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View Full Version : Why doesn't Hollywood try harder with adaptations?



El Chuxter
01-16-2007, 11:32 PM
Seriously.

Presumably, a book (or comic, or toy, or whatever) is optioned to be a movie because people liked it. Bearing in mind that films must differ from books because of the nature of the two media, why mess with what made the original work?

In other words, why buy the rights to make a film based on a book, then make a film that only shares the name and some minor details?

I thought LOTR, Narnia, and Harry Potter were finally turning the trend back away from this stupidity. But I just saw an ad for Bridge to Terabithia, and I don't think I've seen anything that looks to be straying further from the source material.

Well, except for another upcoming movie that's received more hype. I won't name any names, but Peter Cullen will be playing the major role.

I just don't get it.

And it's not like all movies in the past have been radically different, either. To Kill a Mockingbird is almost 50 years old, faithful to the smallest details, and a damned fine movie for it.

Kidhuman
01-17-2007, 06:31 AM
I will always remmeber how they butchered The Apt Pupil by King.

I do agree that they hardly stick to details when making a movie from a book.

El Chuxter
01-17-2007, 09:42 AM
Yeah, the ad for BTT showed two kids coming up with a fantasy land, and then the inhabitants start taking over and they have to become cyborg knights or some **** and fight?

WTF? This was a great kids' book about a boy who befriends a tomboy, then she dies.

A Prayer for Owen Meany got screwed the worst, I think. It's one of the best books of the past fifty years. When they made the movie, it was so freaking bad and unfaithful, Irving not only insisted his name be taken off, but that they change the name of the movie and main character! So it came out as Simon Birch, and sucked hard. Sad thing is, it was just close enough that no one can ever make a faithful movie based on the book, because it'll look like a ripoff of Simon Birch.

Droid
01-17-2007, 10:22 AM
I was baffled by the "Bridge" preview. At first I thought it was a futuristic Narnia, then I thought they were making a live action "Iron Giant", then I thought it was another one of the Jumanji type films. When they said the name of the movie I said, "Huh? I read that book several times. Don't remember any of that." I doubt I'll see it, though I doubt I would have seen a "Bridge" movie anyway.

BanthaPoodoo
01-17-2007, 12:59 PM
I totally agree Chuxter. A perfect example is JP III. The book & movie are like two totally different things.... Heck they could turn the novel into a movie & it could be called JP IV!!!!

I don't know why they do it either... stay true to the novel, or don't make the movie at all.

stillakid
01-17-2007, 01:08 PM
Some books lend themselves to adaptations better than others. For example, DUNE is just too detailed and long to really do it justice within the 2-ish hour time limit that the theater imposes on it. The only real way to get Dune in motion-picture form is to create a very well-budgeted (it would never happen) maxi-series (like 24 episodes for the first book). Otherwise, too much has to be dumped and the beauty of the story is lost. The result is the question: well, what's the point then?

On the other hand, some stories are too thin to create a motion-picture that can fill two-hours. stories like The Grinch or The Cat in the Hat work as books (of course) and as a short cartoon (as Grinch did), but to think that they could sustain themselves over the course of a feature film was ludicrous. Of course they were betting on the box office draw and the antics of movie stars to carry the project, but in the end, the results are weak at best.

Somewhere in the middle of those you get something like The Shawshank Redemption, which is a great novella and was adapted into a brilliant full length feature. The story lent itself to being adapted in that it isn't too detailed, but there is enough "story" there to fill out the time parameters.

Granted, a lot of the success of failure of a project is dependent upon the skill and talent of those who write and produce the films, but the material itself has to be "adaptable" in the first place. I would wager a guess that most adaptations that fail do so because the source material itself didn't lend itself to the new format (motion-picture).

2-1B
01-17-2007, 06:18 PM
I liked Simon Birch.

stillakid
01-17-2007, 06:28 PM
I liked Simon Birch.

...then what happened? :confused:

JediTricks
01-17-2007, 06:34 PM
What Hollywood does is they take something that was popular with a core audience and say "we can take this brand recognition and get the general audience into seats with that!" but along the way they realize that the project's original appeal wasn't to a general audience so they have to strive towards what they think the mainstream general audience would want, thus marginalizing what made the original fans of the project happy with it in the first place. Don "the marshmallow" Murphy makes a good point at the Canadian Transformers convention when he points out that - in terms of numbers - if every fan of X-men comics went and saw the movie 6 times, it'd still lose money and be considered a failure, niche audiences just aren't big enough to carry mainstream projects of this scale, and those niche audiences are part of an insular group who thinks it's larger than it really is.

Of course, when the project is already popular with mainstream audiences before it's turned into a film, you get somewhat of an opposite effect, the director's singular vision doesn't match that of everybody else's - either because of a different take on the material or the helmer's ego gets in the way of the storytelling. Then of course there's a third thing in that it's every expensive and difficult to film a movie and some aspects of the material simply cannot be correctly adapted.



A Prayer for Owen Meany got screwed the worst, I think. It's one of the best books of the past fifty years. When they made the movie, it was so freaking bad and unfaithful, Irving not only insisted his name be taken off, but that they change the name of the movie and main character! So it came out as Simon Birch, and sucked hard. Sad thing is, it was just close enough that no one can ever make a faithful movie based on the book, because it'll look like a ripoff of Simon Birch.Actually, John Irving didn't insist his name be taken off, and he sold the rights to the book on the condition that they change the name of the movie BEFORE it was ever shot, that was something he required, and he himself came up with the name "Simon Birch" as the alternate to "Owen Meaney".

Rocketboy
01-17-2007, 11:18 PM
Perfect way to screw up an adaption: Sin City.
In the books, Nancy Callahan is a topless dancer. In themovie we get a fully clothed Jessica Alba.


What a rip.

stillakid
01-17-2007, 11:22 PM
Perfect way to screw up an adaption: Sin City.
In the books, Nancy Callahan is a topless dancer. In themovie we get a fully clothed Jessica Alba.


What a rip.

Yeah, there was a move to get DANGER GIRL on screen as well, but I hope it fails. The POINT of that comic was that these women are superhot sex objects who fight crime in scanty clingy clothes. But you know that if it ever made it to the screen that any actress of note they'd get would want to "remake" the Danger Girl image so that the women are "respectable" blah blah blah. Danger Girl is all about T&A and that's something that just wouldn't get made with the original intent.

sith_killer_99
01-18-2007, 06:54 AM
In the books, Nancy Callahan is a topless dancer. In themovie we get a fully clothed Jessica Alba.

A topless Jessica Alba....Mmmmmmmmmmm. Yummy!:yes:

darthvyn
01-18-2007, 02:24 PM
Don "the marshmallow" Murphy makes a good point at the Canadian Transformers convention when he points out that - in terms of numbers - if every fan of X-men comics went and saw the movie 6 times, it'd still lose money and be considered a failure, niche audiences just aren't big enough to carry mainstream projects of this scale, and those niche audiences are part of an insular group who thinks it's larger than it really is.

okay, this statement is totally ridiculous. there's a difference between streamlining continuity to make it more manageable and totally scrapping the original continuity. the x-men films (the first two, anyway...) were VERY successful with both the niche comic fans and the general populace. hell, my wife saw x-men before we were even together and she had no idea who they were!

if this is some way of trying to placate the transformers fans, then he picked the wrong movies to equate it to. totally bad move.

General_Grievous
01-18-2007, 02:32 PM
I liked Simon Birch.

Me too.

Among the most faithful adaptations out there, "Lord of the Rings", "Harry Potter", "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" and "Sin City" come to mind. The worst I can remember is "The Cat in the Hat" with Mike Myers. That was awful.

JediTricks
01-19-2007, 04:51 PM
okay, this statement is totally ridiculous. there's a difference between streamlining continuity to make it more manageable and totally scrapping the original continuity. the x-men films (the first two, anyway...) were VERY successful with both the niche comic fans and the general populace. hell, my wife saw x-men before we were even together and she had no idea who they were! One person's streamlining is another's scrapping, many hardcore X-men fans felt the movies did exactly the latter. The failure in these adaptations is all about how much of the essence of the project can be gotten to the big screen, tamper too little and the movie is slow or won't play to the bigger audience or will be too dense to understand; tamper too much and the movie will be based on ether and all audiences will recognize that and stay away (I hear the Miami Vice movie is exactly in that situation). The key is to recognize the essence of the material, especially what's important about it and what makes it tick and what audiences are already familiar with and expecting; it also helps to recognize what's so iconic about the material that it doesn't need a large chunk of the movie to explain it to the mainstream audience.


if this is some way of trying to placate the transformers fans, then he picked the wrong movies to equate it to. totally bad move.That's what he was trying to do, trying to explain why some changes are being made with the Transformers movie. However, as we're seeing from the early results, Michael Bay appears to have thrown out a lot of the franchise's essence because as a helmer he thinks he knows better and what it "should" be in his mind.

JimJamBonds
01-19-2007, 11:48 PM
But you know that if it ever made it to the screen that any actress of note they'd get would want to "remake" the Danger Girl image so that the women are "respectable" blah blah blah. Danger Girl is all about T&A and that's something that just wouldn't get made with the original intent.

Then get somebody lower on the food chain and you get the movie you want.

2-1B
01-21-2007, 10:22 AM
Agreed, Jamie Pressley would do it and you probably wouldn't have to even pay her above scale. lol

What's this about the TF movie having a different car for BumbleBee ? One of my friends is mega-ticked about that...

JediTricks
01-22-2007, 07:32 PM
What's this about the TF movie having a different car for BumbleBee ? One of my friends is mega-ticked about that...Director Michael Bay signed a licensing agreement so all the automobiles in the movie are GM-brands, and for some reason he and Spielberg decided this should be about a boy and his car so they made it a car they'd want to see the boy find and made it a '70s Camaro, then at the end of the movie he's an '09 Camaro. Totally wrong vehicle for Bumblebee, but I can't think of any GM vehicles that are closer to that style, maybe a Chevy HHR or Aveo - but there's nothing exciting about either of those.

2-1B
01-22-2007, 07:46 PM
Interesting, thanks for the clarification JT. That sounds pretty lame but at least I know now why they did it.

BountyHunterScum
01-30-2007, 10:47 AM
I'm surprised none of yall have started a "Night of the Comet" thread. Maybe it sucks that bad or I just let the genie out of that bottle that I didn't want to let out. I saw this when I was little so of course it creeped me out as a child. I've actually seen pictures of the small group of zombies on the site of the guy who did the makeup effects for the movie. Some of them don't seem so creepy mainly the guy in the alley who was the first in the movie. The cop and the scientist look creepier than the alley dude. All of this went into full swing thanks to Flix deciding to air the movie this month. Please don't post any pictures! lol