Sunday, May 17, 2009

Adaptations to avoid if familiar with source material.

Appointment with Death (1988)

In this murder mystery, Lauren Bacall plays Lady Westholme, who's onscreen for maybe a cumulative half-hour (out of two-plus hours). Now, why would a famous and definitely established actress (with second billing in the movie) accept the role where she only comes out for a quarter of the movie?

Simple. Because SHE DID IT.

In the book, Lady Westholme comes in for about 10 pages (out of 300+). That's why it's shocking when it's revealed. You don't even think she's relevant till the end. With Lauren Bacall's presence in the film, you just KNOW that she's involved somehow.

The Da Vinci Code

The movie is just touching the tip of the iceberg. The book itself is filled with more conspiracy theories and symbological history and significance, and makes for a very, very interesting read (if you're patient, that is). Besides that, the book didn't place the Opus Dei as a group of conspirators who want the truth withheld; they were manipulated by the Teacher, the true villain of the piece. In the movie, Alfred Molina (of Opus Dei) IN TURN manipulated Jean Reno, who was naturally pissed at this turn of events; in the book, they only meet at the end, when everything's over. Also, I felt that the book's reveal near the end was more cinematic (and is definitely doable on-screen), rather than Tom Hanks telling Audrey Tatou, "IT IS APPLE."

[Okay, he didn't SAY that, I just summarised it :)]

The Golden Compass (2007)

The major flaw of this adaptation is that they tried to translate this book to the big screen with a young or pre-teen audience in mind, which was not what the series was about. Just a warning to those of you who want to read the book after the movie: it's drastically different. Even though the series revolves around kids, it's not something bookstores would put up beside Enid Blyton. It deals with death and loss (it doesn't hold back on the body count), and doesn't really end on a happy note. The biggest faux-pas of the movie was cutting the ending short of the book just to kid-ify it. I was furious.

The Harry Potter movies (third to fifth; 2004–2007)

I don't know why they can't make those movies into three-hour features (if it's a Labour Law/Children's Rights issue, please enlighten me) like what Peter Jackson did with Lord of the Rings. If it were three hours, they'd be able to explore more aspects of the book, and not make it look so rushed and all-over-the-place. I'm sure the kids wouldn't mind watch their favourite stars for another 30-45 minutes extra. The movies have been quite faithful to the general storyline, though, which is good.

[It also didn't help that JK Rowling wanted her latter Potter books to literally be tomes.]

The Holcroft Covenant (1985)

The book was very intriguing, with a lot of twists and turns that you'd come to expect from Robert Ludlum, but still never see coming.

The movie? Hell no.

I like Michael Caine, but the movie was absolute crap. They simplified a LOT of things (probably time constraints) and added some humor (which was totally wrong).

DEFINITELY a "Watch first, read later".
[Or you know what? READ now, watch NEVER :)]

League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2003)

Purists (and fans in general) will LOATH this movie. It's very, very loosely-based. I would've, too, but since I only read the comic AFTER I'd seen the movie, and despite the continuity issues and corny-ish lines, I liked it.

Max Payne (2008)

Max Payne was looking so far, so good till the ending.


The movie only adapted HALF of the video game's storyline. I was way beyond geeking out when I saw the helipad, only to see Max to shoot Beau Bridges, and the end credits roll. By the way, all that close-up of sweat was pretty gross. And not enough bullet-time!

Queen of the Damned (2002)

The book has a lot of backstory on the origins of the vampires, which the movie only devoted a few choice lines to, with Jessie in a prominent role and focused on her relationship with Lestat, which was non-existent in the book, since they only met for a few seconds. The movie was only so-so for me; would be worse if it weren't for Stuart Townsend.

Got something you loved turned into a movie you hate? Comment below and let us know! :)

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