Just because its an awesome book, does it mean it should be a movie?

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Pucker

We all have it coming, kid
May 9, 2010
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Really, c'mon man, do we need big honkin digitized versions of all our fantasies?

When I was a boy I always thought that a live-action Lord of the Rings movie would be the single most awesome thing ever to leap -- kicking and screaming -- onto the silver screen.

About this I was both right and wrong (as is so often the case).

The Jackson movies were good enough, but I was too old to appreciate them by the time they finally got made and there was simply too much bending to the needs of demographic. Intellectually, I can understand why it's a problem that there aren't any actual girls in the story. Can't have a movie where the love interest disappears as soon as she's introduced. I get that. But when you start "adapting" some things and outright omitting others in the interest of "audience share" and "fluidity," you begin to tell a different story.

I'll be honest: I reached a point in the Dark Tower series where I just didn't care anymore. It became such a chore (for me)simply keeping track of all the convolution that I was losing interest in what the story was trying to show me. I pledged my troth to words a long time ago for the very simple reason that I don't like to do math. Logic annoys me, because I can't outwit it with flash and dazzle . . . and struggling through the latter part of the saga felt more like doing math than reading to me.

I don't doubt I will like it better when I get back to it, although to date I have read the parts I like quite a bit, and avoided the rousing conclusion again and again because . . . I don't really know why.

In the final analysis I guess I just don't like Roland very much.

But here I go, rambling again.

The simple truth is that I think a lot of people are going to lack the attention span to care about this thing, if and when it ever gets done.
 
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Gerald

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The basic requirement should be that it's a story that translates well to drama. But I think producers tend to think more along the lines of 'how well sold the book?', because every bookbuyer is a potential watcher and people who have not read the book most likely heard of the title, so you got something you can market easier than something that's entirely new (it is the same with movie remakes).

I think the pressure on most authors to resist an adaptation is just too much - unless they really disagree with the take of the filmmakers. Because it also means their book will most likely be reprinted to tie in with the movie release, more people will have heard of the title, which leads to more readers and more sales for them. Books and adaptations feed each other financially.

The main problem with cinema is the duration, in my opinion. When you go with a machete through a book to cut things left, right and in the middle to suit the running time you are essentially destroying a lot. It's like cutting the edges off a painting to fit it to a wall. I think tv series are a much better way for adaptations, provided they're cast and shot almost like movies, as something like Game of Thrones is now, to get to a certain level of quality and not general tv mediocrity. We are now in a time where tv often surpasses cinema in my opinion; if I had a successful novel too long for cinema I would look for it to be adapted to tv first.
 

OKKingFan

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Jun 15, 2013
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I don't think how good the book is has anything to do with how good the movie is or will be.
I always thought "The Talisman" would be a hard book to make into a movie, and not surprisingly, it hasn't. Probably for the best.
Sometimes there's just too much in the book to fit it all into a movie.
I really liked Hearts in Atlantis as a book, but the movie was not good at all.

I think most of the best King movies are from short stories or novellas, as a general rule.
There is not as much material to deal with, so you can fit most or all of it into a movie.
I also always read the book first. I don't want my imagination ruined with the actors in my head.
I suspect most readers on this site are like that.
That said, I always want to see the movie of a King book, just to see how it's treated.
Plus, I love movies, so that combined with King, makes it a must see for me.
It doesn't always turn out very well, but I never regret watching them.

I have my doubts about how good The Dark Tower will be as a movie or set of movies.
I thought the books tried to do too much as it is, so the movie(s) will have to eliminate a lot of stuff.
 

Gerald

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I think most of the best King movies are from short stories or novellas, as a general rule.

I don't feel you can really say that as a rule.
With the exception of 1408, I think the short stories actually make the cheesier movies: The Mangler, Graveyard Shift, Sometimes they come Back, The Night flier, Maximum Overdrive etc.
I think in general the short stories are best done as short films like Cat's Eye, Creepshow, Tales from the Darkside, or Nightmares and Dreamscapes the tv-series.

At least two novellas made good movies: Stand by Me and Shawshank Redemption. Many like The Mist a lot too, although it's not one of my favourites.
But then A Good Marriage wasn't totally great (I still enjoyed it though).

A lot of good movies have come from the novels though:

the original Carrie (ok, it was a short book by Stephen's standards), the original Salem's Lot, the original Shining, Cujo, The Dead Zone, Christine, Pet Sematary, Misery, Dolores Claiborne, The Green Mile. All these were novels which made good movies (though in some cases they were long, like Salem's Lot and The Green Mile).

So it's hard to make rules which length works best as a movie. I would say in general short stories don't, but then 1408 proves me wrong.
It's probably a question of finding out which scenes in the book are most essential, which ones are crucial and hold the book up. And then you can condense the rest of the book to fit the time frame of the movie - a lot will get lost from the book, but when those key scenes are in, the story will stand on its own as a movie.
 

Neesy

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May 24, 2012
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I don't feel you can really say that as a rule.
With the exception of 1408, I think the short stories actually make the cheesier movies: The Mangler, Graveyard Shift, Sometimes they come Back, The Night flier, Maximum Overdrive etc.
I think in general the short stories are best done as short films like Cat's Eye, Creepshow, Tales from the Darkside, or Nightmares and Dreamscapes the tv-series.

At least two novellas made good movies: Stand by Me and Shawshank Redemption. Many like The Mist a lot too, although it's not one of my favourites.
But then A Good Marriage wasn't totally great (I still enjoyed it though).

A lot of good movies have come from the novels though:

the original Carrie (ok, it was a short book by Stephen's standards), the original Salem's Lot, the original Shining, Cujo, The Dead Zone, Christine, Pet Sematary, Misery, Dolores Claiborne, The Green Mile. All these were novels which made good movies (though in some cases they were long, like Salem's Lot and The Green Mile).

So it's hard to make rules which length works best as a movie. I would say in general short stories don't, but then 1408 proves me wrong.
It's probably a question of finding out which scenes in the book are most essential, which ones are crucial and hold the book up. And then you can condense the rest of the book to fit the time frame of the movie - a lot will get lost from the book, but when those key scenes are in, the story will stand on its own as a movie.
I thought the short story (or novella) Big Driver from Full Dark, No Stars was very well done also.

I have yet to see A Good Marriage but will get around to it eventually I hope :adoration:
 

Gerald

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I thought the short story (or novella) Big Driver from Full Dark, No Stars was very well done also.

I liked that one too, but I feel that the really short ones (I'd say up to 30 pages or so) in general don't make great films. The only exception being 1408, which is around 20 pages, which somehow they made into a compelling full film.

Also to film his books well, you simply need really good actors. They're emotionally and psychologically complex characters and stories. All the really good adaptations like Carrie, The Dead Zone, Misery, Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, 1408 had top central performances and actors like Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Christopher Walken, Kathy Bates, Tim Robbins, Morgan Freeman, Tom Hanks, Michael Clarke Duncan, John Cusack. And obviously good screenwriters and directors too, which all these films have.
 

nalaa

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For me it is. I bought Cell on dvd for lack of a blu-ray release, and it is a huge step down. I thought the film was especially beautifully shot and used really great looking locations, so if ever there is a blu-ray I may even upgrade.
 
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recitador

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I can separate my books and movies easily enough, so i don't necessarily mind. Yeah, if it ends up being a train wreck of a movie it can be disappointing, but i still have the books. And i've seen a few movies that made me interested in seeking out the books. Any adaptation of a good novel is a more positive thing than yet another sequel or reboot (there are exceptions to both of those, of course, quality depending. Sone reboots are worthy).

If we can have five movies about an amusement park ride (pirates of the caribbean) and make absolutely horrible stories into films (fifty shades), then yeah, give me all the good stories too.
 
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fljoe0

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Absolutely. And there are, of course, movie adaptations that have been outstanding: The Green Mile, Shawshank, Stand By Me, Misery. DePalma's Carrie was well done, too, and The Mist (aside from the ending--lol). Those screenwriters/directors 'get' Mr. King's sensibility, and have the talent to make the internal visual.

I loved the ending to The Mist movie (but there are just a few of us on that island ;-D)

I think the novellas make the best movie adaptations. The 100-150 page length seems perfect for a screenplay.
 

swiftdog2.0

I tell you one and one makes three...
Mar 16, 2010
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No, great novels shouldn't always be made into movies.

There are a few cases where a meh novel makes a great movie that is better than the source material.

Jaws is a great example of that. The movie stripped away the needless mafia and love affair sub-plots and the story was better for it.

The Howling is another example. The book was OK. It took a loooong time to track down a copy, like 20+ years. Found it lacking when I finally got a chance to read it. The movie still stands up well. I like the werewolf effects here better than the ones in An American Werewolf in London.