View Full Version : Fran Walsh agrees with "it's not like the book" whiners (more or less)
12-16-2003, 12:10 AM
In the writers/director commentary track of TTT (over the credits) Fran says:All cinema story telling, to a degree, is shallow--that's the nature of the medium. You've got 2 or 3 hours to present a world and a dense story with a hundred themes and a dense back-story (in this instance) and 22 characters. So you can only really have the veneer of it, you can't really have anything that comes close to the depth of the books, or the experience of the books. So I think what we attempted to do was to use the language of the books where we could, and to certainly invoke them--the iconic images--where we could, but to keep the story telling very much…to modernize it, if you like, in terms of cinema language. So we didn't, for example, use the style of story telling that was in the books between these different after-the-fact story telling of Sam and Frodo and then a chunk of the Aragoran story. We completely intercut it--that was a far more kind of immediate and engaging way to connect it to the audience. You can't really hope to satisfy people who adore this book with a movie. You can only ever give them a sense of what might have been; that's all a film can do. I think in that sense films…well, they're entertainment; they're just not going to give you the pleasure that a book can give you. We felt the entire year that we didn't have the time that we should have had and we'd lost so much because of the junkets for the Academy and going to the backers and we'd done all the things that you're supposed to do to support your movie but at the expense of The Two Towers.
C K Dexter Haven
12-16-2003, 06:53 AM
I agree, I think that what she says is obvious.
A book tells a story with words that are static on a page. A movie tells a story primarily with pictures (although also with sounds) that flow in time.
This poses several profound differences:
(1) The person reading a book can stop, ponder, go back and reread a particuarly wonderful passage. Or can skip a lengthy description that seems boring. The person watching a movie must follow the movie's flow (ignoring the question of DVDs where you can skip ahead of pop back). If a book has one or two boring paragraphs, but otherwise tells an exciting story, no one cares. If a movie has five or ten boring minutes, people get restless.
(2) Books can include long conversations. One character can tell another character about his past adventures, or what's happening poliltically, orwhatever. Conversations can go on for pages and pages, and still be interesting, because they're just more words. Movies with long conversations get boring. Audiences don't want to listen to talking heads for very long. The engaging movie has to SHOW people what happened, not TELL them what happened.
(3) Similarly, a book can tell us inner thoughts or emotions. An omniscient narrator can fill in lots of information about what the character is thinking or feeling, and why. Again, it's just words. A movie that has a character "thinking" in words (the actor speaks dialog but the character on screen isn't talking) is trite and boring. The movie has to SHOW us the thoughts or emotions -- through actions, or facial expressions, or intercutting, or whatever.
(4) A book might take many paragraphs to describe a scene or setting or animal or person -- a snowstorm on a mountaintop, for instance, or a knight in armor, or a tree-like being. A movie SHOWS you that scene or person or creature in an instant... and with far more detail than a book could ever provide. You SEE on the screen what the book has tried to describe in words. Many pages of description in a book can be condensed into one. Thus, there are some parts of a movie that will move much faster than the same part of a book.
(5) A book might describe some action in a few words, that a movie must show in many minutes of screen time. "So he jumped over the railing, slew the four orcs with his flaming sword, and leaped on his horse." In reading time, that's a second or two. In screen time, that's many minutes. So, some parts of a movie move much slower than the same part of a book.
It's impossible to make a book perfectly into a movie, and it's impossible to write a book that interprets a movie. They're different mediums. One might as well complain that the song "Somewhere over the Rainbow" is not the same as a rainbow.
12-16-2003, 07:55 AM
Books can also last a long time. It takes most people a day or two of solid reading to get through a book like Fellowship. People are willing to invest great chunks of their lives in reading Robert Jordan. You really can't make a movie any longer than 3 hours (or three and a little bit, like ROTK). The audience gets antsy, the theatre owners want to turn over their seats more often, the producers don't want to fund more than that.
ROTK runs almost 3 1/2 hours. If they went back and put in the parts they left out, you'd have six or more hours of movie. So choices need to be made. I'd love to have seen Tom Bombadil in Fellowship, but I can't for the life of me figure out where I'd cut to get an extra half an hour to stick him in and do him any justice whatsoever.
12-16-2003, 07:58 AM
So, does she explain where linking Arwen's health to the rise in Sauron's power came from in the book?
There's a difference between adapting book to movie and just making up parts so they can throw in more screen time for their expensive supporting actors...
12-16-2003, 08:00 AM
Sorry. Wrong movie. I just realized you were talking about the TTT extended edition and not ROTK... :smack:
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