Tossin’ It Out There: What do YOU think about the importance of source material?

Ok. So, this week, there’s obviously been an enormous amount of talk about “The Hunger Games”. And not just the movie… several bloggers make comparisons or reference the book in their reviews, as did several commenters here on the review post.

It’s not just “The Hunger Games”, though. Last week, Michael Bay announced he was making the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles aliens… and the internet had a collective conniption fit. This week Tasem Singh unveils his comedic interpretation of “Snow White” with “Mirror, Mirror”, while the myths of the ancient Greeks get raked over the coals again by “Wrath of the Titans”.

Many, many movies can trace their origins back to some prior source material. How faithfully should they adhere to it? Should filmmakers have complete creative license, or should they be bound to it? What are the audiences “responsibilities” in regards to it? Should people have to “read the book”?

What do YOU think in regards to Source Material?

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75 thoughts on “Tossin’ It Out There: What do YOU think about the importance of source material?

  1. Asa far as I’m concerned, in every case, the less faithful to the source material the better. What’s the point of adapting something if you’re not going to bring anything new to it?

  2. I think it depends on the source material. Older, or even ancient source material, such as mythology, have so many interpretations over the centuries that filmmakers today have essentially carte blanche as far as the adaptations.

    With more recent source material, there’s more of a double-edged sword. On one hand, you have a core of fans that have a vested interest from the start in the material which gives you a big head start in developing your audience. On the other hand, that same core will turn on the project if they perceive a lack of respect for the source material. If those people turn away from the film, it’s highly unlikely that it will gain an audience.

    If the creators of the source material is supportive, that also can make a world of difference.

    In the end though, the movie has to stand on its own merits. Filmmakers shouldn’t feel “bound” to the source material, but should realize that haphazard changes will likely have an adverse reaction to the box office.

    And under no circumstances should a movie-goer have to read the book to understand the plot of the film.

    • I’m Dan Fogarty, and I approve this message.

      LOL.

      Well said, and agreed on all points. “Watchmen” is a good example. They made a big change to the ending, but they were obviously respectful of the source material, and its easy to understand why they did it for the movie… so I wound up being cool with it.

      Although I admit, it took awhile! :D

    • I’m just going to reply directly to K2, since I agree with everything he says here (and since it’s easy for me to go off on this; I’m probably going to do a full rant post at some point on the subject). Older works, there’s generally a fair amount of variation even in the source material, so changes in an adaptation are not only acceptable, they’re unavoidable. There are dozens of variations on any Greek myth, fairy tale, Arthurian legend, or the tale of Robin Hood, so changes in a movie are fine. Even something like The Count of Monte Cristo, where there was only one version, can be OK if changed as long as the broad strokes are in place. More recent stuff, those “broad strokes” include a lot more of the details. To oversimplify, it’s still Robin Hood if there’s no Will Scarlet, but it’s not still TMNT if there’s no Splinter (note: I haven’t heard a rumor one way or the other on that.)

      In general, I think the question of respect is paramount. You can make changes, but it has to be done with an eye for what made the source material appealing in the first place. If you remove one of the things — or especially the key thing — that made people love the original in the first place, what’s the point of doing the adaptation?

      • Well, this is not an easy topic for me, as I have always been a reader first, and a watcher second (My profession even demands this. I read a script before I edit the footage. My mind and imagination fills in visuals which I then have to create on the screen.)

        That being said my argument has never been to religious adherence to the source material. Filmmakers are free to tell the stories they want to tell using the framework of a source material in whichever way most suits their artistic vision. Time constraints and monetary constraints are present on every picture ever made, irregardless of budget, director, studio, star, source material or anything else. It may piss off Alan Moore, but it’s not HIS picture. He already wrote his book, and no one is changing that (a thing he actually said, before he saw what they did to LxG… then he changed his mind. lol)

        My comment about reading the source material in another thread had more to do with the CONVERSATION about a movie translation of the book, than about the movie itself. For someone familiar with the source material, discussing the movie without also referring to the book is a near impossibility, just as discussing Wrath of the Titans without knowing something of Greek mythology would leave out a large part of the conversation. These Sherlock Holmes abominations are another example. Why do I say that they are abominations? If one had no foreknowledge of the canon, one might accept on face value from the movie that Sherlock Holmes was a slovenly, unkempt asshole, with a gay crush on his partner and little or no manners, sense of propriety or kindness… who liked to blow things up. Any intelligent conversation of the movie would have to have at least a grounding in the source material to refute the assertion of abomination. A careful reader might say, ‘but in “A Sign of Four” Sherlock does dress up as a Lascar boatman, and shoot cocaine, and box in the prize ring…’ These are all actual events from the book. But then a reader might respond that these are being taken out of context, and ignore several other instances of… and away we go, having an intelligent, informed conversation ABOUT THE MOVIE, right? It’s not the artisitc licence of the filmmaker that’s the problem, it’s the lack of knowledge of what liberties are being taken, and why, that causes a disconnect.

        Now, on the other hand… What part of “Teenage MUTANT Ninja Turtles” has the word alien in it? Grrrrrr….

  3. In my opinion the source material is the starting point, and the filmmakers have creative license to deviate from it. In the end a book is going to have a lot more information than a film can hold do characters, settings, and information are going to have to be cut. On the other side, short stories invite creative freedom to add more information. Usually the adapted films I like the least are those that remained too loyal to the source material and tried to fit too much information into the film.

    • That’s a good point, a lot of short stories have been made into really good flicks.

      Although along this line of thinking, its tough to please everyone in either direction. Like you said, a book is always going to contain way too much info, so its going to need to be edited – hardcore fans complain about the omissions. whereas with Short Stories (and I know its not technically a short story, but it’s a good recent exapmle – “The Lorax” comes to mind) there’s going to need to be content added to make it feature length. – hardcore fans complain about the additions. LOL

  4. Given that the movies are a totally different medium and format I don’t have an issue with filmmakers maing changes and deviating from every single word… however, I can see why peopl get so uptight about it. The thought of your favourite film being re-made would fill anyone with dread, so I imagine it’s worse when it comes to book-to-screen adaptations.

    I guess it all comes down to the writers who have the thankless task of stripping the unfilmable bits – and characters / stories / details that the luxuries of a book can afford – versus keeping in enough of what makes the original material so good.

    • Yeah, I guess I can empathize…. thats a really good analogy – using the “remakes” of favorite movies.

      Although I guess I would say its not a completely direct correlation. The Book to film transition is changing mediums. Whereas with a remake, there’s probably already a viable product already in existence.

      But I understand, you’re just drawing a parallel to the feelings involved.

      Beyond that, yeah, it probably is a really thankless task. LOL

  5. I wrote a stupidly long comment on Kristin’s blog about source material and movies.

    I had a bit of a problem with The Hunger Games. People who read the books seem to have got a lot more out of it than people who didn’t. My issue with this is that why? Why can’t the film itself be enough for a viewer to get just as drawn into the film as someone who’s read the book?

    It’s up to the film makers to produce something that will enthrall fans of the source material as well as people who just see the film. If a film maker can’t do that, then I think there’s something wrong.

    Ok, take Inception. There’s no source material there. Yet I felt more connected and engaged with that film and the characters than I did with The Hunger Games.

    The further film makers go away from the source material the better in my opinion. Having the source material as a starting point and then creating something from it is far more of a challenge than just using the source material as your template. There’s too much of a fear about upsetting fans. While the fangirls and fanboys can dictate how well a film does, isn’t a risk worth taking?

    • In regards to your last sentence… if a filmmaker isn’t going to be at least faithful to the source material enough to be respectful, should the filmmaker be taking on that project in the first place?

      I’d say “no”, Like it or not, working from adapted material means in some respect that the filmmaker’s “vision” has to align at least somewhat with the source material.

      • Of course the source material has to be respected and the film does have to align with the it. But the film maker has to often make “more” out of the source material because, in my opinion, the films have a lot more riding on them than books do. There are more stakeholders at risk.

    • I’d say you are so wrong about the challenge being creating something new from source material. It’s a lot harder to stay true to the source material while taking into account the target audience. When you have source material there are as many viewpoints as members of the audience so there could be as many versions as movies.

      For example, Hunger Games. The target audience for the movie was boys/young men. The director figured as the majority of readers were women he didn’t need to worry much beyond hitting the high points with them. If a woman hadn’t read the book, a woman friend who did would get them to see the movie. So the task was making something that is more palatable for a woman palatable for the male fans and male movie-goers. Hence the techniques he used in the filming.

      He did a good job with Hunger Games because he balanced between the women fans of the book and his target audience – males. Many of which found the movie well done (probably because they were expecting a chick flick).

      Cheers :)

      • Huh.

        I’m kind of stunned by the simplistic logic of that.

        It makes sense. I never did think it was chick-flick-ish.

        Is the book though? Just because its a female lead doesnt necessarily make it aimed at girls, does it? I dont know… LOL Maybe I should read the book and find out! (<– Gelfman bait)

      • “The director figured as the majority of readers were women he didn’t need to worry much beyond hitting the high points with them. If a woman hadn’t read the book, a woman friend who did would get them to see the movie. So the task was making something that is more palatable for a woman palatable for the male fans and male movie-goers. Hence the techniques he used in the filming.”

        This is the single most cynical attitude about film making I’ve ever seen. It makes me sad.

      • The book is considered more a female oriented book though I don’t think that’s necessarily on the writer’s side so much as the marketing. The love triangle is a bigger part of the book than the movie, though it is hinted at in the movie.

        “This is the single most cynical attitude about film making I’ve ever seen. It makes me sad.”

        I don’t think it should make you sad at all. If Disney had looked at their audience a bit better and thought more about their lead, John Carter wouldn’t have been knocked so bad (which is an attitude I totally disagree with if you are a lover of JC like I am). A few tweeks to the actor and it would have been a blockbuster (actually better direction from the director would have done the same)!

        As a writer it’s important to think about your target audience because if the audience can’t relate to your book then there really was no point in going to all the work. I’m not saying in any way to be contrived or to tailor the story but rather how you present it. Presentation is nine-tenths of the battle! For a movie maker this is even more important (take John Carter for example) as you have visuals to take into account besides story factors.

        It really is a balancing act and I really admire the Hunger Game director for doing his best with source material, fan love and thinking about the rest of the audience who probably hadn’t read the book and might not love all the same details that the book stressed.

      • I still hate this aspect of film making. Having male/female target audiences is such an old way of thinking of things. Well, it feels like a dated view to me!

      • Still in use though. Look at what Disney did with “Tangled” they changed the name from Rapunzel, and played up the male character in the ads.

        Sexist Hollywood. (head shake)

  6. I guess if it’s something you hold dear to your heart, then of course you will be pissed when some crazy director makes drastic changes to it and expects you to like his movie.

    Regarding alien turtles, I’m with the TMNT camp on this one. Sorry, Mike!

  7. I have always been of the view that movies and books are two different mediums, and so I’ve never minded differences too much. I admit to having been disappointed a few times by choices that filmmakers made when adapting books, but I don’t have a problem with them making changes.

    It works both ways. I’m not a huge reader, but take two examples from my own experience: “Forrest Gump,” great touching movie in my opinion (I know it’s got it’s haters out there). The book, on the other hand, though enjoyable is goofy…some parts are just plain dumb. The film is hugely better…thanks largely to making some wise edits in the source material.

    On the other hand, one of my favorite books of all time “Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil” is far from a great film. I admit the film is a guilty pleasure for me, but much of what makes the book so great is lost. Still, I admit they had to change things…the book could not be filmed as written…the filmmakers just changed the wrong things.

    • “Adapting books is like a box of chocolates…”

      LOL

      There have to be changes. Again, I’m not a huge reader myself, either. Although most times if it’s not straight up classics, I’m reading it due to a film.

      But one easy example for me… Jaws is better without the Hooper/Mrs Brody affair. It just is. Lol

  8. Gotta agree with k26dp; a filmmaker should at least be respectful to source material.
    For example, Return of the King is actually different than the book as I read the book prior to watching the movie. However, I think the story, characters, and choice of major plotlines which are same as book work well and have audience buy in the scenes. The minor differences work better in the movie in relation who kills the nazgul scene (more impactful in film) and where they end the movie (much cleaner in film). Here the filmmaker, the great Peter Jackson, differs but is very respectful to source. That said both source and adaptation are key. Yet if the source stinks and the adaptation is good the movie may suffer versus having good source to support the film story.

    • “Return of the King” is a great example. My kids and I have been reading through the whole Lord of the Rings series. My wife would hate me for saying this, but though Tolkien created a a great story, he had no concept of pacing. Had Jackson filmed what Tolkien wrote precisely…it would’ve been a terrible movie.

    • Jackson is a great example of an uber respectful director. Although Return of the King could have done with 75% less Golden Glow, lol!

      Good point about needing both source and adaptation needing to have value. It’s a rare great movie that’s made from a shitty book…

  9. An adaptation is exactly that, an adaptation. A movie in no way has to be true to the characters, setting, etc. I feel that it only has to be true to the essence of the source material and be an interpretation rather than a copy. If it comes down between being a better movie, or bein true to the source, a director should always choose the first.

    I think that a good adaptation should make the viewer want to dig into the source material a little bit. If it is just a crappy copy, no one will ever do that.

    If the source material is extremely visual, like a graphic novel or comic, filmakers are obviously going to need to take visual queues.

    Lastly I think that it should be said that some material is just not made for the big screen. One good example is Beast from X-men. He just doesn’t translate so I think movie makers should just stay away from using his character.

    • Ohhh ho, MAN! You make some great points, but I know some X-Men fans that would be up in arms over that Beast comment!

      The answer there is that Hollywood needs better effects, costume design, etc… First Class’ Beast was a little silly lookin’.

      But the answer isn’t “No Beast”! **GASP!!**

      • haha I’m afraid that there isn’t a way to make that character translate to a live action movie without completely abandoning his original design. A bulky, blue werewolf with glasses? He is twice as enigmatic as The Hulk himself, who is extremely hard to bring to the big-screen in a believable way. Hulk is one of my favorite characters, second only to Spidey, but I have accepted that he will always look like a cartoon, and the same goes for Beast.

        I’m not hating on Beast. That’s just the way I see it :-)

      • Oh my stars and garters, Phil. The Blasphemy. Unheard of.
        :D

        I know what you’re saying… but my answer still is Hollywood needs to make it happen. For the Hulk, too. He’s got a big moment in the sun comin’ up!!

  10. If a movie is written based on a book, shouldn’t the movie represent a relatively honest adaptation of that book? Otherwise, the movie writer, would have come up with their own original idea, no? Obviously when making a movie from a book, there will be differences, but it shouldn’t be so off base that it ruins the integrity of the source material. (You wouldn’t want a house to drop on Dorothy at the end of the yellow brick road)

    Also, I would think that most people who have read an enjoyable book, go to see the movie in hopes of getting the same (or better) experience, a comparison is almost inevitable. To me though, that is the real challenge……..capturing all of the character & setting details, all of the pictures people have created in their heads from reading the book, and not letting them down. As a teen I read Flowers in the Attic, and got so immersed in the details of the book, I can (to this day) remember what that attic looked like, the layout of the room they were locked in, etc. Yet, the movie looked so different from what my imagination had created, I hated the flick right out of the gate, which I realize is pretty unfair….but I couldn’t help it.

    All that being said, K26dp said it best, “under no circumstances should a movie-goer have to read the book to understand the plot of the film.” This is what separates the good from the great for me…It can be done! (like The Hunger Games, in my opinion)

    • Well, that’s the trick, now, isnt it?

      Maintaining the spirit… knowing what to leave in, what to take out…

      Hollywood writers and “Original Ideas” do not seem to go hand in hand nowadays. LOL. Somehow, there seems to be a shortage of it. Most likely due to studios not being willing to risk a lot of money on untested properties, but I digresss…

      LOL @ Flowers in the Attic. My mother loved those books I think she had all of them.

  11. Transforming a novel into a film is a difficult task; because they’re so vastly different from one another as artistic mediums, it becomes inevitable that details are excised in the process, and I think that as fans of literature and of film we all eventually have to come to a point where we accept that. Until then, every adaptation will cut out that one moment that someone thinks is THE MOST IMPORTANT MOMENT or a detail that’s THE MOST IMPORTANT DETAIL, and frankly people with that mindset will never be satisfied.

    To a degree I get that. I still take some umbrage with choices Peter Jackson made in adapting The Lord of the Rings, but most of them– like representing the Army of the Dead as a huge green cloud of CGI that sweeps away the Orc army in mere seconds– I accept as being “necessary” for the story to be rendered into cinema. (To wit: Having Aragorn show up with an army of freed men of Gondor just means that the fight extends, whereas the Army lets Jackson cheat the climax and tie things up rapidly– a huge boon considering how massive the story is.) Fans need to understand how to think like a screenwriter or, failing that, understand that screenwriters face challenges that novelists don’t (and the same is true in reverse). Stuff has to get cut. Stuff has to be changed. It’s inevitable.

    But screenwriters do owe a great burden of debt to the source when performing an adaptation. If the details can be and often must be tinkered with, then the “essence” of the source is inviolate. Put simply: the point of the book can’t be changed. Don’t screw with what defines the thematic and emotional “stuff” of the book. I’d be pretty justified in being pissed at The Hunger Games if the adaptation revamped the love triangle to make it more central than the political strife and social struggles that are so much more critical to what makes Collins’ book resonate, for example. But that’s not what happened. If anything the love triangle took more of a backseat since we aren’t in Katniss’ head.

    Basically, the details can be altered. The soul of the story has to be kept intact, because otherwise why are you adapting the story in the first place?

  12. Yeah, Jaina and I really talked to this out on the comments section of my post. Such a good topic! While she and I may view it a little differently, I think in the end, we both agree that the film should be good enough on its own feet to entertain, whether the story is based off a book or is original material.

    I personally believe that if a filmmaker is going to take someone else’s original material to make a movie, then there’s needs to be some kind of respect given to that original source material. Otherwise, what’s the point of making a movie BASED on a book? If you want to make a movie about The Hunger Games, then you’ve put yourself in a place where if you don’t honor the material, you’re going to make people upset. If we’re talking specifically about THG game here – Gary Ross read the books and said, “Wow, I want to make these books into the movie–I want to do it.” He wanted to bring the pages to life. He also wanted to offer a little wider view, hence why he added a few things.

    I realize film is an entirely different format from books, so yes, I think the filmmaker should have a number of allowances, especially in how he/she communicates things. I personally appreciated the changes/additions in THG film adaptation because they added to the film experience rather than took away from it.

    My big thing is that if the filmmaker has an entirely different vision for a film that isn’t related to the original source material enough, then I think that filmmaker should go looking for another project.

    Even though I will add – look at Guy Ritchie’s Sherlock Holmes films. They’ve both been hits, although if you go back to that original source material, Ritchie doesn’t honor the character of Holmes well at all! Perhaps if there is a major time period in between the original work and the film adaptation, filmmakers have more breathing space and the ability to really hone in and change the things they want to change. Even take Peter Jackson with LOTR – The films are FAR different from the books, but as a fan of both the books and films, I can definitely understand why he made some changes, while I’m rather annoyed that he made others. But do you have all kinds of fanboys/girls huffing and puffing about staying true to Tolkein’s or Conan Doyle’s work. Maybe there a few, but nothing like THG or Harry Potter nowadays. It’s a risky business taking VERY RECENT popular book series and adapting them to film.

    Sorry for the huge response!

    • LOL! 1) Dont be sorry about responses for any reason. Always glad for comments in any fashion, say what you want! 2) Look at some of these others! I handed out a term paper assignment this morning without knowing it! :D

      The Guy Ritchie Sherlock films are a great example. They’re entertaining movies (I guess, I’m not a huge fan) but they take extreme liberties. But you’re right, the source material is long removed., Its a lot easier for them to take liberties. PLUS that particular source material has been interpreted so many times, they can use the “This is our take on the character” line without any repercussions.

      It is nice when you find those directors that just want to bring the page to life. Snyder with Watchmen, Jackson with LOTR… there’s others too. But it always makes for a much better movie, doesnt it?

  13. This is a great question because of the usual two camps of adaptation. One says it is the filmmakers duty to portray the book as accurately as possible with as little leeway. The other camp suggest adaptation is just that. Being a visual portrayal of the source material by a different artist in a different medium and as such should reflect the visual artists sensibility and creativity for his particular medium.

    I think however, the road you take is what makes for okay film or truly great film! I believe it is somewhere in the middle of the two extremes and requires a whole DIFFERENT vision with regard to story telling, execution and emotional impact.

    Lets make comparisons. Look at recent Hunger Games and John Carter. John Carter is film bogged down by trying to stick to playing inside the lines. Burroughs is a pulp action author in most regards and sticking to the source would have netted a different film. However, what they made was based on something less than creatively outside of the box. Hunger Games tried to stick to the book but falls short because of the visual medium. As Brian mentioned in his review how could a viewer get invested in the characters when so little of what worked in the book was used to have the viewer get invested in those teens. Others yet say the books are far from being masterpieces themselves. So what you lack there is that extra inspired creativity that makes for great.

    On the other hand stepping outside the box has worked brilliantly for two of the greatest films ever made. The examples are Shawshank Redemption and the Green Mile. Both short fiction that had a huge emotional impact in the story they told that required vision from the filmmaker to not lose that impact yet still flesh out the story to create the maximum emotional impact. In both cases Darabont achieved the above objectives to create something that paid homage to Stephen King but at the same time was uniquely his as a filmmaker. So source material is crucial but it cant be all because just as the filmmaker depends on greatness in an author, the author must depend on greatness to bring the soul of the story to visual life!

    • Well… I think I disagree on “The Hunger Games” falling short, because I dont think it does. Its an excellent film.

      Other than that agree, agree, agree. John Carter should have shaved like 6 of its subplots off. Im not sure that’s even devotion to the material, because what I think I heard was Stanton cherrypicked elements from a couple of different JC books. Could be wrong.

      The Shawshank Redemption and the Green Mile are both good examples. They’re both Stephen King stories. There’s a pretty long lineage of King adaptations on both sides of the equation. There’s a bunch that have been made that are crap, and then a bunch that have become classics… such as this weekend’s MTESS Stand By Me. Which was a novella.

      Believe it or not, I’ve never read “The Shining” (oh boy, here we go), and I know substantial changes were made. Hard not to imagine it all beiing for the better though, seeing as the final product is so brilliant. (Another great director at the helm though, which supports your point)

      • Bravo Fogs you make my point for me with the cherry on top reference to the Shinning which is in many ways more than the book born by the brilliance of Jack and the under appreciated ultra victim portrayal of Shelley Duvall. I can still see her face fresh in my memory and it is pure brilliance! She was not so vunerable in the book and in the movie it was a masterstroke

  14. I don’t have much more to add except re-iterate what Andrew and K26dp said. As long as you are keeping the essence, soul of the story intact, making few changes from the original is fine. Especially if you are making a movie based on something well-known like Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, at least half of your audience is there because of the book. Had Harry Potter been an original screenplay, I highly doubt if it would have been that successful commercially. So, as long as you respect you respect author and us as readers we will respect you taking few freedoms here and there as a film-maker.

    • Bah, these are more about how YOU feel and what you think than “Adding” anything. Not like we’re a bunch of rocket scientists or anything, just talkin’ movies…

      Thats a REALLY good question about the Harry Potter books and would they have done as well… I’m sure they wouldnt have. But that doesnt mean they wouldnt have wound up hugely successful. They’re really very good flicks. Plus with like 15 movies, they’d have had plenty of time to build a following from scratch.

      Good “What if” SDG

  15. I have an issue and an example of the importance of source material from a recent film. David Fincher’s “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo”. In his remake he makes a few small seemingly unimportant changes from the original film. The changes, however small, weaken the character of Lisbeth Salander. I can’t believe he would intentional do this. Only the source material, i.e. the book, would tell the truth. I love both film versions, but I’m itching to know which film is correct? Don’t know if it would change my opinion of either film, but it’s a voice for source material. Has anyone heard Fincher’s commentary on the DVD release? Does he address this subject?

  16. I think if a fictional novel is being adapted they should try to adhere as closely as possible to the source material. Obviously, some changes need to be made as certain things are impossible to do in cinema which can be done with the written word. However, sometimes movies can be better than the book (e.g. Get Shorty), and in these cases the changes are only for the good. But these are rare cases.

    If the source material is non-fiction they absolutely need to stay as close as possible. But it is inevitably going to be dramatized to some degree. Over dramatization (e.g. The Facebook Movie) leads to a pile of crap. Under dramatization (e.g. A Dangerous Method) leads to a boring movie. So, I guess they need to adhere to the reality of what happened, with some restrained dramatization to keep it interesting.

    For mythology (like the Greek gods) there really isn’t any reason to stick to the source material. Just go hog wild with it.

  17. Wow, I feel like my reply will be like swimming in the deep ocean with tons of sharks but hey. For me it would depend on how widely popular the book or books are. In many cases keeping to the book could lead to long and drawn out movies and in some cases, not enough content. I think keeping to the core is what is needed. All of the examples I would’ve used were discussed here.

    Lord of the Rings, I loved Peter Jackson’s version as much as I love the book. I could’ve done without half the Arwen scenes though. I hate when film makers add love shit into a movie that doesn’t really need to be there.

    Game of Thrones, they have kept to the core of the book and pretty much right too it but have added things here and there and skipped parts. I know it’s not a movie but I think it still counts. This is a series based on books that Martin is still adding too.

    Me personally, I like watching movies and I don’t read too much into them. I go for the enjoyment factor. I need to like the characters, I need to like how the movie looks and feels and it needs to fit it’s genre. There are some movies that people think are so great, win huge awards and yet I can’t watch them at all. I fell asleep during Hugo, my kids didn’t even last more than 40 minutes before they got bored and started doing other stuff. Visually it was stunning but the story moved at the pace of a sloth. I guess I’m willing to accept adaptations more than most people as long as the core remains faithful.

    • LOL. This subjest drew out the author in people today, didnt it? :D

      “I hate when film makers add love shit into a movie that doesn’t really need to be there.” = how I feel everytime Batman has a romance.

      Game of Thrones is awesome, I cant wait for it to come back. There’s some issues with budgets and time there too. Even though its a lot longer than a movie, there’s still no way to fit all of that in I dont think. Martin seems pleased with it, so… (I havent read them – surprise)

      I found Hugo to be more than a little slow myself Bruce, you’re definitely not alone on that one!

      I do like Arwen though. Liv Tyler totally looks like an Elf!

      • I am in the midst of reading the Game of Thrones now. The first season kept real close to the book. All the major pivotal points were in the episodes. The episodes had a couple of characters not in the book, the whore Rose is the one that sticks out the most. I am halfway through the second and even if they stick to the book exactly, it will make for one hell of a season. Brutal is the simplest word to describe it.

        Arwen was hot, no doubt, but she had such a minor, and even thats giving it credit, role in the book, they played it up too much. I agree with you on the Batman. I prefer to just have the story and keep the love part to a minimum. I like my superheroes to be just kicking ass.

  18. Admittedly, I am a little late to the party on this comment thread, but here’s my 2 cents.

    I’d say that source material is important to use as a springboard. sticking to it or deviating from it is fine by me. My issue comes when it is promoted and advertised with the idea that it stays true to the source material, and then isn’t.

    I know, for example, that Mirror Mirror is not at all 100% true to the tale so I have no issue with that and have no expectations.

    They should be clearer on whether or not it is “Based on a story”, “An adaptation/reinvention of a story”, or an “actual visual representation of a story.”

    • “Late” – dude, we’re open all night! People are beating this one up pretty good though!

      I like your point about being clearer on “True Story” “Actual Events” etc… reminds me of how the Coens led off Fargo with “Based on a True Story”, when it wasn’t :D

      I think Mirror Mirror would have crushed your expectations anyways. :D Looks so dumb… SIGH

  19. I think its important that the heart and message of the source material is present. It needs to have the same feel and atmosphere, or as close as possible. For example, To Kill a Mockingbird managed to get the childhood innocence of the novel across, as well as the more serious racial issue. It was a wonderful adaptation. On the other hand, the adaptation of The Girl Who Played with Fire lacked the intensity and urgency of the police manhunt that the book had, which made it suffer in my mind. Another example of missing the overall point was Burton’s Alice in Wonderland, a movie which was straight forward and logical, when the source material is anything but.

    What bugs me is when people get hung up on the details, like how Spiderman’s web shooters are genetic or that Marie in Bourne Identity is supposed to be Canadian. Those aren’t as important so long as the core of the story is there. Even the ending of the Watchmen, which was changed quite a bit, was fine since it still got the main message and idea across.

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