This is another proof that movie adaptation could hardly represent the true values of the book—especially classics. This movie is the 2005 adaptation of Eleanor Atkinson’s Greyfriars Bobby, a Scottish movie directed by John Henderson.
As this was a Scottish movie, I don’t recognize any of the casts. Their acting are not too good, especially the protagonist, a teenage boy called Ewan, his gestures and expression were unnatural. Another bigger problem is the language. I can hardly catch the Scottish dialogs, while it was poorly subtitled in Bahasa Indonesia. So, from most of the movie, I could follow only from the gestures of the casts, and the familiar story.
Story and Plot
The only aspect that followed the true story was Bobby’s and John Gray’s name. However, ‘Auld’ Jock was not at all old, poor, and lonely, as in the book. He was quite young, a policeman not a farmer, had wife, and I think, a child. He loved Bobby as any man loves his dog, not as Auld Jock loved Bobby as a soulmate. John Gray here let Ewan the teenage boy befriending Bobby, and after Gray’s death—which did not caused too much sadness over Bobby—Bobby became Ewan’s dog.
So, the powerful strength of Atkinson’s book, i.e. unconditional and faithful love, has been stripped from this movie. To me, Bobby here was sad as any other dogs would when their masters died. By watching this adaptation, you would not understand why, and how, a dog could endure eight years of mourning for its master; while by reading the book, it would be obvious. And then, by having a new master, Ewan, Bobby would not be too lonely as Atkinson’s Bobby.
More than that, the movie made Bobby involved in chasing villains—and humiliating them—just as Hollywood made Lassie or Airbud doing. In the end, Bobby became a cute, lovely, and clever dog, who steals everybody’s heart. That’s all. Too pity. Maybe it because the director aimed this movie for children.
Setting and Costumes
The setting was a little too cheerful; while Atkinson wrote it in darker and dimmer atmosphere. Maybe the only satisfying and interesting aspect of this movie is the costumes. It was something I could not imagine from the book, as I seldom notice Scottish costumes.
For all that, I granted six and a half stars for this movie. Of course, I would have liked it much more if I haven’t read the book!