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  1. #1

    Why doesn't Hollywood try harder with adaptations?

    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.
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  2. #2
    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.
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  3. #3
    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.
    Tommy, close your eyes.

  4. #4
    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.

  5. #5
    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.

  6. #6
    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).

  7. #7

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Caesar View Post
    I liked Simon Birch.
    ...then what happened?

  9. #9
    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.


    Quote Originally Posted by El Chuxter View Post
    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".
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  10. #10
    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.
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