Friday, November 4, 2011

Why mess with a good thing?

Today I would like to talk about some movie adaptations that strayed so far from the book it's interesting how they justified it keeping the same title (well, really only one, the other two are still pretty close). Like I said before, I can enjoy a movie exactly for it's entertainment value, no more, no less. But there are some books I have read and loved so dearly that I was fairly disappointed at Hollywood's interpretation. However, there are ways Hollywood did some a bit of justice. I'm going to give you a few examples and you can decide if you think Hollywood did right or wrong.


We'll start with Thomas Harris' "Hannibal". I have been fascinated by Hannibal Lecter since seeing "Silence of the Lambs" when I was a kid. I know, not a kid movie, but my parents were pretty liberal about what I watched since they knew I could handle it. So, I was pleased as punch when I found out they were making a movie that focused on everyone's favorite cannibal. And I saw the movie, I enjoyed it greatly. And while no, it no longer had the wonderful Jodi Foster, I felt Julianne Moore was an excellent replacement.
((UNLIKE the switcheroo they did with Rachel Weisz and Maria Bello for the last Mummy installment. I love Maria Bello, but she ain't no Evey. However, I digress))
So, I saw the movie and liked it, but the character still fascinated me, so I went and got myself the book. I tore through it, finding I greatly enjoy Thomas Harris' writing style. Only, I got to the end and found out that Clarice Starling ends up running away with Hannibal and becomes a cannibal as well. What an excellent ending! It was such an amazing testament to the level of head game Hannibal Lecter could play that I was very sad that they did not use this in the movie. He basically had managed to convince Clarice that her career was over and that no one understood her or loved her like he did. It was glorious. With all the shock value of the story, it seems a shame that Hollywood was too chicken to have Clarice fall to the dark side.

Then, there's "Blood and Chocolate" by Annette Curtis Klause. In the movie, the main character, who is a version of werewolf that literally turns into a wolf at will finds herself falling in love with a normal human man, but she is being pursued by their pack leader to be his next mate. As you can surmise, all hell breaks loose when said human kills the pack leader's son (who know about the romance and was trying to scare off the stupid human). When the human finds out what she is, he at first freaks out, but then decides he can work around it and still love her. Well, in the end, the heroine kills the pack leader and runs off with her shiny new human to live happily ever after.
I'd read the book long before the movie had come out and I was heavily anticipating the movie. I was very disappointed with the movie version. In the book, the main character still finds herself falling in love with a human and she is still being pursued, and when she does the big reveal to her human, he still freaks out, only in the book, he stays freaked out. And I can't remember if it's him or other humans that were hunting them, but someone shoots or stabs her with silver and she gets stuck in the half-human-half-wolf form and it is the unconditional love of the wolf that pursued her that helps her regain her two separate forms and she realizes that she was a fool to try and deny her nature all along. It was much more satisfying to me.

The last I'll leave you with is "The Other Boleyn Girl" by Philippa Gregory. The movie, well, if you've read the book, and you know your Tudor history, it's a bit of a train wreck. Yes, Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johanneson are breath-taking and were good casting. But really, if I wanted to watch "Anne of the Thousand Days" that's precisely what I would do. "The Other Boleyn Girl" is about Mary, it follows Mary, you get insight into the disaster of Anne's treachery to become queen from Mary's point of view. You get to see that Henry was a good man driven to madness by horrid advice and the need to provide a male heir. You get to see Mary carve her own path even if it is one that no one likes. I liked reading Mary's version of events. You get none of that from the movie. So disappointing was this movie that I rank it below Showtime's "The Tudors" (which I ended up watching all the way through even as I wanted to throw things at the screen at times).

I could go on and on and try to figure out why Hollywood does the things that it does. But I did just mention in my last post that some people take movies too seriously, so I'm trying to just note the differences. And I should mention that I own the movies of "Hannibal" and "Blood and Chocolate" and I enjoy them thoroughly every time I watch them because despite the glaring differences, by themselves, they are good movies.

So, how about you Random Reader? Do you have any examples to share?

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