Act of Nature

Why do moviemakers make movies from books they, apparently, don't like? The last 3 movies I've seen (at least I'm pretty sure they are) are all from books that I've read. Let's take a look at them, shall we?

Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers - Well, LOTR is one of my Top 5 Desert Island Books but I've been very positive about the movies since I heard about them about in, what, '99? End of '98? Whenever. I was mega excited about the first one and was pretty disappointed in it. I'm not one of those guys who thinks there shouldn't be any changes of any kind, I realize the limitations you run into when going from a thousand pages to nine hours, but what bothered me with the first one were the changes that didn't seem necessary at all and which I thought were really stupid. They changed characters left and right, in every case dumbing things down. Anyone who had any shades of gray in them was wiped clear and painted either black or white. Blecch.

But even so I was still optimistic. I think 2 Towers is the easiest of the 3 to film, I think it's the simplest and has the most action. And thing is, an hour or so into it I thought it was great, it drew me in like the first one never did. But dude, I hated the rest. I'm not capable of looking at the movie as a movie on its own, so I hope you all loved it, but they made sweeping changes in everything and replaced it with stupid, simple, crap. Most disappointing. I'm not even sure if I want to see the third one, though of course I'll end up seeing it eventually.

Catch Me If You Can - I hadn't heard of this one when I bought it in an airport in New Zealand but I read it and, after I got over how cocky the author came across, liked it. I went to see the movie... and I liked that too. (See, sometimes even Everything Else has a plot twist) It was a bit different, but there were only a couple of places where I thought changes of substance were made (and I didn't like any of them, by the way). Anyway, I'm fine with this one, but really the book was very simple, just a telling of what a guy did for a few years. It wasn't like there were any really subtle characters to deal with.

Hart's War - Jinkes. I just finished listening to this one as a book on tape and I liked it a lot. I'd even say it's one of my favorite books (another one of my Top 5 Desert Island Books (tm) is All Quiet On the Western Front, which I mention because it's a war book and because I listened to that one, too). So I foolishly rented the movie. Me and LZ dug in on the couch... I was relieved to find out that Bruce Willis wasn't cast as Hart, but only for a second. Dude, there ain't a lot of resemblance between the book and the movie. If you did the most basic of plot summaries they'd be identical, but everything intelligent and sharp about the book is gone and replaced but this hack and slash I'm-an-idiot-and-I-bet-you-are-too writing. I hated this movie. It really sucks.

But what I don't understand is why they made the changes they did. I don't understand why they reworked the main characters, if they didn't like the book, why'd they make a movie out of it? I mean, why pay for movie rights when you don't end up using anything except the most general of ideas from it? There's got to be a cheaper way to make a shitty movie.

This wasn't a very productive page, I'm aware of that. I wasn't really interested in convincing anybody else about anything, I'm just annoyed as hell and wanted to vent it a bit.

Oh, the name of the page? Just a song that was playing when I wrote it.... (by Cheryl Wheeler)


Doug's thoughts on nothing in particular