Friday, November 06, 2009

From Pages to Panoramic View

Is it just me or are they making movies out of tons of books? It seems everywhere I turn I keep seeing the words "based on a novel". In fact, the movie I watched tonight had a little note that said "based on a short story", but I had no idea until the film's closing credits.

I know the issue of turning romances...or any book for that matter, into a film has been going around since I was a teenager. Back then I was positive Johanna Lindsey's novels would end up on the big screen. Just as books can be good or bad depending on how strong they are in characters, plot, and setting, so can movies. Plus they have something larger to overcome, showing those monologue moments of inner speak on the big screen as more than an actor or actress thinking to him/herself. Though with the current trend to write more like tv or a movie, part of those long asides have been clipped or tossed out completely.     

From the movies you've seen made from the written word, which have you liked? Is there a book you wish could come to the big screen? Is there a movie that you hoped would be fabulous, but the translation flopped? 

Personally, I read Eragon after seeing the movie, and I felt jipped. Though I truthfully had issues with the movie even before I picked up the book. I loved the base story, and enjoyed seeing Jeremy Irons but some of the cinematography took me out of the world. And I've felt the same more than once from Harry Potter "installments". 

No matter how I feel when the movie fades to black, I applaud everyone who had a hand in the movies and spend those big bucks for fantasy and paranormal movies! It's not an easy task to create another world here on Earth, brainstorm costumes into fruition from a scant description, and speak a language without any sounds bites. As evidenced by Peter Jackson's tenacity for LOTR, magic can happen...even if people can point their finger at issues.   

As writers, we're constantly graded on our work from the moment the words hit the page, even from ourselves. It's no different in movies, when they're relying on a script for instructions. One oversight can work it's way into the frame only to be tweaked during those final edits before the project makes it's public debut. Sound familiar? 

Maybe there isn't much difference between the two, except the vehicle they're released in, but in the end it all comes down to how it makes the audience feel. Whether it's a "wow" moment, love at first "eewk", or an "Ohh" for sweetness....the most important thing is that the audience feels connected eventhough they're snug in their seats. 


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can only think of one movie that I thought might equal or in some respects pass the book. That would be Intensity by Dean Koontz - I think the movie was a made for tv movie. I love the Nora Roberts books but I haven't seen one yet that really makes it on film. I don't know if it's the actors or the director or what. But maybe that's because they're made for tv? Cheaper movies? I did like the Harry Potter movies and the books too even though there were differences between them. But the differences weren't that big (to me) so didn't make a big deal.

Sue