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Movies based on books suck! (Nothing new, really...)
lastcall at 4:41PM, Dec. 8, 2007
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Maybe it's just me, but I'm tired of going to sucky movies nowadays. I've walked out of the movie theatre twice because the movie was so sucky and disjointed. I walked out on Eragon and today, I walked out in the middle of The Golden Compass. The editing was so terrible and choppy, I couldn't follow the story at all. Maybe it's just because both movies are based on books, and they simply can't manage to fit the entire book into two hours. They try, but come on–a scene that lasts five seconds?!? (seriously, there was a scene in The Golden Compass that lasted that long. I counted.) The editors can try harder than that. If they think we have no attention span and will be content with pretty special effects and that's it, well…they're wrong. Although, the bratty, sneezing, talkative kid behind me seemed to be quite content with it.

I've decided to stay with my movies on iTunes and my DVD collection, and stay out of the movie theaters for good. Because really–is it worth paying $9 to $10 a pop to listen to someone behind you talking the whole time, crunching on popcorn, whacking their shoes on your seat behind you, your feet planted to a sticky floor, taking a chance on a movie you may or may not like?
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
Ziffy88 at 6:07PM, Dec. 8, 2007
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What you don't like Godfather, Die Hard, Dr. Strangelove, and a bunch of other movies.
know what the movie The Greatest Story Ever Told wasn't all that
last edited on July 14, 2011 5:01PM
Steely Gaze at 3:38AM, Dec. 9, 2007
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For the most part I agree; I even disliked the Lord of the Rings movies while everyone else loved them. But I look at it this way, firstly I examine a movie based on a book as a separate entity. Maybe I'll pretend the book doesn't exist. What do I think of it then? Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't. And then I compare the movie to its source material (if I've read it) and ask myself the same question. I usually don't like it.

The big exception for me was Remo Williams, a movie people either love or hate based on a line of action\adventure novels. I love it, even though it doesn't follow the books in any way.

It all depends on the work put into it and what your expectations are going in, at least in my opinion.
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last edited on July 14, 2011 3:57PM
LIZARD_B1TE at 6:12AM, Dec. 9, 2007
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*coughStewartLittlecough*
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:37PM
ozoneocean at 6:52AM, Dec. 9, 2007
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What if you hadn't seen the book first? :)
How much is unfulfilled expectation and how much is just genuine crappy film making?

I liked Conan the Barbarian… I've since read a Conan short story or two by Howard, as well as some of his other stories, and I think the Conan films were ok adoptions.

Total Recall is an ok adapt ion of the original short story. It tells a different story, but it works well.

(OMG two ah-nold films…)

I loved The Razor's Edge (with Bill Murray), but have yet to read the novel by Maugham, I know there are differences but that doesn't make it less of a movie.

…But then, I had read The Lord of The Rings, and I didn't like the second film. Too Hollywood. So there you go. Maybe us readers are just too picky? ^_^
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
lastcall at 6:58AM, Dec. 9, 2007
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ozoneocean
What if you hadn't seen the book first? :)
How much is unfulfilled expectation and how much is just genuine crappy film making?

That was my problem with Golden Compass. I'd never read the book, so I had no idea what the story was. But the editing was so choppy, I had no idea what I was looking at. It was as if they were trying to cram every chapter into two hours, even if that meant chopping a scene down to five seconds. Not cool.

There were some neat ideas–like instead of having a soul within you, your soul walks beside you in animal form–so I might read the book trilogy. But I really should have read the books before going to see the movie.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
bongotezz at 11:12AM, Dec. 9, 2007
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i read a lot of conan both novels and comics. the first movie was good the second one was lacking. it didn't feel like conan to me. i liked the movie for interview with the vampire. it was a close adaptation of the book. i was surprised that i liked it too because i dont care for tom cruise or brad pit. it just worked for me. i've heard from people who read starship troopers that the movie wasn't so good but i liked it.
last edited on July 14, 2011 11:32AM
ocelott at 11:17AM, Dec. 9, 2007
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For the most part, I highly agree. Books and movies are very, very different mediums, and a story that works beautifully as a novel doesn't always translate to the screen very well. (And sometimes, the people making the movie seem to miss the point of the story altogether…)

There are a very few exceptions to movies I actually liked that were based on books. (As an avid reader, I almost always have read the book first, so that might be part of it.) I thought The Green Mile based on the Stephen King novel was really well done, and Stardust was even better as a movie than as a book, imo. These are the exceptions, though, and often the movies based on books are rather painful experiences.

That being said, I know it doesn't stop me from going to see them. Either I'm a glutton for punishment, or I keep holding out hope that this time it'll be differet, this time it'll be a good adaptation…
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:20PM
usedbooks at 11:24AM, Dec. 9, 2007
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If I read the book first, I never like the movie.

If I see the movie first, it's usually pretty good. (A few exceptions… Sphere, for one.) I love The Princess Bride, both movie and book. I saw the movie first. I think I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much if I read the book first.

I do like many adaptations of A Christmas Carol, though. That book is very short, so making a movie from it requires very little sacrifice of the original story. The one with Patrick Stewart was the most true to the book, imo. (But the one with the Muppets is my favorite.)
last edited on July 14, 2011 4:37PM
lastcall at 12:08PM, Dec. 9, 2007
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usedbooks
I love The Princess Bride, both movie and book. I saw the movie first. I think I wouldn't have enjoyed it as much if I read the book first.

Ooh, I forgot about that one. Bride is my favorite movie, and the book is awesome too. Both are equally enjoyable. …So I stand corrected. :)
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
Fenn at 12:20PM, Dec. 9, 2007
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Speaking of Stephen King adaptations… The Shawshank Redemption is a fantastic movie, as were Stand By Me and Misery. Not everything works well as a movie, but I don't think you can just make a sweeping generalization that every book to movie adaptation is horrible.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:26PM
Ziffy88 at 12:53PM, Dec. 9, 2007
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Like I said Godfather was a great movie and it's based on a book
last edited on July 14, 2011 5:01PM
Nyx at 1:11PM, Dec. 9, 2007
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Aw dammit I knew they were going to wreck The Golden Compass

It seems like nowadays it's a death sentence to watch a movie without reading the book first. Or so I've heard about the Harry Potter movies atleast.
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:19PM
Sysli at 4:08PM, Dec. 9, 2007
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Well, here we go, better join in.

Saying that -all- films based on books are bad is a bit harsh. There's been some really bad ones and there's been some great ones and there's a whole hell of a lot in between.

And when you make a movie based on a book then there's many things that can go wrong. They can stray too far from the original and offend the fans. But there lies the “secret” of the words “based on”. If something is “based on” something, then it's allowed to stray further than if it claims to be a pureblood movie-version. But that's just my opinion.
They can, to set up a paradox, also stay too close to the original. Sometimes you have a book that does something movies just can't. Then it's better to rework than follow the book mecanically. I'll not elaborate riht here and now, but I'm sure we can all think of something that just wouldn't work in a filmed medium.

I had more points here, but I forgot them. And people most likely doesn't care too much to hear me talk about that anyway.

Now, I'll pull up an -old- thing that's been made into a great movie. I'm talking about “Bladerunner”, based opun the book “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” by Philip K. Dick, an interesting sci-fi story by the way.
The movie is quite different from the book. The persons are there, but some have undergone changes and appear different than in the book. Some parts are missing, or just mentioned fleetingly, and some have been elaborated. But most people still agree that it's a very good movie. Maybe because many haven't read the book, I don't know, maybe it's just because the remaining story is still solid and there were changes made to improve the story being told, instead of just tryin to cram it all in to satisfy the fans.

I could dig up more things I think worked out quite nicely, but I'll just skip ahed and jot down some thoughts about The Golden Compass. I've read the translated version many years ago, so I knew the plot more or less, so that may have affected my opinion.
I though it was a lovely movie. Sure, there were parts missing, but most were cut for a good reason. The finer details aren't really that important. It was just a case of the dreaded “Tom Bombadil” discussion over again in my humble opinion. (and if anybody needs to know: I was GLAD he wasn't in that movie, it was long enough as it was!)
The ending didn't seem very sudden to me. Not as sudden as it could have been and not at all as sudden as it would have been if they'd gone for a 100% faithul adaption. But I'll not mention another word about endings, I wouldn't want to spoil anything for anybody and I've forgotten how to make the black feild of non-spoilerness.

I'm not saying it was the bestest movie evaaar, but I don't think it's as bad as people make it. It may demand a bit more attention from people to understand some details, but that's not a bad thing. It may demand that the ones who have read the books forget their damned must!be!like!the!book!word!for!word! attitudes and enjoy the story once again, but if they can't then it's a bit sad, because it'll never be just like they imagined it unless they've made the movie (and then there'll probably be changes too).

The key, I think, is to stop hoping it'll be like inside your head and just accept that somebody else saw it another way. And if that another way happens to be very very not like the book and all that's the same is the names and the places, then it's just a bad movie. And you really haven't suffered from seeing it, because then you've got something to complian about.

After I started seeing things that way I've enjoyed movies a lot more. I think it's sad if people stay away just because things may not be good. Giving things a chance is fun and sometimes you get surprised and find something you thought was bad really isn't.

And now I've probably bored you all to death. Sorry.
Because I may as well show a bit of pride. ^___^

last edited on July 14, 2011 4:05PM
Steely Gaze at 4:51PM, Dec. 9, 2007
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Sysli
Said a lot of things.

Sorry, but you did bore us to death, even if I agree with most of what you said. :)

I still think it's all a matter of perception, and this applies even if it isn't a movie based on a book. I mean, if you go into something expecting something else, what could possibly happen other than disappointment? I'm not going to repeat myself here, I just wanted to say you made some good points Sysli.
A Roll of the Dice now with full-size pages!

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last edited on July 14, 2011 3:57PM
Hawk at 7:31PM, Dec. 9, 2007
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Princess Bride, Green Mile… those are some good ones. I also thought Of Mice and Men made a pretty good transition to movie. But then, it was a short book.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:46PM
Ziffy88 at 8:04PM, Dec. 9, 2007
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oh yeah I forgot the Princess Bride was a book
last edited on July 14, 2011 5:01PM
Fenn at 10:48PM, Dec. 9, 2007
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oh yeah I forgot the Princess Bride was a book
Dude! How could you forget that… the book was in the movie! lol!

{just kidding)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:26PM
lastcall at 3:34AM, Dec. 10, 2007
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Ziffy88
oh yeah I forgot the Princess Bride was a book
Dude! How could you forget that… the book was in the movie! lol!

{just kidding)

And Columbo too. And Andre the Giant.

….I tried so hard to find a guy who could do this for my wedding:


last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
ozoneocean at 3:51AM, Dec. 10, 2007
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Ah, the late Peter Cook… :(

A master. A Genius.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
DAJB at 4:39AM, Dec. 10, 2007
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Okay, so Hollywood doesn't always do justice to the source material … but then there are:

The Lord of the Rings.
Gone With the Wind.
The Godfather.
The Wizard of Oz.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest.
To Kill a Mockingbird.
M.A.S.H.
Catch 22.
Wuthering Heights.
Blade Runner.

To name but a few …
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
ozoneocean at 8:34AM, Dec. 10, 2007
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DAJB
The Lord of the Rings.
Hmm, a few of us disagree there…
DAJB
Wuthering Heights.
the old one? I dunno… I like the Kate Bush version myself, making it a song was masterful lol!

It's not just Hollywood though. I loved Cold Comfort Farm. I didn't read the book till after seeing the film but it impressed me that much that I wanted to read the book.

After reading the book, I still love the film. Both were good.
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
Steely Gaze at 12:30PM, Dec. 10, 2007
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DAJB
…Catch 22…

Really? You liked the movie? Are we talking about the same one here, from 1970 with Alan Arkin? Okay, in that case I suppose I may in the minority here.

Also, I have to agree with Ozoneocean in that sometimes watching a movie can make you want to read the book. Occasionally doing this has even changed my perception of the movie.
A Roll of the Dice now with full-size pages!

John Clyde now with ten times the tacky Hawaiian shirts!
last edited on July 14, 2011 3:57PM
Fenn at 1:49PM, Dec. 10, 2007
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lastcall
….I tried so hard to find a guy who could do this for my wedding:


Some friends of mine actually did convince the clergyman to do that at their wedding (just the first bit of it, not the whole ceremony). It's their favorite movie, and was a surprise for everyone else, so it was hilarious.

Unfortunately, they've since gotten divorced.
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:26PM
isukun at 2:23PM, Dec. 10, 2007
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There are just too many movies based on books for any blanket statement about the quality of such films to hold. One might argue that books are generally better than their movie adaptations since movies have a more limited structure, limiting the amount of information a single film can present. This doesn't make film adaptations necessarily bad, though, just shorter and more to the point. There are also a number of cases where film adaptations can actually be superior to their literary roots. Shrek might be a good example for most of a book that wasn't all that interesting making a fairly enjoyable story as a movie.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM
ozoneocean at 2:36PM, Dec. 10, 2007
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Birdy was a much better film than a book. MUCH better.
In that case I actually read the book first.
Great film ^_^

For Wargames, both the film and book were just as good as each other.
…but I can't remember if that was an original novel or a novelisation?

The TV adaption of the Triffids was perfectly ok…
heh, it's fun thinking up theatrical adaptions!
 
last edited on July 14, 2011 2:29PM
DAJB at 11:41PM, Dec. 10, 2007
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Steely Gaze
DAJB
…Catch 22…
Really? You liked the movie? Are we talking about the same one here, from 1970 with Alan Arkin? Okay, in that case I suppose I may in the minority here.
Yup. When I first saw it, I wasn't too impressed. It was probably too soon after I'd read the book and Alan Arkin's mumbling annoyed me.

Every time I've seen it since, however, I've liked it more and I've grown to see why it's regarded as a bit of a classic in its own right. In terms of showing the insanity of war, it's right up there with M.A.S.H. and Apocalypse Now. (Although very different from the last one, obviously!)
last edited on July 14, 2011 12:03PM
mechanical_lullaby at 12:53AM, Dec. 11, 2007
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What it comes down to is the fact that you should be able to watch a movie as a movie(not thinking of the book) and treat it like a movie. Books is separate, of course.
*cough Harry Potter cough*
I also disliked the Lord of the Rings. And the only way I managed to get through Eragon was the bad acting. It made me laugh.

last edited on July 14, 2011 1:57PM
lastcall at 3:27AM, Dec. 11, 2007
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mechanical_lullaby
What it comes down to is the fact that you should be able to watch a movie as a movie(not thinking of the book) and treat it like a movie. Books is separate, of course.

That's the problem. They need to stop making movies based on books & other products, get some original writing, and make some decent movies for a change. It just seems like everything is “based on” something nowadays. What happened to originality? …Did it ever exist?
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:27PM
isukun at 3:47PM, Dec. 11, 2007
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Movies have always taken their influence either from other movies or from literature/real events. You ask what happened to originality, well, when it comes to cinema, it never really existed in the first place. Quite honestly, I think they need to start making more movies based on books. Many of the “original” ideas coming out of Hollywood these days are worse than the derivitive ones.
last edited on July 14, 2011 1:04PM

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