Author Topic: Books to Movies  (Read 67376 times)

Elle

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Books to Movies
« on: September 06, 2007, 06:58:39 pm »
I know there's been some discussion about this in the Blood&Chocolate thread and a few others.

I know sometimes it works, for me LotR was a big winner...and sometimes it doesn't, hello B&C. Now...I haven't read 'The Dark is Rising' by Susan Cooper but a friend is a huge fan. She's afraid that the upcoming movie adaptation will be if not a disaster then something close to that. She's heard there's going to be quite a few changes from the novel and she's afraid that it will lose it's magic.

So...any favorite books to movies out there? or ones that you cringe at?
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Grey Drakkon

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Re: Books to Movies
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2007, 07:24:46 pm »
Vampire$ was absolutely worthless as a movie, while quite interesting as a book.  To show you just how much they maimed the characters, in the book, Cat is a sexy charming laid back guy.  In the movie he was a beer-bellied whiney "I want to punch you in the face so you'll stop being around me" kind of guy.  :P
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Good Mazoku

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Re: Books to Movies
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2007, 02:22:12 am »
Mystic River was fabulous both as a novel and as a movie: Clint Eastwood is great!!  ;D
Also The General's Daughter, even if in the movie they skipped on some details that would have explained why Madeleine Stowe couldn't stand John Travolta, but overall it was good. James Cromwell made a great General. ;)
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Cerulean

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Re: Books to Movies
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2007, 10:33:26 am »
I'm quite worried about The Dark is Rising, too. I *love* those books and the preview has me quite concerned. I'll probably go anyway, just because ... but I'm definitely forewarned. And will go at matinée prices :)

Of course LOTR is the best adaptation :) IMO. Other good ones are the Harry Potters. But those are both hugely popular books that people would die if they saw *really* changed. I think one of the worst adaptations I've ever seen was Congo by Michael Crichton. I remember absolutely loving the book - I couldn't put it down. The movie, however, basically switched two of the main character's personalties, added new characters, kept the names of old characters, but not their actual .. character. It was a jumbled mess.
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Collaroy

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Re: Books to Movies
« Reply #4 on: September 07, 2007, 01:02:21 pm »
I just finished reading The Dark is Rising (I saw the trailer and got interested) and it seems that they changed quite a bit. I haven't made my mind up yet about the book, so there's a chance I might prefer the movie.

Better on screen than as a book: "Just Like Heaven". I honestly couldn't stand Marc Levy's book but the movie was alright. Nothing spectacular, but better than the book.

Almost as good as the book: LOTR without any doubt. I really don't believe that we'll ever see a better adaptation. Only things that really bothered me: Rohan didn't look like rolling grassland; the orcs looked too slimy and like something out of older PJ gore movies; and they tried to make Faramir a bad guy at first??? Seriously, that one got me all riled up- Faramir was a truly great hero in the trilogy, and they butchered him for no apparent reason IMO. But apart from that- perfect for me.

Also a very good adaptation: Sense and Sensibility with Emma Thompson.
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Grey Drakkon

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Re: Books to Movies
« Reply #5 on: September 07, 2007, 02:15:33 pm »
Ditto with you on Faramir, I LOVED him in the book, he's the exact opposite of his brother, in other words, not a dick.  In the movie they made him just like his brother. :P
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jackie

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Re: Books to Movies
« Reply #6 on: September 07, 2007, 04:27:28 pm »
Books are books and movies are movies. The demands of the story and how it is told dictates which medium will work better.  Stories can be told in many ways but most of us here probably have a bias towards books.  I know I do.  I know my partner prefers movies. 
I think if you take a story accross media you should expect the details to change - but not the tone or the heart of it.  LOTR is a good example of doing it right.  Elizabeth George's "A Great Deliverance" turned into a TV mini series was not IMO.  George hit some very important but ugly social ills in her book that were totally ignored in the series.  The series wimped out and didn't need to.

Patti L.

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Re: Books to Movies
« Reply #7 on: September 07, 2007, 07:54:23 pm »
Two doorstops that I've never been able to read, but can deal with as movies: LotR & Dune.  Liked the movie 'Postman' with Kevin Costner, but couldn't get into the book.  Most others, I prefer the book to the movie. 
I'll usually suggest, for someone who discovers a story that's in both media that they see the movie first, then read the book.  It often opens the movie up, while perhaps giving a better visual of the people &/or landscape than they'd have without the movie.
Howl's Moving Castle, for instance, started from the book and went off at almost a right angle.  The author liked it, but it wasn't really close to the ending (or causes of certain situations) of her book.  And you couldn't, from what I recall of the movie, follow it up with anything remotely resembling the sequel book she did, 'Castle in the Air'.
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Morgaine0000

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Re: Books to Movies
« Reply #8 on: September 08, 2007, 12:11:55 am »
A lot of people didn't like the SciFi Channel adaptation of Dune(mini-series), but I thought it was good.  Hugely better than most of their movies, in any event.   LOTR was excellent.  Brokeback Mountain was also excellent and followed the short story pretty closely.  Of course, short stories are probably sometimes easier to turn into movies.    I also liked the 1992  version of Last of the Mohicans, which did not follow the book very closely.   It has gorgeous cinematography, btw.    And for scifi, I think Blade Runner is probably one of the most important movies based on books.  Oh, and I liked A Scanner Darkly, also based on Philip Dick story. 

As, for the issue of Hollywood totally making a mess of a book, I think that is always a possibility.  On the other hand, the money paid can make it possible for an author to write full time as happened with Richard K. Morgan (Altered Carbon -- which I highly recommend). 


Grey Drakkon

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Re: Books to Movies
« Reply #9 on: September 08, 2007, 11:19:15 am »
I think that as long as the author manages to stay involved, hollywood can't throw too much crap in there.  I know that there was a long drought of movies involving Neil Gaiman books because he took one look at the script and said no way in hell.  Which I'm very grateful for, because I looked at some of those scripts. (the ones based off the Sandman comics were HORRIBLE)
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Morgaine0000

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Re: Books to Movies
« Reply #10 on: September 08, 2007, 05:44:47 pm »
I think it's pretty common place that authors have no or little   say in what is done after their work is optioned, especially an author who is just starting out.   The amount of money that Hollywood can bring to the table is larger than what authors generally make for the book alone, unless they are someone like Stephen King.   I would never hold a bad movie against an author unless they wrote the script or were a producer.    A lot of genre authors have "day jobs."  If money from Hollywood can allow them to write full time or write what they want, I think its worth it. 

Patti L.

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Re: Books to Movies
« Reply #11 on: September 08, 2007, 06:23:13 pm »
I think it's pretty common place that authors have no or little   say in what is done after their work is optioned, especially an author who is just starting out.   The amount of money that Hollywood can bring to the table is larger than what authors generally make for the book alone, unless they are someone like Stephen King.   I would never hold a bad movie against an author unless they wrote the script or were a producer.    A lot of genre authors have "day jobs."  If money from Hollywood can allow them to write full time or write what they want, I think its worth it. 
This is a perfect lead in, so I'm going to hijack the thread for a moment, gang.  I ran across a few posts in my other SF forum that I thought were very insightful, & the person who wrote them just put up a new thread there where he talks about whether he's a 'real writer'.  One of the things he says is that very few people can make a living at it, even with half a dozen books published.  To show you how good he is, I'm copying his home page address, so you can read some of his shapeshifter story that he's publishing online.  It's worth your attention.
http://home.att.net/~ larrydla/writing.html   :) 
Also, on the subject of authors & how much impact they can or can't have on their work when it's made into a movie, read Dick Francis' book "Wild Horses".
« Last Edit: September 10, 2007, 09:47:15 pm by Patti L. »
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Cerulean

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Re: Books to Movies
« Reply #12 on: September 09, 2007, 09:41:48 am »
I think that the movie adaptations of LOTR were actually better than the books. I may be speaking heresy to some, but I thought they trimmed a lot of the places where Tolkien went on and on and on in places that didn't really have much to do with the story - like Tom Bombadil and the Ent wives.

The Princess Bride is another example of a great book-to-screen version. Well, a book-to-book-to-screen version :)
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jenniwee

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Re: Books to Movies
« Reply #13 on: September 09, 2007, 05:46:15 pm »
I usuaully do asaptations of the classics which tend to be very hit or miss.  They are either spot on or you leave the theater going, "What book were they working from?"  I like most of the Jane Austen adaptations, even when they stray a bit from the text.  I despise all of the Jane Eyre adaptations.  Every once in a while it seems like a producer read the blurb on the back of something and went, oh that sounds like a good plot and then went off and wrote whatever (or had written).

I think the reason that LOTR works so well, is that they actually made the movies long enough to contain the plot.  One of the things that bothers me about several of the HP movies is the amount they cut from the original text.

Collaroy

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Re: Books to Movies
« Reply #14 on: September 10, 2007, 09:41:49 pm »
Ditto with you on Faramir, I LOVED him in the book, he's the exact opposite of his brother, in other words, not a dick.  In the movie they made him just like his brother. :P
I'm also sad they didn't include any scene with Eowyn and Faramir in the Houses of Healing. I do realize that they weren't essential for the plot, but... ah well. Just because they're my favorite LOTR couple doesn't mean everybody else feels that way.

I think the reason that LOTR works so well, is that they actually made the movies long enough to contain the plot.
I agree. I don't know what possessed New Line to give Peter Jackson that kind of a deal (three mega movies instead of just one), because- well, have you seen what kind of movies he had done so far?? If I had been an executive at New Line I would have laughed at him and then have security escort the gentleman off the premises. But I'm really thankful that someone had better judgement than me and gave green light to a project of this magnitude. You can't squeeze LOTR into one movie and hope to make it justice in any way.
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