Your Favourite Work of Fiction: The Movie.

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idle_hans
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Your Favourite Work of Fiction: The Movie.

Postby idle_hans » Sun, 02 Aug 2015 11:09 am

Writers, be they biographers, scribes, poets etc, are deeply passionate about their work, and many draw inspiration from the works and words of others. Devotion to such works can vary, from a casual following to a deep seated feeling that the works of said author/playwright are somehow immutable and resistant to tarnish. Then all of a sudden, one day while browsing your news sites, social media sites or what have you, there's this announcement (please excuse the mad libs).

HOLLYWOOD. In news today (Large wealthy studio) has announced that the movie adaptation of (Your favourite work of fiction) is scheduled to begin production on (some time in the future) to be released in (sometime further in the future). No cast announced as yet but rumours are flying around that (Actor/actress you think might be OK for the role) is to star as (protagonist/villian) and the role of (iconic character) to go to (actor/actress that never in a million years did you consider him or her for the part). Principle photography is to take place in (region of the world that could reasonably pass as the world the story is set in, or failing that, New Zealand) with a lot of the scenes being filmed in (Big Studio lot, either Pinewood Studios, Skywalker Ranch, or Sydney). There is also speculation that (Further meaningless drivel to pad out the article).

What is your response to the Big Announcement that your favourite book/comic/tv show/cartoon is to be a massive, multi-squillion dollar blockbuster? From the people I have spoken to about this subject, there seems to be two kinds of responses:

1. Genuine excitement, much discussion and anticipation of the film, much reading about it as the movie progresses and new announcements are made.

2. Shock and concern, mostly consisting of curling up in a corner somewhere, repeating the phrase "Please don't be terrible, please don't be terrible..."

Your Mileage May Vary of course, depending on the work involved and your fondness for it. But, to this writer at least, the above two examples represent the two main responses to any announcement. Further to that, they don't have to be a epic blockbuster with a budget that exceeds the GDP of Belgium either, with many works of fiction capable of being adapted by smaller studios.

TL:DR. You have just learned that your favourite work of fiction is to become a movie. How do you feel about it? Do you wonder or do you worry? Are you first in the queue at the box office when it's released? Or do you not bother with it? Has there been times when the movie adaptation of your favourite fiction surprised and delighted you? Or do you have some examples of then you were... underwhelmed?

Tell us your story.

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Re: Your Favourite Work of Fiction: The Movie.

Postby William » Sun, 02 Aug 2015 12:56 pm

In my humble opinion movies rarely are as good as the books that inspire them. Anyone who is a reader of Tom Clancy will probably agree with me, although I do admit that his books involve a lot of technical detail and sub-plots that would make the movie far too long if they were included.
As I sit here typing this post, I'm trying to think of an example where a movie has done the book justice, but one eludes me. Maybe someone else can think of one.
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Re: Your Favourite Work of Fiction: The Movie.

Postby Algatress » Mon, 03 Aug 2015 10:45 am

My typical response is two combined with incoherent shrieks of anger mixed with bouts of rage.
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Re: Your Favourite Work of Fiction: The Movie.

Postby Peter McLennan » Mon, 03 Aug 2015 11:29 am

I'd have mixed feelings. Enthusiastically fearful.
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Re: Your Favourite Work of Fiction: The Movie.

Postby Rath Darkblade » Thu, 06 Aug 2015 11:56 pm

As for movies based on books - there is one thing to remember: the movie will never, never, never, never be as good as the book.

It doesn't matter who's making the film, it doesn't matter who's in it, it doesn't matter what IMDB or RottenTomatoes or Siskel and Ebert or [insert name of critic] said. The film will never be as good as the book.

NEVER.

There are two very simple and very good reasons for this:

1. The book's author can take as long as he likes. A book can be 400 pages or 60 pages or 10 pages. Characters can do ABC or XYZ or FAQ or la-di-dah - as long as the publisher allows it (of course), and as long as it makes some kind of sense. (And, in the case of films like Twilight or Fifty Shades, it doesn't even have to make ANY sense - but then, they're based on horrible writing to begin with. Not that THAT stopped the films from being insanely popular, don't know what society's coming to, grumble grumble, complain).

A film obviously cannot take these liberties. A film audience will not sit through hours and hours of film (but then again, see above). Three hours seems to be the maximum, so obviously a lot of cuts have to be made. And if those cuts just happen to be your favourite character or your favourite scene... too bad. And then you come out of the cinema thinking "What the [bleep] was all that about, and why did he cut so-and-so's big scene with who's-her-face, and where did that other scene with what's-his-name come from, rah rah rah", etc. etc., I'm sure you all know the deal.

2. The film will never, EVER be a faithful, line-by-line replication of the book. A book is usually written by one person, or sometimes by a group of people who each contribute a little something.

A film, on the other hand, is a massive undertaking, with sometimes literally hundreds of people working on it to make it a success. Besides all the ones you already know about - director(s), producer(s), writers, actors, cameramen, gaffers, prop-makers, costumiers (i.e. costume designers and tailors), scenery designers and builders... and if you want to have weapons or armour, you need blacksmiths and weaponsmiths and armourers, and if you want to have animals, you need animal handlers. And if you want outdoor shots, you need someone to find the right spot - and if you're doing overhead shots, you need someone to fly the helicopters... and we haven't even mentioned the publicity people, and the marketing and PR people, and the HR people, and the legal people, and the accounting people who make sure all the money's accounted for, and the admin people who shift paper around, and the make-up people, and the poor gophers who do everything from make coffee to waking up the actors... and... and... and... ;)

Somewhere in all this, the director will want to film various scenes and will have an idea in his head about what each scene will look like. The director's idea about scenes will never, ever, be the same as your idea. EVER. But it'll be glitzy and will have lots of shine. So I guess that's okay.

And sometimes, some bits will come out of absolutely nowhere. Has anyone else seen Peter Jackson's "The Hobbit, Part 1" (I forget what the film's actually called)? *blush* In one of the beginning scenes, Thorin - leader of the dwarves - explains about why they're going on the quest in the first place by singing a song about the dwarves and their lost kingdom. The rest of the dwarves join in. This song is actually in the book, which is nice. What happened was this: Peter Jackson wanted to get a professional singer to do this, but the actor who plays the role asked if he could do it. They gave him a try, and it turned out very nicely indeed. :)

Besides... if you want faithful, line-by-line replication of the book, see: theatre plays. *G* Theatre companies have to put on much less lavish productions than you'll get in film, which is obvious because they have much smaller budgets. Some of them are frankly rubbish, but most of them usually manage to put on really good shows with the small budget they have. (And having been involved in theatre for seven years, I should know.) ;)

Anyways. Sorry to go on and on like this, but you did ask... *BWG*
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Re: Your Favourite Work of Fiction: The Movie.

Postby Enzed » Fri, 07 Aug 2015 9:58 am

I love the Lee Child's books - all about Jack Reacher, a 6' 5" ex military cop turned vigilante. Tough man, big fighter, battered face - you get the drift.

When they announced a MOVIE called Reacher I was pretty chuffed and looked forward to it.

Then the worst happened - they cast that scientology idiot Tom whatever-his-name-is as Reacher. You know,the bloke who used to be married to Nicole Kidman (what was she thinking?) You can judge the level of my denial by that pretty boy's surname simply refusing to surface. Plus he's about 5' nothing. Oh dear. The only good thing about him being in that role was that someone told him to talk through closed lips and never smile so at least we were spared the flashing veneers. They must have filmed him standing on a platform to make him look taller - or had the other actors kneel. He was simply ridiculous as Reacher.

Expecting the worst, I waited for the DVD release - I figured there was no rush. I was right, there was no need to rush, although someone I know who has never read the Reacher books thought the movie was simply marvellous. Shudder.

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Re: Your Favourite Work of Fiction: The Movie.

Postby Algatress » Fri, 07 Aug 2015 12:12 pm

I think it's worse when it's blatantly clear no one has ever read the work of fiction that the movie is adapting. An excellent example is of course Jack Reacher. It feels like there's a group of people somewhere who look down a list of book sales and go "Ah! This one's selling well! We'll read the blurb and then claim understanding of the characters, events and world!"

And of course, it'll usually sell well. Because of all the video editing technology these days it's pretty easy to mislead an excited fan with an interesting trailer. And there'll be hordes of people who just hope, just hope that it is half decent.

Then we all walk home realising that we were fools, once again.
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Re: Your Favourite Work of Fiction: The Movie.

Postby DickDeadly » Sat, 08 Aug 2015 10:47 pm

I guess the best example of a novel, or novels, being made into movies is the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I think, If I heard my favourite novel was going to be made into a movie and Peter Jackson was involved, I'd be pretty happy. There have been some pretty decent dramatisations of Terry Pratchett's work too.

On the topic of Tom Cruise. To be fair, the only reason Nicole Kidman became well known overseas was because of her marriage to him. I'm not a fan of TC, but if push came to shove, I'd rather watch one of his films than one of hers. At least he can act.

That's my opinion anyway :? You now what they say about opinions :lol:
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Re: Your Favourite Work of Fiction: The Movie.

Postby Enzed » Sat, 08 Aug 2015 11:43 pm

DickDeadly wrote:I guess the best example of a novel, or novels, being made into movies is the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I think, If I heard my favourite novel was going to be made into a movie and Peter Jackson was involved, I'd be pretty happy. There have been some pretty decent dramatisations of Terry Pratchett's work too.

On the topic of Tom Cruise. To be fair, the only reason Nicole Kidman became well known overseas was because of her marriage to him. I'm not a fan of TC, but if push came to shove, I'd rather watch one of his films than one of hers. At least he can act.

That's my opinion anyway :? You now what they say about opinions :lol:


Oh yeah, Cruise - that's the name I was way too traumatised to recall. :o
If they cast him again, without the fake smile and with a new dentist I might be persuaded. *)

Two of the best have to be THE ENGLISH PATIENT and OUT OF AFRICA. Both wonderful movies, true to the books. A real treat.


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