In my opinion, the film 2081 was more effective in telling the narrative; it showcased an anomaly rising up in a totalitarian government, and then being neutralized. However, watching the film after reading the text made the discrepancies more obvious and distracting. But for argument’s sake, we shall ignore that.
The film version featured audio, which gave added weight to George’s mental handicap as well as the ballerina performance. The recurring motif of the Sleeping Beauty Waltz added another layer of meaning, possibly alluding to Carabosse/Maleficent and the futile attempt of removing all things that stick out. The visuals provided in the film were also more powerful, even if the filming seemed overly constrained by budget/time. Harrison’s eyes stared out from a void of mussed eye makeup, piercing without obvious artifice. The ballerinas, hobbling about with their handicaps, could be instantly compared to one’s mental vision of un-handicapped ballerinas, giving the viewer (me) a sense of stark contrast. I feel that Diana Moon Glampers was very well personified, although I don’t seem to remember any speaking lines. Her motionless face, broadcasting to all those watching the National News Service at that time, was a delightful sort of falling action scene. I would have preferred it if she started spouting propaganda about Harrison, but I acknowledge that she would have to have had above average intellect to be able to do that.
Major differences between the two likely lie in their creation: “2081” took itself a lot more seriously than “Harrison Bergeron” seemed to. The outlandish proclamations of Harrison prancing onstage and acting emperor were obviously satirical jabs, while 2081 had an eloquent human rights avenger, though devoid of dancing talent, let alone ability to defy gravity.
The audio and visual sense engaged by the film made “2081” a more impactful narrative, compared to the campy ridiculousness of “Harrison Bergeron”.