At our last villa stay the previous guests had generously left behind a copy of Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, a book I had long wanted to read. Over the course of a week two of us read, giggled and grimaced our way through the amusing political satire about a naïve fish expert and his government cajoled attempt to encourage salmon to run the wadi’s of the Yemen.
Of course, seeing it released as a blockbuster the same two had to rush to the Islington Odeon for a rare post-work move screening. So, friends of Planet Elldrew, what did we think? Well, the book was witty, droll and politically astute. The movie, alas, focussed slightly too much on Ewan McGregor, rolling scenes of the Scottish Highlands and Yemeni desert, and too little on the utterly flawed plan summarised in the title. Most memorable to me were the young upwardly mobile couple who arrived at the cinema seconds before the movie started and conjured (from an otherwise ordinary rucksack) an illicit family size take-away pizza. More than once I found myself staring enviously at that pepperoni and mozzarella delight next to me when I really ought to have been concentrating on an email exchange between Kristin Scott Thomas and the PM.
But, I digress…back to the movie; certainly Ewan McGregor did well, and even managed to keep his clothes on more or less for the whole 2hrs, Emily Blunt was an appropriately twee Harriet Chetwode-Talbot although since seeing Young Victoria I tend to always wonder if it’s Queen Victoria or Emily Blunt I’m watching, and the coppery bronze pepperoni was a suitable distraction when one of the cast hammed it up a tad too much.
The film was reasonably faithful to the book, well as faithful as it could be when the book is entirely conducted in emails, although the ending diverged so much that you knew Hollywood had demanded a saccharine coated finale. Saccharine, of course, makes one think of sugar which (in a cinematic context) reminds one of popcorn – salt or sugar – and draws me back to the thin and crispy wood fired delight to my left.
To summarise dear reader, I would suggest that the book is far more satisfying than the movie and one should never go to the cinema assuming a popcorn dinner will suffice. It also leads me to wonder whether pizza in the cinema may be significantly more appetising and successful than “the great taste of Westlers Hot Dogs”? Those limp, processed, pink excuses for a frankfurter never look appealing and must lie for hours, if not days, on those odd silver rolling contraptions. And, I swear, I have yet to see anyone ever buy one! Perhaps, one day soon, you will be sitting in the cinema and when you see an advert for “the great taste of a fresh baked Elldrew Pizza coming soon” you’ll know where you saw it first! (Investors please click ‘Contact’ for further information).