PDA

View Full Version : Print to screen. The pages to movie compromise.



scruffziller
07-01-2003, 02:52 PM
For you, which do you prefer. That your comic book/novel/etc. charachter be made into a movie no matter the story change for marketing reasons. Or leave it alone unless it was done absolutley right, which means it may never be done at all.

El Chuxter
07-01-2003, 03:22 PM
I don't know if there's an easy answer to that, in my opinion. Print and screen are completely different, so movies can't be exact. (For one thing, a truly faithful adaptation could be several hours long. Look at the LOTR or Harry Potter series and how much stuff had to be trimmed.)

I don't mind so much if things are changed, as long as the intent and overall feel of the story remain intact. But when the changes seem to be made for reasons that completely alter the story overall, in most cases it's for the worse.

stillakid
07-02-2003, 11:05 AM
I don't know if there's an easy answer to that, in my opinion. Print and screen are completely different, so movies can't be exact. (For one thing, a truly faithful adaptation could be several hours long. Look at the LOTR or Harry Potter series and how much stuff had to be trimmed.)

I don't mind so much if things are changed, as long as the intent and overall feel of the story remain intact. But when the changes seem to be made for reasons that completely alter the story overall, in most cases it's for the worse.

Yeah, what he said. :)

I think that what fans (of books) sometimes forget is that most pieces of literature, if filmed scene by scene, would be too long for a standard movie. Not only that, but most pieces of literature aren't really designed to be extracted that exactly anyway. For instance, whenever a character "thinks about something," it can be difficult to illustrate that sort of internalization on a movie screen. This is where the screenwriter turns to the art of finding the "intent" and then making the appropriate alterations. So, if a character is lost in thought about an old girlfriend, instead of having a lame voiceover parroting the words from the novel or (even worse) having a lammo flashback or montage sequence interrupt the story, an entirely new and different sequence can be constructed which gets the point across within the context of the story at hand. It doesn't always work, as a lot of literature just isn't designed to be shrunk into a two-hour-ish long tale, but thank goodness for the times when it does. :)

BanthaPoodoo
07-03-2003, 04:00 PM
Of course changing it drastically from the print version (as in the case of Jurrassic Park 2) I think is dreadful.

I say trimming is fine though.

stillakid
07-03-2003, 04:34 PM
Of course changing it drastically from the print version (as in the case of Jurrassic Park 2) I think is dreadful.

I say trimming is fine though.

It goes beyond trimming. In most cases, it has to be a wholesale, uh, re-inventing (?) of the way the intention is presented. Which means anything from deleting scenes, combining scenes, inventing new scenes and more. Of course, when done well, a great movie pops out. On the other hand, the writers/producers can go in with good intentions but churn out c-r-a-p.

Take David Lynch's DUNE for a great (horrible) example. Bearing little similarity to the novel, they invented a stupid arse new sound weapon thingie that made absolutely no sense in the scope of what the original story meant to convey. All these years later, I still can't fathom what the hell they were thinking when concocting that little pile of poo to insert into the story.

jjreason
07-04-2003, 11:39 AM
I think turning a great book into a movie is all about "picking your spots", how you go from interesting point to interesting point is much harder in 2hrs. than it is in 500 or so pages. There are few great examples of awesome movies faithfully adapted from great books, I can only think of 3: To Kill a Mockingbird, Silence of the Lambs, and lastly Lord of the Rings. I usually find that they leave too much out - or leave too much in (drying out the film). Tough go for any director.

When it comes to making books out of movies where no book existed in the first place (ie: novelization of "Top Gun" or some such thing), I think they should try to give up on that. All those books based on screenplays suck.

Jedi_Master_Guyute
07-04-2003, 02:07 PM
Of course changing it drastically from the print version (as in the case of Jurrassic Park 2) I think is dreadful.

I say trimming is fine though.


My Lord, i HATED the movie Lost World: Jurassic Park so much. It's like Spielberg decided to take the book (which was surprisingly good) and change so much. Hey, let's give Malcom a random daughter (while leaving out arby and kelly, which we simliar to Lex and Tim, but still) and let's not include Genarro and his team, but rather a huge freakin military team into Site B. Man, i just wish somebody would take the book and make that into a movie. The raptor/motorcyle chase would look amazing and there are so much in the novel that could be done that would be great to see on the screen.

Anyway, i always look forward to seeing when movies/comic books make it to the screen. I think most film makers know better than to change a whole helluva lot (see Kubrick's butchered version of "The Shining" to see an example of pure egoism taking over a horror masterpiece) and keep the fans happy, while appealing to the general public.

I do think that very faithful adaptions to the screen can be done (check out James O' Barrs' "the Crow" for this example). The Crow, while changing some locations and whatnot, was very very true to the graphic novel. I still read that book from time to time and it still gives me chills. Truly brilliant. Just my thoughts though. :D

JediTricks
07-04-2003, 05:41 PM
I've always felt The Princess Bride was a much better book than movie. The film comes off kinda shallow IMO, the characters too 1-dimensional. The leads especially don't work for me. It seems to cover most of the territory it sets out to, but somehow feels flat both as a film & an adaptation.

In general, I don't prefer books over film though and I don't mind film changes. I like the film "To Have & Have Not" and it's barely even related to the novel.

mabudonicus
07-06-2003, 11:51 PM
I'm prolly gonna take heat for this but here goes...

The Lord of the Rings was a fairly sloppy, overwritten book, and the film made up for this.... I read LOTR when I was like 10, and it took me a couple years to actually finish it... I read "the hobbit" numerous times in the same period... LOTR is mostly a dry, long winded and unnecesarily sprawling narrative.........
Like Stilla said, there are totally different ways to present things in the 2 different mediums... I can't STAND a 2 page description of how somebody thinks a new food tastes.... Personally, I would rather "get" the idea from a well shot sequence, tidy, economical.... I can use English fairly well myself, and it doesn't impress me when that is the focus of a particular work.... which is why I like 60's marvel comics;)
Like Poe said, "taste is the final arbiter", so it's really down to case by case....
F'rinstance, having never read (nor wanted to) the "JPII" book, I thought the film was a HOOT, the only good one of the series..... Having read "HULK" comics, I thought the film SUCKED, tho many folks less familiar with the source material were much more lenient than myself (ROFL, BRUCE)
And with LOTR, I read it, it was different, it was what I hoped it would be, though, cos as long as the film really works on all levels, it's all good:)!!!

JediTricks
07-07-2003, 12:20 AM
Mab, I probably would have been a little more diplomatic about it, but yeah, I didn't like the LOTR books much myself for similar reasons but the movies have been really great so far.

stillakid
07-07-2003, 10:21 AM
I'm prolly gonna take heat for this but here goes...

The Lord of the Rings was a fairly sloppy, overwritten book, and the film made up for this.... I read LOTR when I was like 10, and it took me a couple years to actually finish it... I read "the hobbit" numerous times in the same period... LOTR is mostly a dry, long winded and unnecesarily sprawling narrative.........

I haven't read the LOTR books, but I did attempt to get through The Hobbit a couple months before LOTR came out. I'm actually shocked that any teenager can manage it. Sloppy and overwritten is an excellent way to put it. Very difficult to read much less comprehend what he's trying to say, much less follow a story.

Sort of in the same way, I suppose, I haven't really liked the films thus far. It appears to be an "epic" for "being an epics sake." Big sprawling vistas, weird creatures in every new sequence, a menagerie to travel with...and not once have I been given a reason to care about any of the characters. Anyone of them could die at any second and the story could really continue without pause. Plus there still hasn't been offered a good reason why that kid (Hobbit, whatever) has to be the only one to carry the ring. In Star Wars, Luke didn't really "decide" to go...he more or less had no choice...everything had been taken away from him. The Hobbits are more like on a road trip, meeting up with a little bit of peril and hijinx along the way. "Ready!? Let's go!" cue The Allman Brothers Band (Jessica).

I also was never too impressed with the Oscar Award winning Silence of the Lambs. Though I do recall thinking when the lights came up that it would make a better book. ;)

mabudonicus
07-07-2003, 12:14 PM
I've still never seen "SILence o' the lambs", doesn't deal with any themes I care to see expounded...
Sorry for the lack of "diplomacy" JT ;), the smog here makes me sorta "hulk out" in an intellectual-ignorant kinda way...

Just to respond to Stilla's LOTR comments, the hobbits are happier at home, and not too serious about life.. if the film had contained the entire thing as on the DVD, the opening would have made this a bit more clear.... Frodo (the kid:)) HAS to carry the ring because he and the other hobbits care mostly about what really matters in life, anyone else has too many "impure" ideas about power etc to avoid the ring taking them over..
And in defence of "epic fopr epic's sake", well, think of how many romance comedies open with helicopter shots of Manhattan or whatever, and have lots of big establishing shots of urban vistas, then cut to an interior of Julia Roberts being too inept to make Kraft Dinner.... the film is from a time long ago, and there are no skyscrapers, the whole world WAS nothing but sweeping Vistas, man:)!!!

This is an interesting thread, so far....

jjreason
07-07-2003, 02:08 PM
Okay, Im going to chime in here as a big fan of the books and movies, seeing as noone has taken on that mantle yet.

Frodo takes the ring because it was bequeathed to him by Bilbo, the older Hobbit who found it. Bilbo is the uncle, Frodo the favourite nephew. Both Frodo and Bilbo have an overdeveloped sense of adventure, as far as Hobbits are concerned. I also believe that Gandalf sees to it Frodo carries the ring, likely because he's the least dangerous of all the Fellowship to possess it. Anyone but the Hobbits has something to fight for, and would be easily led down the "dark side path" were they chosen to carry the ring (exampled by Bormomir's overenthusiastic attempt at claiming it for his own use near the end of the first part).

The Lord of the Rings is a very long book, no doubt about it. The thing is: the journey Frodo embarks on is very long and arduous as well. Taking the time to read the book, continuously looking at how many pages you've got left, how long you've been reading for, etc. translates directly to how the characters are feeling: how much longer can this go on? How much further will we have to go?

The use of language in the book is fine, for the target audience. It doesn't patronize you by using haughty terms and 10 dollar words, Tokien takes the time to describe everything at a 10-13 yr old level, so they can see his vision. It's fine to skim over these parts if you're getting bogged down. The amazing part is that he describes the entire setting - much like GLu does visually in the Star Wars movies. It's the completeness of the picture that does the visuals justice in both of these cases.

stillakid
07-07-2003, 08:20 PM
Frodo (the kid:)) HAS to carry the ring because he and the other hobbits care mostly about what really matters in life, anyone else has too many "impure" ideas about power etc to avoid the ring taking them over..
But that explains why Hobbits are a good choice. It doesn't explain why Frodo is compelled to personally do it. Motivating a hero in any story must be a very personal thing unto that character. As far as I could tell from the films, Frodo had no such motivation beyond some people telling him that it is his "destiny" or other such nonsense. Perhaps a proper motivation is laid out in the book and just never made it to the screen.


And in defence of "epic fopr epic's sake", well, think of how many romance comedies open with helicopter shots of Manhattan or whatever, and have lots of big establishing shots of urban vistas, then cut to an interior of Julia Roberts being too inept to make Kraft Dinner.... the film is from a time long ago, and there are no skyscrapers, the whole world WAS nothing but sweeping Vistas, man:)!!!

This is an interesting thread, so far....
I think you missed my point. There is difference between a movie telling a story about a group of people on an adventure and a movie that is filled with gratuitous vistas and weird creatures coming out of the woodwork everytime the scenery changes.

Fandango is a decent example of an adventure road trip film which doesn't overload itself with trying to be "bigger" than the story it is trying to tell.

The foundation of LOTR seems to be able to support all these demons and elves and stuff coming at us everytime we turn around, but what I meant was that the story seems to be a big excuse to introduce these elements...not the other way around. Instead of the variety of elements supporting a really compelling story, the simple story seems to exist as an excuse to have big vistas and every mythological creature under the sun.

Take the cyclops ogre guy for instance. Why is he there? Just another "hurdle" that we know the good guys will get away from after a couple minutes of "panic." On the other hand, to use Star Wars as an example, when our heroes go to rescue the Princess, there is a logical reason for Stormtroopers to arrive and cause a hiccup to their plans. I suppose a parallel might be drawn to the Dianoga creature and it would be a fair one. It isn't entirely logical that it is there in the first place, but the Saga doesn't toss that kind of element in for every new sequence the way LOTR does.

But I digress and don't mean to pull the thread away from it's intended purpose. :)

Kidhuman
07-07-2003, 11:59 PM
The one book I really wanna see as a movie is The Talisman. That was a great book. The movie would have to be done exactly like the book though. I have seen some good books into movies and some bad ones. The worst I think is the Apt Pupil. The story was great but the movie sucked.

As far as turning them into movies, I think it should follow the book almost to a tee. I understand leaving some things out, but you cant leave out major stuff or change the story around to fit into the movies timeframe. I for one dont mind watching a 3 hour movie as long as it holds my interest.

mabudonicus
07-08-2003, 09:40 AM
Right, keepin it on track (I'll meet ya on the film-other sometime and we'll iron this out, stilla;))

How bout HULK??? I think the only HULK comic books on set were hanging in the porta potties in place of phone books:)

It's weird, but I tend to like older authors/works anyways... since the multi media revolution, people expect things to be presented a certain way, and it shows in literature... there seems to be less and less difference between books and film nowadays, pacing wise... sure, there's still more "asides" and stuff in books, and background and stuff......
In a SW sense, I read Heir to the Empire once, didn't like it and have not read a single piece of EU since.... I really don't think that every concept has to exist in every medium... when I really LOVE a film, the last thing I would think is "I bet the book is better", cos what makes me love a good film (again, ME, most would disagree) wouldn't be possible in a book, and vice versa, I mean, I really don't like "action books"......
I guess I'm saying that I see it less as a compromise and more as a necessary evil, if you really want to see a film based on a book, it's going to have to be made into a film, and films are different... I prefer a good use of whatever medium it is, a great book and a great film are equal but different...

PS stilla, Frodo doesn't want the ring at all, he kinda hates it

stillakid
07-08-2003, 12:21 PM
PS stilla, Frodo doesn't want the ring at all, he kinda hates it


(...and? What's that have to do with his motivation for doing this in the first place? There are lots of reluctant heroes scattered throughout fiction and non-fiction alike. But the key to a good hero is that he is compelled beyond reason to embark upon his journey. LOTR failed to establish any such thing for lil' Frodo or his friend.)