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book to film adaptions
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jimmyfenn
Rohan


Jun 14 2013, 8:34pm

Post #1 of 37 (329 views)
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book to film adaptions Can't Post

so most of the time the book is miles better than the movie adaption, not always but most of the time.

some that come to mind fo rme books better than film- lotr, hobbit,jurrasic park,i am legend.

some films better than the book - the shining,do androids dream/blade runner

considering that there are so many bad adaptions, should we have to settle with the argument that just because its a film, it has to be different for filmic reasons?

"You Tolkien to me?!" - Hobbit de Niro


CuriousG
Valinor


Jun 14 2013, 8:50pm

Post #2 of 37 (223 views)
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Maybe one reason [In reply to] Can't Post

Is when we read a book, we imagine things played out in our mind like a movie. When we watch a movie, I don't think we ever sit in a theater thinking, "This is how it would be if I were reading it in print." So books give us an expectation of what a movie should be because we've already processed our own internal movie of it, and we're disappointed when our inner movie doesn't match the public one. I think that's a big reason.

And you're right that sometimes things just have to be different in a film since it's a film.

But I also find that movies will inexplicably do stupid things not done in books. Very, very often. As just one of many examples, I'm reminded of John Grisham's The Firm. There's a big buildup to a big legal blowup in the climax that will shatter the mob and the evil law firm, and what does the movie do with the climax? They water the whole thing down to just a little mail fraud, ignoring all the murders and corruption and everything else. Mail fraud. Hurray, the good guys protected the sanctity of the postal service. Just plain dumb as far as story-telling goes. Doing silly things that rip out the guts of story-telling happens remarkably often in movies made from books with good stories that isn't related to the nature of films.


Magpie
Immortal


Jun 14 2013, 8:57pm

Post #3 of 37 (226 views)
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I'm not sure I'm following [In reply to] Can't Post

first you talk about how books are better than their respective movies or movies are better than their respective books.

then you talk about different.

I don't think the two - better/worse and different - necessarily equate. A movie can be different and better or different and worse than its book.

One could have a real life event. It might be told in lots of ways:

newspaper report
magazine in depth article
first hand accounts
non-fiction book
documentary
sticking mostly to facts movie
taking liberties with facts movie
theatrical play - drama
theatrical play - musical

All of those could be better or worse than any other and the reasons can't be because they're 'different' because they have to be different. A play cannot read like a newspaper article and it can't be a documentary.

Adapting anything to a new medium has to change it. One can debate how many changes and how well those changes worked but I don't think we can say that somehow we have to 'settle' with 'just because it's a film it has to be different'.

It *has* to be different. That's pretty much a given. Even authors of books that see their books turned into movies will tell you that.

If I missed your point, perhaps reframing your question would give me a better sense of what you're asking.


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jimmyfenn
Rohan


Jun 14 2013, 9:00pm

Post #4 of 37 (223 views)
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here [In reply to] Can't Post

considering that there are so many bad book adaptions, should we have to settle with the argument that just because its a film, it has to be different for filmic reasons?

"You Tolkien to me?!" - Hobbit de Niro


Darkstone
Immortal


Jun 14 2013, 9:11pm

Post #5 of 37 (215 views)
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Well [In reply to] Can't Post

The reason there are so many bad book adaptations is because there are so many bad movies.

You may want to read John Irving's book My Movie Business which details his long attempt to turn his own book, Cider House Rules, into a screenplay. What seemed so simple turned out to be very hard. He ended up having to change a lot of things to bring the book to the screen.

******************************************
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Bregalad: "Are you kidding? Scott fell last week and he hasn't shut up about it since!"


Magpie
Immortal


Jun 14 2013, 9:19pm

Post #6 of 37 (212 views)
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okay... I might have it [In reply to] Can't Post

Are you saying that all the bad book adaptations were because the movies tried to be too much like the book so that might mean that movies have to be different or the movie has no chance of being a good adaptation?


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bborchar
Rohan


Jun 14 2013, 9:22pm

Post #7 of 37 (204 views)
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True... [In reply to] Can't Post

Even Stephen King said that the movie version of The Shining was much better than his book. It can happen when a different medium pares down a story to its core and rebuilds it after seeing what fits and what doesn't. But if you focus on the details, you often lose the story. I can name many plays, operas, musicals and movies that I actually prefer to the books- just as I can name many books that were way better than their adaptations.


"Go on. Walk on. You must be destroyed."

"Good boy! That's the spirit! Bring my miserable line to an end. Up, up! Come, Scientist, destroy me! Destroy your creation! Come!"

~Frankenstein


(This post was edited by bborchar on Jun 14 2013, 9:25pm)


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Jun 14 2013, 9:27pm

Post #8 of 37 (206 views)
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"Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" vs. "Bladerunner" [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
some films better than the book - the shining,do androids dream/blade runner



In the case of Bladerunner, I would say that the film and the book (Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?) work well as stand-alone works. I would not presume to say that the film is better than the book it was based on. One can argue about which version of Bladerunner is the best one though.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


jimmyfenn
Rohan


Jun 14 2013, 9:34pm

Post #9 of 37 (201 views)
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yes [In reply to] Can't Post

thats a whole different discussion, but im sure you understand my point.

"You Tolkien to me?!" - Hobbit de Niro


Magpie
Immortal


Jun 14 2013, 10:01pm

Post #10 of 37 (211 views)
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for me, it's the variety that makes things richer in my eyes [In reply to] Can't Post

and dang, I left off 'song' as a medium for storytelling. Like The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

I don't like out and out wasting my time on crap and I don't appreciate something that seems to totally miss the mark on the heart of a story.

But I can tolerate a lot of 'bad' till I get to that point of getting pissed off or annoyed.

Mostly, every adaptation or retelling of a previously told story helps deepen the heart of that story for me and that includes the so-so and not so good adaptions.

Every storyteller brings a little something different to the table and each will see and retell the story from a different perspective. Every time I encounter a new perspective or angle, it makes me see the story in a new way. Sometimes I don't like or agree with the angle but nine times out of ten, those things I don't like help me understand what I do like and appreciate on a deeper level so I can be grateful for that.

I think this hearkens back to my love of myth and legend and folktale. These are stories that are not codified and are meant to change with the times, the circumstances, the events, and storyteller.

I also was greatly influenced by a book I read by Bruno Bettelheim's book, The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales. Now Bettelheim is a controversial person and I don't agree with everything he did or believed. But he talked about how - when stories are told - each storyteller will bring something to it that makes it unique. And when parents tell stories to their children (whether ones told for centuries by others or completely made up in their head) then they bring to those stories things the parent things the child needs to hear. The stories get tailored by the storyteller for the listener.

What I took from that was the awareness of the essence of storytelling. One is not bringing anything unique to a book on Cinderella one reads to a child. But when one knows the story of Cinderella and retells it, it becomes a unique experience.

I love books and I am not saying there is no place for codified stories. But not all stories need to be codified and even codified stories can be changed and adapted and as long as one realizes that one is watching or hearing or reading ThisPerson's version of ThatAuthor's codfified story, then no real harm is done. Seeing the story through the eyes of another might bring out whole new aspects. That happens when we discuss things together here and I get to see a scene or a passage through another person's perspective.

And, if worse comes to worse and I hate it, then I often go, ... I didn't like that because X ... and now I better understand what was valuable in the story that is important to me. (This is what I was referring to in the thread on feedback when I said that discussing what one doesn't like can serve a purpose. Continual and repeated venting, however, never seemed that productive to me)

In order to think like I do, one has to be ready to accept that the story is as important as the author. We all love Tolkien. Seriously. Even the people who loved the movies and even the people who kind of liked them and even the people who didn't like them so much but don't care to go on and on about it or challenge people who did like them. We all LOVE Tolkien.

And I think the stories of Middle-earth were a remarkable creation by a remarkable man. I would never want to separate the stories from the man in our hearts.

But I love the stories and even Tolkien called himself a sub-creator... creating something important to him. I never get a sense from what I read about him that any effort he put into the stories or any challenge he made about the stories were about elevating him in importance. They were all about elevating the stories.

Some might say this means that they must remain codified and never changed in any manner. But they were only codified by virtue of being published and even then, changed with new publications. And he was hoping to create a form of mythic storytelling. Myths are retold.

The story is a story and it can be told in many way without ever diluting or harming the original telling of it. And I think, even with the bad tellings of it or the bad choices made in a mediocre or good tellings of it, we can only grow to love the story more.

If I go to a restaurant and have a bad steak, my love of steak is not diminished. I just don't go to that restaurant anymore. :-)

(and this is just my mind drifting off what you said, bborchar.. not disagreeing with you in any way)


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bborchar
Rohan


Jun 14 2013, 10:25pm

Post #11 of 37 (191 views)
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Perfect way to phrase it :D [In reply to] Can't Post

No artist works without inspiration. We are all copying something we see, hear, touch, smell, taste and dream. I love retellings of stories, because it makes them new and exciting again. Occasionally, there's a retelling I don't like, but on the whole, I love making old things new again. Some examples of my favorites in no particular order:

1. Les MisÚrables- loved the book (well, the abridged version, although I have read the unabridged). I absolutely love the stage play. I haven't really liked any of the movies until the past version...and while it has its problems, overall, I liked it.

2. Frankenstein- loved the book, and I've finally found a version of it that I absolutely love in Danny Boyle's Frankenstein. Just amazing. I think I actually like it more than the book, really. A lot of steampunk influence, but nothing stupid. The end just blew me away.

3. Pride and Prejudice- great book, and a great mini-series made in 1995. I watched it a lot.

4. The Marriage of Figaro and The Barber of Seville- both were originally plays by Beaumarchais, then turned into operas by Mozart and Rossini respectively. They are still played with regularity today, while the plays hardly ever. And the music from both pervades modern culture in movies, commercials, cartoons, everything. Everyone knows "Figaroooo, Figarooo"...but very few know that it is actually from The Barber of Seville and not The Marriage of Figaro.

5. Sherlock Holmes- probably obvious that I like it, but I've loved Holmes since reading "The Adventure of The Red Headed League" in middle school. I've watched period versions, action movie versions and modern versions. And out of all of them, I really like the new "Sherlock" the best. Why? It changes things but keeps them the same. It has reimagined Sherlock Holmes and made him more accessible than ever.

I am always looking for something new and exciting- it's even more exciting when something I love is made into something new.


"Go on. Walk on. You must be destroyed."

"Good boy! That's the spirit! Bring my miserable line to an end. Up, up! Come, Scientist, destroy me! Destroy your creation! Come!"

~Frankenstein


Brethil
Half-elven


Jun 14 2013, 10:59pm

Post #12 of 37 (186 views)
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Thanks Magpie. Wonderful post! [In reply to] Can't Post

I loved reading this so much I read it twice. You out it all clearly and expressed what I feel often when confronted with adaptation of works that I love, particularly JRRT: codifying and desiring to 'embalm' them (something JRRT himself refers to the failure of the Elves as) would take away from their ability to grow. And I do love the man's work: but this side idolatry!

Agree entirely too, Bborchar, at how wonderful it is that Holmes lives on through gifted interpretations.

Angelic

Manwe, when asked a simple "Yes" or "No" question, contemplated, and responded "the middle one."


Rosie-with-the-ribbons
Forum Admin / Moderator


Jun 15 2013, 11:31am

Post #13 of 37 (172 views)
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No, not really [In reply to] Can't Post

There has already been said a lot on this topic here. What I somewhat missed is interpretation people give to stories.

I had to give a presentation at school last year and I did use Tolkien and the LOTR-films from Peter Jackson. I used the description of Rohan: "The green plains of Rohan". Nothing more than that. And I started asking around, what do you see when you read this? To friends, people here, people on Facebook. And all came with the description of the green parts in their country. But I grew up in The Netherlands, so for me it is really flat with cows. A friend from Germany grew up in the rolling part towards the mountains, she described those rolling hills with green grass. People from the Great Plains in the USA, they described a much more "yellow" kind of green with endless plains. And so on. And that is just one sentence that makes such a difference from what you see in the movie and what you might have had in your head.

And that is what is so hard about making a movie that comes from a book. People who have read it all have a different image in their mind for the characters, environments, the way people speak. Especially characters, how hard is it to have a certain image in your mind and all of a sudden there is somebody completely different there?

And probably the director had that other image in his mind and followed his interpretation.
Does that mean it is a bad movie? No. But it is a very different movie than what you might have envisioned before you saw it.

And of course movies is such a different medium from books. The way you can engage people in a book is so different. You take the time to read a book. You get acquainted with the characters, go on an adventure with them. A movie has to be done in 2 hours and has to tell the entire story that took you days or even weeks to read in those two hours. And a book can have a much more specific audience. You can be pretty sure the people who read the book like to read, otherwise they wouldn't have picked up the book and started reading. The movie-audience is much broader, has to please so many more people, because otherwise it won't make the money that is needed to repay all the costs that have been made. And in a much smaller amount of time than the book sales.

All in all, two very different mediums, that are hard to put next to each other to make a comparison.



jimmyfenn
Rohan


Jun 15 2013, 11:38am

Post #14 of 37 (168 views)
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visuals yes. [In reply to] Can't Post

visual interpretation of course i agree, plots lines in books though are pretty clearly written out.

for a perfect example, the end of i am legend from the film to the book is an absolute desecration of story and the whole point of the book!

this happens time and time again in movies, for the only reason that it will apparently appeal to a wider audience! why buy the rights to a story if your gonna change it?

"You Tolkien to me?!" - Hobbit de Niro


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Jun 15 2013, 11:42am

Post #15 of 37 (157 views)
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The Three Musketeers [In reply to] Can't Post

No film adaptation of Dumas' The Three Musketeers has ever fully captured the nuances of the novel. My favorite film version probably came the closest: The two-part adaptation The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers directed by Richard Lester. I cannot abide the most recent version with its steampunk elements (airship anyone?).

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


bborchar
Rohan


Jun 15 2013, 2:21pm

Post #16 of 37 (149 views)
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Absolutlely loved that book... [In reply to] Can't Post

...and nothing I've seen even comes close to how awesome it is. Half the time the movies don't even have all four musketeers (but there's three in the title!). Steampunk is fine if you use it in a way that works (I would have never thought steampunk would work in Frankenstein, but oh god, did it ever). But The Three Musketeers, for some reason, is never made to be funny- even though it's laugh-out-loud reading. But at least the movies can get people to read the books :)

Train from the recent play of Frankenstein:




"Go on. Walk on. You must be destroyed."

"Good boy! That's the spirit! Bring my miserable line to an end. Up, up! Come, Scientist, destroy me! Destroy your creation! Come!"

~Frankenstein


(This post was edited by bborchar on Jun 15 2013, 2:24pm)


Starling
Half-elven


Jun 15 2013, 8:01pm

Post #17 of 37 (134 views)
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Lester's The Three Musketeers [In reply to] Can't Post

is one of the first films I remember seeing on the big screen with my family. (I would have been about 7 years old.) We went on another family outing to see The Four Musketeers when that was released.
I was totally in love with Oliver Reed. Cool
I recently watched both The Three Musketeers and The Four Musketeers on dvd, and enjoyed them very much.
I haven't read the book so I can't make any comparisons there.


Otaku-sempai
Half-elven


Jun 15 2013, 8:05pm

Post #18 of 37 (139 views)
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More on musketeers [In reply to] Can't Post


In Reply To
I haven't read the book so I can't make any comparisons there.



I first read The Three Musketeers when I was in fourth grade; I enjoyed it immensely, but some of the more adult content went over my head until I was a bit older.

'There are older and fouler things than Orcs in the deep places of the world.' - Gandalf the Grey, The Fellowship of the Ring


RosieLass
Valinor


Jun 15 2013, 9:52pm

Post #19 of 37 (140 views)
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"I was totally in love with Oliver Reed." [In reply to] Can't Post

You and me both!

The funny thing about The Three Musketeers, though, is that I tried to read it again fairly recently (read it first in high school), and I could not get through it. They were all like ill-behaved teenagers, and I just wanted to slap them all.

"BOTH [political] extremes are dangerous. But more dangerous are team fanboys who think all the extremists are on the OTHER side." (CNN reader comment)

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Starling
Half-elven


Jun 15 2013, 10:57pm

Post #20 of 37 (130 views)
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Did you know that Oliver Reed [In reply to] Can't Post

had a dangerous reputation with his sword during filming? He was already famous for his fondness for drinking, and would often be drunk on set. Oliver Reed + a lot of booze on board + a sword + total commitment to the scene = run for your life!
Hellraisers is a really interesting portrait of a bunch of talented actors, who led fascinating but also tragic lives. Their drinking led to a lot of hilarity but also to a terrible amount of destruction.


Magpie
Immortal


Jun 15 2013, 11:05pm

Post #21 of 37 (124 views)
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It was Michael York all the way, for me. [In reply to] Can't Post

I have not tried to reread the books since high school (when I quite enjoyed them). So many books.. I tend not to reread them. Tolkien, Harry Potter, and a personal favorite of mine, War for the Oaks, are just about the only exception.


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Starling
Half-elven


Jun 15 2013, 11:12pm

Post #22 of 37 (119 views)
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I will admit [In reply to] Can't Post

to being quite keen on Michael York as well. But I just couldn't resist the badness of Oliver Reed. Wink


Magpie
Immortal


Jun 15 2013, 11:18pm

Post #23 of 37 (116 views)
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I had seen Michael York in Romeo and Juliet [In reply to] Can't Post

where he got noticed by me, as well.

I actually saw him a few years back in a production of Camelot and I should have held onto the dream of that youth. He's aged. (not that I haven't, as well but I am in quiet denial most of the time) and he wasn't that good of an actor in that play. :-)


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Starling
Half-elven


Jun 15 2013, 11:32pm

Post #24 of 37 (122 views)
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I had wondered whether [In reply to] Can't Post

the Musketeers films were his career high.
It's the most awful cold, wet Sunday here. Once I have finished my school work, The Three Musketeers might just make its way onto my screen for an afternoon treat. Smile


Moahunter
Rohan


Jun 16 2013, 2:42am

Post #25 of 37 (120 views)
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Here is an apposite page on Abebooks [In reply to] Can't Post

http://www.abebooks.com/..._-01cta&abersp=1

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