Saturday, December 04, 2004

Unoriginal movies based on original works.

Attention film studios across America, the following message is for you.
If you invest on a new film based on a popular & hot new or old "game/book/novel/TV show/newspaper article/comic/foreign film/old movie/remake or TV commercial" stick to the source material especially when it doesn't work for the medium, it's ok to dress the X-Men in leather, but to make Sabertooth a mindless mono-growl brute is stupid. DO NOT MESS WITH THE STORY OR THE INTEGRITY OF THE CHARACTERS.
Do not listen to the uncommonly talented director that says "you know, I think Spiderman should have four arms. I mean, he's an arachnid, isn't he?"

Jonathan Demme is proof that a director can make a story better when he made the Silence of the Lambs. Other than the prominence of Lecter's character in the movie which was a small part of the book, the rest of the story was very loyal to the novel. Jonathan Hensleigh on the other hand, massacred his adaptation of the Punisher by placing it in Tampa and made a munchkin version of Frank Castle . If this movie had been called the Avenger or the Redeemer and was not associated with the Marvel character, it would have been rather good for it's budget and acting. Part of the appeal of the Punisher comic is that Frank Castle takes on the baddest criminals in the baddest-ass city in the world. And as much as I like The Lord of the Rings trilogy, I have four mayor issues with it:
  1. Arwen should not have been so active in the story, if they wanted to include her they could have done so as a inner monologue device for Aragorn.
  2. The Ents, elemental beings, thousands of ages old, wise beyond comprehension. But a hobbit has to lay a winky trick on them to convince them to fight Saruman. The book was very clear that the Ents had an Ent Moot as a way of verifying concensus that they would go to war and acknowledge that they may not survive it.
  3. Faramir the opportunistic pig. This really irritated the hell out of me. In the Two Towers the character of Faramir is wise and enigmatic, he almost preternaturally knows that Frodo has the ring and how dangerous it is and he let's Frodo go. His relationship with his father is a painful one where he has all the traits that the favorite son does not, including the humility to forgive his father for that favoritism. Instead, in the movie he is this wimpy bastard that reluctantly does his father's bidding.
  4. The destruction of the One Ring. Frodo does not hesitate to destroy the ring. Ever. In the book Gollum attacks him and takes the Ring and in his joy, dances and misses his step falling into the fiery pits of Mount Doom, it was a fitting and no less tragic end for poor Smeagol. To have Frodo tackle Gollum off the ledge to get the ring for himself is an insult to Tolien and his fans. There was no logical reason to change the dynamics of that crucial event.
I however, think that it was wise to bring the Elfs to the battle of Helms Deep. It made sense because of the size of the armies. That part worked very well, and it did not totally deviate from the essence of the story. It is possible to add to original ideas to an original story, and make it better. So movie exec's everywhere, I ask you - no, I beg you, since you often have the final word on what gets put in a movie and whether it is distributed, don't mess with it, and don't let anyone mess with it. It would be like eating pizza for the for the first time, but drench it in Tabasco sauce.

You won't really know what it tastes like.



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