Author Topic: Most disappointing movie from book?  (Read 23801 times)

Bill Binkelman

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Most disappointing movie from book?
« on: August 25, 2008, 08:29:34 AM »
I just posted something over at emforum.info about this and wondered if anyone here wants to chime in...I was prompted to do so by someone offering an opinion of The Golden Compass, which I thought was a complete piece of shit when compared to the very good book.

Here are four examples of taking great, if not SUPERB books and turning them into unwatchable tripe.

The Golden Compass...which was all pretty pictures and had none of the gravitas or emotional resonance of the book, plus of course completely omitting the ending because it wasn't "happy."

SciFi Network's treatment of LeGuinn's "Earthsea" trilogy, for which they condensed three books into one godawful mess. The main character was so ridiculously changed that I only lasted 15 minutes. By that time, it was obvious they had no idea what they were doing. LeGuinn was horrified at what her books had become and wrote about it on her blog.

The TV movie of Madeline L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time which just flat out sucked...turning the three main characters, Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace, who were so well crafted in the books, into non-entities and taking away all the drama from the book, substituting it with "after school special" melodrama and undercutting the awe and wonder of the book.

Finally, the film version of Less Than Zero, which wasn't that terrible EXCEPT that the main character (the book is written in the first person through his eyes) is turned from a apathetic, drug-using, amoral bisexual who basically is portrayed as an utter failure into a non-druggie, 100 percent hetero, compassionate caring person, which in the context of the story, undercuts completely the dramatic arc of the story and loses the main reason for the book...that these characters are all trainwrecks.

lena

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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2008, 09:29:20 AM »
Way too many Stephen King ones...
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2008, 10:44:33 AM »
"Logan's Run"
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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2008, 11:06:38 AM »
Quote
Way too many Stephen King ones...

Oh man, that is spot on.

My brother and I actually considered sending him an invoice for our wasted time after sitting through "Rose Red".  Then again, the book kinda sucked, too...

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Bill Binkelman

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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2008, 11:58:13 AM »
Way too many Stephen King ones...

Agreed...I think the only Stephen King movie I've really liked, and I haven't read the book so I can't say if it's a good adaptation or not, but The Dead Zone was an excellent film, IMO.

mgriffin

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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2008, 12:47:33 PM »
I thought Dead Zone was a very good one, and The Shining was good in its way, though directory Stanley Kubrick changed quite a few things.

Stephen King almost certainly wins the award as the author with the highest "disappointment quotient" in adaptations of his work.

Some disappointing adaptations are just poorly made films, low budget or cheap or badly filmed, others are disappointing because the filmmaker decided to ignore the qualities that made the book worth reading in the first place.

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michael sandler

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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #6 on: August 25, 2008, 04:16:25 PM »
Way too many Stephen King ones...

Yeah, I was going to say The Stand. The movie was so mediocre it actually made me think less of the book, which I loved except for the long and pointless ending. That might not be fair to the book, but that's how underwhelmed I was with the movie.

I loved Dead Zone too, and also Misery, but I didn't read either of the books so I can't say how they compare with their sources.

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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #7 on: August 25, 2008, 04:24:48 PM »
another one that hollywood butchered was some of Dean Koontz's books for example, his novel, Hideway movie with Jeff Goldblum....now that was a freaking train wreck...
but I loved what the tv mini series did for his recent books like Soul Survivor...right on by the book...very good mini tv movie...
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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #8 on: August 25, 2008, 04:50:32 PM »
The last Lord of the Rings.
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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #9 on: August 25, 2008, 04:54:49 PM »
I thought the first Narnia film was a pretty big let-down, dumbing the story down to "after-school special" simplicity. Sure, it had great special effects but so did a whole slew of other, similar family-friendly fantasies, such as Eragon, Spiderwick Chronicles, etc.  The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe started from a better book than these, but didn't end up a better movie.
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Scott M2

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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #10 on: August 25, 2008, 08:13:54 PM »
DUNE

Bill Binkelman

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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #11 on: August 25, 2008, 08:37:57 PM »
DUNE

Agreed...but talk about an unfilmable book! So much internal dialogue!!! At least Lynch got the look right, to a degree.

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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #12 on: August 25, 2008, 08:52:48 PM »
Maybe not the MOST disappointing film from a book, but the recent "Jumper" was pretty bad. 

I loved the book and really cared about the main character.  But in the movie I didn't care about anyone.  No sympathetic characters at all.  Hayden Christensen was typically awful.  The whole idea about "jumper hunters" might have worked for a sequel after establishing characters that we give a shit about.

lena

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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #13 on: August 26, 2008, 09:26:04 AM »
DUNE

Oh boy, that's for sure, even though I  liked seeing Brad Dourif as "Piter de Vries", (I can't help it- he's been my very favorite actor since I was seven years old)... :)


Has anyone seen the newer version of Dune? Mike & I really enjoyed it.
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Wayne Higgins

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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #14 on: August 26, 2008, 10:12:36 AM »
I remember seeing DUNE with a friend that actually read the book.  After the movie, he asked me what I thought.  I replied that it seemed like they we doing ok with the story, and then did the last 20 chapters in 10 minutes.  He said my observation was quite close.  I think it's actually a really funny movie.

Making a movie out of a book is extremely dificult.  "2001: A Space Oddyssey" was writen by Arthur Clarke during the making of and finished after the movie was finished, and it isn't completely followed.

On a positive front for this conversation, I really like what Roger Corman and Vincent Price did with all the Edgar Allen Poe stories.  "The Pit and the Pendulum" is a personal favorite.
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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #15 on: August 26, 2008, 10:15:16 AM »
I'm as big a David Lynch fan as anybody, but a 150 minute version of Dune just wasn't going to succeed, no matter who directed it.

As Lena said, the Sci-Fi Network version was a lot more faithful to the book, and despite the fairly low budget visual effects I thought it was very good.  The sequel by the same people, not quite as good but still not bad.
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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2008, 10:40:15 AM »
There are really quiet a lot of bad King Movies, but i really like Dead Zone
and i truly love The Green Mile. Always gets me to tears.

Bill Binkelman

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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2008, 11:10:45 AM »
I saw Dune (the Lynch version) at a studio-sponsored sneak-peek and the studio was so worried that the plot would be incomprehensible to those who hadn't read the book that they handed out a one-page flyer, detailing the characters, what spice was, the planets, the various groups (Guild Navigators, Bene Gesserit, etc.). Man, you just KNOW you're in trouble when you need cheat sheets just to "get" a movie!


lena

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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2008, 12:14:15 PM »
i really like Dead Zone
and i truly love The Green Mile.

Me too, and I thought The Shawshank Redemption was excellent! 


Another terrible movie from a good book:

"Cabal", by Clive Barker, (the movie was called "Nightbreed"). Oh my gosh, it was awful! (I think even Clive is embarrassed by it)...







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Re: Most disappointing movie from book?
« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2008, 12:23:25 PM »
While we're on the topic of "popular horror novelists and the terrible movies made from their books" how about Queen of the Damned?  Anne Rice learned from the Interview With a Vampire experience not to openly trash a film made from one of her books, but she can't have been happy.

And actually, I thought Interview With a Vampire was pretty good.
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