our fair doomed Lily Maid? Even though, A) if there’s anyone currently getting a dose of Arthurian legend, it’s high school freshmen who’ve just been saddled with Malory and Tennyson for the first time in their young lives and B) every college freshman who does not currently have either That One Klimt Print, a Bob Marley poster, a Che Guevara poster or a Gashly Crumb Tinies poster on their wall has, instead, Waterhouse’s print of doomed Elaine, floating towards Camelot, one candle away from death. (You can, of course, find some college freshman with a mixture of the above. I, for instance, had both Waterhouse and Gorey, cause that’s how I roll.)
What I’m sayin’ is, the Lady of Shalott is not exactly an unknown figure, and the idea of her is a HUGE part of the book, so what the hell, Disney? Plus, idolizing Elaine of Astalot is good enough for Anne Shirley, SO YOU BEST RECOGNIZE.
3rd Script Change That Makes No Fucking Sense
The movie is not – as far as I can tell – set in Annapolis, MD, home of the Naval Academy, but rather, in Seattle or something. This isn’t too big of a deal, but it seems like a weird change for no reason. I mean, DC is expensive to shoot in, but all you do is shoot the movie in Vancouver and then call it DC. The X-Files did this for years!
4th Script Change That Makes No Fucking Sense
There’s this kid, Miles, in the movie. He is, I suppose, the reincarnation of Merlin. He keeps getting visions about things. It’s very weird and off-putting. A whole friendship springs between Miles and “Allie”! But I assure you, this person isn’t in the book! He does not exist! I don’t know why he exists in the movie, except maybe they were all “Too many adults in this book! Teens don’t like adults! We need more kids in this film! Quick, to the Random Disney Precocious Tween Creator! Dial me up someone slightly nerdy and non-sexually-threatening to 12 year old girls! No, no, not that nerdy! Maybe a Stiff Little Fingers tshirt to show that he’s edgy! Now, more hair gel and a sarcastic nature! Perfect!”
5th Script Change That Makes No Fucking Sense
You may be wondering, “If Miles is Merlin, then what the hell purpose does Mr Morton serve?” Answer: HE’S MORDRED!!! WHAT? WHY? WHAT? How can you turn stuffy, cowardly, but ultimately good Mr Morton, member of The Order of the Bear, protector of Arthur, into Arthur’s mortal enemy?? WHAT? I know, I DON’T GET IT EITHER.
6th Script Change That Makes No Fucking Sense
Marco, Will’s stepbrother, is: A) not expelled, B) not, in fact, a force of evil, and C) ugly. Gross. Ruin his character if you must, but make him hot while you do it, please.
7th Script Change That Makes No Fucking Sense
Um, excuse me, but this dude from Wizards of Waverly Place? Is just NOT who I picture when I think of A William Wagner:
A William Wagner is supposed to be THE HOTTEST THING EVS. This dude looks like beans on toast.
8th Script Change That Makes No Fucking Sense
While they do keep in “Allie’s” love of running, no mention is made of The Floating. I love the Floating! Besides the fact that it is reminiscent of The Lady of Shalott, it just seems so peaceful. And very in line with Ellie’s reincarnated character as The Lady of the Lake (more on that in Script Change Ten). I want to be floating right now. I mean, actually floating. Like, on water. I could probably pop a few Ativan and be chemically floating in no time.
9th Script Change That Makes No Sense
Molly Quinn plays Jen. This only doesn’t make sense in that I can’t dislike Molly Quinn! I LOVE HER TOO MUCH! I wish Molly Quinn had played “Allie” instead. I wish Molly Quinn were in everything. Sigh.
10th Script Change That Makes No Fucking Sense
In Avalon High, the book, A William Wagner learns of his destiny as the reincarnation of King Arthur, mostly by defeating Mordred-as-Marco using the sword handed to him by our Ellie, who is The Lady of the Lake. It’s this whole thing! About destiny! And Free Will! And history repeating itself!
In Avalon High, the movie, “Allie” is actually the reincarnation of Arthur (I don’t really know who Will is or what purpose he serves other than to annoy me), and defeats the evil Mr Moore (Mr. Morton) with a prop sword that turns into Excalibur in her hands. And this is just . . . well, I don’t really understand why they had to change it. Girl power? I’m all for girls having awesome heroes to look up to, but part of what I liked about Avalon High is that message that there are all sorts of heroes; anointed ones, maybe, but just as likely – just as often – ones who are heroic simply because doing the right thing is only natural. And making “Allie” the Heir Apparent instead of the Smart Girl Who Figures It Out and Saves The World By Not Backing Down feels like a lazy attempt at feminism, a half-hearted “Here, have a movie about a girl who wins something! Girls like that sort of thing, right? That and sparkles?”
Don’t get me wrong; Disney slashed the hell out of The Princess Diaries too (um, I’m sorry, but Grandmere is NOT Julie Andrews!), but at least it was still fun and cute. This was, well . . . . kinda lame. And frankly undeserving of a “Based on the book Avalon High by Meg Cabot” credit.
Did anyone else see it? What did you guys think?