A Writer's Journey

August 20, 2012

Movie Adaptations

Filed under: journey,off topic,writing — mackenziew @ 12:00 am
Tags: , , , , ,

So, 50 Shades of Grey is going to be a movie. And Ron Moore is signed on to turn Diana Gabaldon’s “Outlander” into a mini series. It seems when we like a book, we want it turned into a movie. But then we complain when it does! So, why do we still get excited?

Because we like anticipation! Seriously, I think that’s the reason. Look how excited everyone is trying to cast 50 Shades of Grey. And I know the Outlander fans have been trying to cast it for years! Personally, my dream cast is thus: Allan Scott-Douglas as Jamie, Anna Friel as Claire, and Jason Isaac as Frank/Black Jack. I’m certain others have theirs. Don’t pretend you haven’t done the same when you’ve heard about a project.

A sampling of movies I own that started out as books.

So, why do we complain? Well, not all of us complain. Some of us like the adaptations. I myself enjoyed the Harry Potter adaptations, ranking Prisoner of Azkaban and Half-Blood Prince as the most faithful to the books. I also enjoyed the adaptations of Lord of the Rings and Bridge to Terabitha. But those who complain are louder. They seem to be nitpicking to…well…nitpick. Now, it’s not to say they never have valid points. Sometimes, they do.

Let’s take the American Girl series. The company finally turned their books into made-for-TV movies, starting with Samantha. She was the first girl I read when I was introduced to the series and I enjoyed the movie. The following year, they made the Felicity movie. I was a little apprehensive as she is my favorite American Girl still. But the movie was faithful to the books (even if they changed a few things around, like her grandfather’s death) and was excellent. So I was excited for Molly’s movie.

Now, let me say one thing: The Molly adaptation isn’t the worst by far. (I haven’t yet forgiven the Liam Neeson/Geoffrey Rush/Uma Thurman/Claire Danes version of “Les Miserables” for eliminating Eponine). It does stay true to the spirit if not the letter of the series. Emily’s expanded role did bother me a bit as I feel they stretched a one book plot out to its breaking point. And they left out a few good plots. What really annoys me is how the ignore the ending of the sixth book.

(Spoiler warnings)

I get the fact Molly’s hard work to be Miss Victory was one of the movie’s arcs. And it isn’t great when in the end, she doesn’t get to be it. But that’s how it goes in the book. In it, everything turns out for the best. Molly, being home alone, is the first person to see her father once he returns from the war. Yes, she does this in the movie as well, but it’s more poignant in the books. At least, that’s my opinion.

(Also, while the actress looked incredibly like Molly in the book illustrations, she wasn’t the greatest actor. Especially not after following AnnaSophia Robb and Shailene Woodley as Samantha and Felicity, respectively).

Does it seem a small nitpick? Yes, but that’s what we do. We nitpick. Why? Because we love the book so much and anything put on screen has to conflict with the scenes we’ve imagined. And frankly, we enjoy our imagination more. The characters look how we want them to. I know that no matter who is cast to play Jamie, there will be upset fans. Whoever is chosen will never compete with the Jamie in their minds because in there, he is whatever they find sexy.

Not to say all casting will never exceed readers’ expectations. Look at the Harry Potter movies. The adult casting was pretty much spot-on. Dame Maggie Smith as Professor McGonagall? Alan Rickman as Professor Snape? Jason Isaacs as Lucius Malfoy? And it boggles me that Helena Bonham Carter wasn’t their first choice to play Bellatrix.

So we can be pleased. Remember that when it seems we’re nitpicking. It’s only out of love we do so.

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