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Samniss Arandeen
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15 Dec 2014, 3:56 pm

The Starship Troopers movie is okay in its own right. It's awful compared to Heinlein's original. It was so much of a butchery even Heinlein hated it. I guess this is my misgiving with the movie, that it caused Heinlein to refuse to grant film rights to any of his other books, meaning no Stranger in a Strange Land or The Moon is a Harsh Mistress adaptations, as awesome as they probably would be.

The Harry Potter films have next to nothing in common with the books. Aside from a hero, supporting cast, villain, and setting, there's quite a few differences. Both are awesome, and I will defend book and movie alike to the end. It's just a bad adaptation.

Battlefield Earth was L. Ron Hubbard's author tract. How it got a film, I have no clue. It was directed by the same guy that was the Star Wars set decorator! He had the right idea by Dutch-angling the whole fracking film and John Travolta did his own god a favor by discrediting him with that godawful hammy acting.

Game of Thrones. I don't know why it was brought up earlier. It's fantastic. Sure, it leaves some things out (you could easily do two seasons off one book rather than the current one book=one season formula, and it would certainly buy George R.R. Martin additional time to write the next book) but that would bring unfathomable havoc to the episodic format of the series.

I would like to stop for a moment and call out YippySkippy, who posted earlier in this thread. Yippy, not everything is so black and white as you make it seem. Saying a book is automatically better than a TV show or a movie is a terrible idea. For every bad thing about TV and movies (movies and episodes must have their own self-contained story, commercial breaks, time limits), there's a good thing that no book can ever pull off. For example, instead of being told what the characters are saying, you hear them say it, with all the inflections and facial expressions and gestures the character would be giving, for example. Actors can give a performance that can elevate the character beyond what the writer put down. I cite Jennifer Lawrence's portrayal of Katniss Everdeen as an example of this. I also have to say that movies must show, instead of tell. We can get some good things shown to us, and it would have greater weight than being told about it in print. And of course, sometimes the movie's time constraints may lead to trimming needless subplots and placing a greater focus on the main characters, which can be a good thing. The movie is supposed to be about the main character's Hero's Journey! Some stories, such as Star Trek, are better told in an episodic format such as a TV show (what is it this week?), and some things just have to be seen to be believed.

Anyway, where was I?

The Cat in the Hat. The Nostalgia Critic already ripped this movie to shreds, and he hit on all of my main criticisms already.

Eragon. It's been mentioned earlier in this thread. I was never particularly a fan of the Inheritance books, but this movie just isn't even good in its own right or as an adaptation!

The Hunger Games. Let me get this out of the way: I LOVE THIS MOVIE. As of this writing, it currently stands at #3 on my favorite movies of all time list. "It's just a ripoff of Battle Royale!" Yes, and Star Wars is just some Flash Gordon wannabe, The Lord of the Rings is classical mythology with the serial numbers filed off, and it's pointless to watch The Lion King after reading Hamlet. "It's a ripoff!" arguments make Joseph Campbell spin in his [BLEEP] grave! There's really only a few basic stories that can be told. What makes a story good or bad isn't what it's similar to, but how the characters, story, setting and plot fare in their own right. That said, I didn't enjoy the book very much. It focused on too many characters, and all of them suffered for it. Then the movie comes along. It makes excellent casting decisions, narrows focus and finally gives emotional weight to plot events. Though, they did have to censor the killing to avoid an R rating (but we can sure let this same young-adult audience read this violence, eh?), including the dubious decision to have the cameraman from The Bourne Identity film the movie while having sex on top of a giant pile of cocaine going backwards down a waterslide. And Peeta, really? You're the literary equivalent of Jar Jar [BLEEP] Binks, you know that?

Well, I'm ranting again. Let me finish with two more adaptations.

The Lord of the Flies. Okay book at best, the movie was lukewarm to me.

The Lord of the Rings. I quite like these movies. They're quite well made, well acted (Ian McKellen stands out in particular, though Orlando Bloom and Viggo Mortensen rock too), and were a great introduction to the series, something The Hobbit will never match. As a result, I have an attachment to Peter Jackson that I think is here to stay. Now, looking back on the LOTR movies, yes, they really did leave some interesting stuff out, but as I stated earlier, that only makes the movie better by movie standards. Some stories benefit from narrowed focus. This is not one of them.


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Jory
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15 Dec 2014, 4:54 pm

Samniss Arandeen wrote:
The Starship Troopers movie is okay in its own right. It's awful compared to Heinlein's original. It was so much of a butchery even Heinlein hated it. I guess this is my misgiving with the movie, that it caused Heinlein to refuse to grant film rights to any of his other books, meaning no Stranger in a Strange Land or The Moon is a Harsh Mistress adaptations, as awesome as they probably would be.


Heinlein was in the ground a decade before the movie was made. He never got to see it, for better or worse.

The movie was never intended to be a faithful adaptation of the novel anyway; the studio had a script lying around called Bug Hunt, and when someone noticed that it had some similarities to Starship Troopers, they bought the rights to the book, changed the film's title, and did some minor rewrites to include a few more elements of the book. The film ended up being more of a parody of the novel, or a response to it, than an adaptation.

I haven't seen the sequels, but I've been told that Part 3 is more faithful to the book. May be worth checking out if you're a fan.



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02 Jan 2015, 8:03 am

AnonymousAnonymous wrote:
iBlockhead wrote:
Battlefield Earth hasn't been mentioned yet? Does the entire book have to be done?


Battlefield Earth was awful to the point where the word "awful" wouldn't be an accurate adjective.


'Battlefield Earth' is one of the most enjoyably bad movies I've ever seen (and I've seen it several times), so much so that I would hesitate to include it on such a list because I derive just as much enjoyment out of it as I would a good movie.

Plus, though I've never read the book, I've read several reviews which said it was a fairly faithful adaptation of the source material, at least for the parts it covered. There's a difference between a bad film and a bad adaptation, the latter of which is what this thread is about.



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02 Jan 2015, 7:08 pm

Samniss Arandeen wrote:
The Starship Troopers

The Harry Potter films have next to nothing in common with the books. Aside from a hero, supporting cast, villain, and setting, there's quite a few differences. Both are awesome, and I will defend book and movie alike to the end. It's just a bad adaptation.



JK Rowling was the executive producer on all the Harry Potter films. The differences relate to condensing some of the story lines to fit each book into a two and a half hour film. I thought the movies were very much in keeping with the spirit of the books.



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03 Jan 2015, 12:30 am

Harry Potter was alright. Just annoyed they missed out so much of the MAJOR details.

But Twilight books to film? THEY HAD ROBERT PATTERSON PLAY EDWARD. D: Worst decision ever made.


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03 Jan 2015, 6:03 pm

I once watched the 1939 version of Wuthering Heights, and was astonished to find it ended halfway through the story.



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03 Jan 2015, 7:24 pm

I wouldn't necessarily call it a bad adaptation, but several years ago I saw 'John Dies at the End' as a movie first solely because I was a big fan of the director. I thought the movie was excellent and shockingly original, and I started reading the book immediately afterwards. The first half of the movie is word-for-word faithful to the book, but the second half is a wildly condensed adaptation of the book's second half which omits a lot of story elements, not the least of which is the plot thread which gives meaning to movie's title.

Cinema and literature are two wildly different mediums and I don't think it's fair to hold either to exacting comparison. In the case of 'JDatE', the book is a visceral horror-comedy with a complex plot and many twists and revelations, while the movie is a comedy with a light-hearted tone and slightly more straightforward plot. Both have their merits as standalone entities, but the movie falters under the same scrutiny as the book, and at that point I think that's unnecessary criticism. I've never believed in the "criticizing the movie for what it isn't rather than praising it for what it is" school of thought.



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04 Jan 2015, 9:01 am

The Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy movie was the worst thing I have seen in years it made me want to gouge my own eyes out and wash them with bleach...

Okay so technically the book was adapted from the TV series which was adapted from the radio series, but the movie was from the book. The TV series is currently available on a popular video sharing site, I would advise you watch it if you disagree!


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04 Jan 2015, 6:05 pm

Jellybean wrote:
The Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy movie was the worst thing I have seen in years it made me want to gouge my own eyes out and wash them with bleach...

Okay so technically the book was adapted from the TV series which was adapted from the radio series, but the movie was from the book. The TV series is currently available on a popular video sharing site, I would advise you watch it if you disagree!


I'm a huge Douglas Adams fan, and...well, I actually liked the movie. The humor was pretty Americanized and I had a gripe or two with the story, but I thought it was pulled off decently well, and well-casted, too. Of course it's not as good as the mini-series, but you can only do so much with a 100-minute film as you can with a six-part TV series.



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05 Jan 2015, 2:15 pm

Skibz888 wrote:
I'm a huge Douglas Adams fan, and...well, I actually liked the movie. The humor was pretty Americanized and I had a gripe or two with the story, but I thought it was pulled off decently well, and well-casted, too. Of course it's not as good as the mini-series, but you can only do so much with a 100-minute film as you can with a six-part TV series.


I think it was the Americanised humour that bothered me as the book is so typically British! I didn't like the casting very much either. I'm waiting for the book in the post. I have the other four, not the first.


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05 Jan 2015, 2:40 pm

I was always disappointed by the movie Cannery Row that was based on Steinbeck's book Cannery Row. Part of its problem is that it was also based on another book by Steinbeck called Sweet Thursday.



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05 Jan 2015, 2:44 pm

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

I want to tear out my hair whenever I hear someone claim that this is the most faithful film version of the book. It does include a few characters and details that are usually left out in other adaptations, but that's all the credit I'm willing to give it. The campy tone is all wrong, and they turned the villain of the book into a romantic, sympathetic, tragic antihero. Its merits as a film can be argued (the special effects are terrific; they almost make up for the terrible acting), but as an adaptation of the source material, it's a travesty.



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05 Jan 2015, 2:58 pm

Jellybean wrote:
Skibz888 wrote:
I'm a huge Douglas Adams fan, and...well, I actually liked the movie. The humor was pretty Americanized and I had a gripe or two with the story, but I thought it was pulled off decently well, and well-casted, too. Of course it's not as good as the mini-series, but you can only do so much with a 100-minute film as you can with a six-part TV series.


I think it was the Americanised humour that bothered me as the book is so typically British! I didn't like the casting very much either. I'm waiting for the book in the post. I have the other four, not the first.


It did preserve a lot of the lines from the book, but it was being made for a larger audience. I agree that the book is definitively English and benefits from much dryer humor, but if you had to turn it into a fast-paced American adventure-comedy, I think that was the best way to do it. It could have turned out a lot worse, but you could tell they were clearly trying to keep the spirit of the source material. Douglas Adams DID work on the screenplay, but to what extent or how much they kept of his ideas before he died I'm unsure.

I thought Stephen Fry as The Guide, Alan Rickman as Marvin and Martin Freeman as Arthur Dent were all excellent casting. Sam Rockwell (who's always good in any movie, IMHO) did well as Zaphod, though I really didn't like how they handled his two heads. Zooey Deschanel did alright, I guess. A lot of people complained about Mos Def as Ford Prefect, but I really didn't think he was that bad. Is it a dream cast? Not really, at least compared to the TV series, but again, it could have turned out much worse



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05 Jan 2015, 4:10 pm

Okay, I'll admit Stephen Fry was brilliant in it! Nothing else :lol:


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05 Jan 2015, 4:38 pm

Kraichgauer wrote:
I Am Legend.

Actually, it was a pretty decent movie - - until that Godawful ending.


I'm pretty sure everyone hates the ending. They should've stuck with the original.



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06 Jan 2015, 3:40 pm

I too liked Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy. Sam Rockwell as Zaphod made me laugh! :lol:
He actually was offered the Ford Prefect role, but chose Zaphod.


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