Thursday, June 23, 2016

Why I Don't Like Stanley Kubrick's A Clockwork Orange

In 1962, Anthony Burgess published the novel A Clockwork Orange and in 1971, Stanley Kubrick released his film adaption of the novel. A Clockwork Orange is my favorite novel and Kubrick is one of my favorite directors, so I should be a fan of Kubrick's film right? 
I first read the novel back in high school (aka years ago) and I instantly loved it. My English teacher told us there was a film based off of it and that we should watch it. The first time I saw the film I was not too pleased with it, especially the ending, which I’ll go into detail later. I didn’t think the film lived up to the justice of the book. Kubrick didn’t change much from the book and he used the book as a script, so the material besides the ending was pretty spot on, but I still wasn’t completely satisfied. To this day, I still feel like something is missing. And yes, I’m fully aware book adaptions are hard to do, but c'mon, Into The Wild is another favorite book of mine and Sean Penn did a pretty damn good job with that adaption.
Besides the novel's unique story, I will give Kubrick kiddos for making the film stick with his viewers. Remember the ominous scene of Alex and his droogs just wandering in the dark streets with their shadows over-casted?

Along with the infamous milk bar.

And you can’t forget about the “Singing in the Rain” scene. The rape scene was in the novel, but in the novel Alex didn't sing. It was Kubrick’s idea for McDowell to sing in the scene. 

But let’s get to what I didn’t like. I cannot put my finger on exactly what is missing from the film that made the novel so great, but one of things I had a problem with this film is that it is so obvious it was filmed in the 70's when it is suppose to be set in the future. I mean just look at what they are wearing:

Now I know it’s easier to make a futuristic looking film now than it was back then, but Kubrick did an amazing job with 2001: A Space Odyssey and that was filmed prior to A Clockwork Orange
And the main problem I had with this film is the ending.

There are two versions of the novelOne had an extra chapter which Kubrick didn’t read that version until he finished his screenplay (which he threw out anyway). Kubrick claims that the final chapter of Alex growing up is not convincing and it doesn’t fit in with the rest of the novel. Anthony Burgess said that Kubrick missed the point of his novel, redemption, that is conveyed in the last chapter. Now of course with book adaptions, director can do whatever they please because it’s their film, but my favorite part of the novel was the last chapter so you can see why I was disappointed, especially since I think the last chapter is what completes the novel.  
Now don’t get me wrong, I do like this film, but I just don’t think it’s as great as everyone else does. I’m not saying Kubrick made a bad film, but the film is based off of my favorite novel, so I had high expectations and I wanted the novel to come alive. Like I said, Stanley Kubrick is one of my favorite directors, so I don’t look at this film in a negative way. A Clockwork Orange is Kubrick's film and he adapted the novel the way he wanted to, I just personally don’t completely agree with some of his choices.

Do you have the same thoughts and views as I do? Or do you think I missed Kubrick's point? Let me know what you guys think of the novel and film!

**I wrote this piece a while a go and I can not find the sources of the information I found on Kubrick and Burgess. I apologize!**

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