I don’t understand people who get pissy about movies based on books or other movies that differ from the original. If you want the original, what are you bothering with the remake for? Go read the original and let the rest of us enjoy a reimaging!
I think this is more appropriate for Cafe Society than the Pit.
I don’t think you understand how aggravated I am. Specifically with the number of people who get their panties all wadded up because something is ‘not as good as the book’. Shut your whore mouths and read the damn book then.
Heinlen nuts are particularly prone to this brand of cray-cray.
Same thing happens with covers of songs. “(Whoever) has completely RUINED this song!!!”
Newsflash: a cover version doesn’t actually wipe out the original. You can still listen to it and you can choose not to listen to the offending reinterpretation. Amazing, right?
Totally agree that moaning about covers is unnecessary, simply vote with your feet and go back to the original. In general, if you don’t like something, ignoring it is usually the best option. Also agree that a movie does not have to slavishly follow the plot of a book. They are different mediums, and it’s not always appropriate to do so.
However, you should be able to understand people’s frustration with many movie adaptations. We have an emotional attachment to our best-loved stories, and want to see them brought to life. When people are disappointed, they are going to vent. Unlike a cover song, once it’s been filmed, that’s generally it, the chance has been lost.
I agree with what Alka Seltzer says as the explanation for why people get upset over adaptations that they don’t like.
I personally think that’s rather shallow of them; books and movies are different genres, and they’ll handle material in very different ways. Books are only verbal, and movies are primarily visual; they’re different media. It’s not much different from Prokofiev making “Romeo and Juliet” into a ballet or Rossini doing an opera version of “Othello.” Yeah, I recognize that Shakespeare has been around so long that there are zillions of versions of everything, that’s different from a film version of THE HOBBIT, but the principle is the same: different media must (of necessity) handle the same basic material differently. It shouldn’t upset us.
Thing is, that’s not what is going on a lot of the time. In cases such as I, Robot or Starship Troopers, it’s been changed into something that barely resembles the original at all, and goes against the actual point of the original. Labeling it by the name of the original work at that point comes across as simply deceptive advertising, designed to draw in people who will expect and desire something completely different than what the movie delivers. Making a movie that doesn’t even resemble the works of Asimov and just slapping some names from his stories onto it doesn’t make a movie named I, Robot a filmed version of the story I, Robot; it just makes it a movie unrelated to Asimov’s stories with a clumsy advertising gimmick attached. An advertising gimmick which will only draw in the people who are likely to be offended.
If the filmmakers want to make a completely different thing, and not associste it with a given book, then why do they bother purchasing the title and promoting it as that work.
Yes, I realize that these are completely different art forms, and they have different properties and capabilities. But nobody complains when the film pretty faithfully mirrors the original text, as happens most of the time. Some works were even written to be filmable – and I’m not talking about recent trash thrillers – Of mice and Men was deliberately written that way, and Shaw rewrote scenes of Pygmalion to be filmable.
When people are upset at things like Starship Troopers, as noted above, it’s because the film has so completely changed not merely the story, but also the underlying philosophy and the attitude toward science and technology that lies at the root of the genre. I’ve never seen so complete a disconnect between the source and the product. I, Robot isn’t much better. This goes way beyond Taking Advantage of the Medium’s Properties or Altering the Story so that the Film is Practical and Fits the Expected Time Limits. If they could produce film versions of Of Mice and Men and Gone With the Wind and Lord of the Rings that are reasonably good translations of the original novel to the screen, allowing room for the filmmaker’s artistic muscle to stretch yet not departing violently from the story, conception, philosophy, and style of the original, then why is it absurd to be upset when, for instance, Barrytmore’s *The Sea Beast[/i has a victorious Captain Ahab return home to his sweetheart?
The victorians changed Romeo and Juliet so it had a happy ending. Hollywood would do the same if they thought there was a buck in it.
If the OP is exclusively complaining about nitpicking movie adaptions where details or aspects have been changed, then I agree with them. However, this doesn’t seem to be the case from their second post. Many times, film-makers make changes for commercial rather than artistic reasons, and that’s what rankles with fans of the original work.
My example is The Dark is Rising series of childrens fantasy books. I greatly enjoyed these growing up, and still dig them out from time to time. In the wake of Harry Potter’s success, the second book was adapted into a film. The result was not good, it has a score of 14% on Rotten Tomatoes, and 39% on Metacritic.
It’s a complete waste of the source material.
There’s nothing wrong with remaking a story for film, or remaking a film. But you have to do it well. You can’t turn in a bad movie and whine that people should shut up.
If you’re adapting a book into a movie, then you need to make decisions about what to change and what to leave the same. If you make bad decisions, you end up with a bad movie. And part of the point of making a movie of a book is to dramatize the book. If you don’t understand the work, you end up with nonsense like Starship Troopers (which failed on all levels*).
When remaking a movie, the point is to make a better movie. There’s little point to one otherwise (other than to use a recognizable name to sucker in an audience).
You say that if you like the original, watch the original. I’d say that if you like the remake, watch the original, too. You’ll like it more.
*I keep imagining the movie executives who watch it for the first time and realize they have a steaming pile of crap on their hands.
Executive One: “What can we do to make this work?”
Executive Two: “I know! We can call it satire!”
Executive One: “Great idea!”
Paul Verhoeven: “What is satire?”
not gonna comment one way or the other on the aesthetic qualities of Starship Troopers, but Verhoeven knew exactly what was up. On the DVD commentary, he speaks very openly about the film’s satirical intent.
Actually you don’t have to do it well. If you want the movie to be successful, doing it well probably won’t hurt but if your only goal is to remake a movie, you can do it well or poorly or anywhere along the continuum you like. Certainly there are movies that I think are crap but get this, it’s not because they ruined my favorite story. If your only complaint about a film is that it’s not like the original then you are dumb and should feel bad.
Dammit, if the Earth’s magnetic field gets all screwed up from dead authors spinning in their graves, I’m holding you personally responsible.
Which was recorded after the movie had been kicking around awhile, right? I imagine he’d have said something different if he’d recorded it while going through pre-production.
I personally saw a lot of great bits of satire in ST, and enjoyed it quite a lot, but I wasn’t familiar with the source material when I went into it so I had nothing to complain about except the cheesy dialogue and acting.
As has been explained above, frequently that’s not why people object to remakes.
Would you have a problem with a version of Romeo & Juliet where they are happily married at the end? A 1984 where Winston Smith joins a revolutionary movement and overthrows Big Brother? A Star Wars where Greedo shoots first?
If the answer to any of the above is yes, then you should be able to understand where people are coming from.
In the case of I, Robot, it’s more like filming The Red Badge of Courage and titling it Gone With the Wind because it’s about the Civil War.
I don’t see people getting up in arms about cases like The Osterman Weekend or Ice Station Zebra or Diamonds are Forever or the Spy Who Loved Me not closely resembling the original – in those cases there’s hardly any resemblance beyond the title. (Why is it mostly espionage and science fiction novels that seem to elicit this treatment?) These are relatively minor works that most people don’t have a deep attachment to.
But when it’s something of greater moment to people – Starship Troopers was controversial as soon as it came out in 1959, and the cause of much verbal wrangling. I, Robot was the first collection of Asimov’s ground-breaking Robot series. it wasn’t the first to present sympathetic, non-human-threatening robots, but it did have an interesting approach to the issue (which the movie completely did a 180 on, giving us hordes of human-threatening robots). Bonfire of the Vanities was such a severe disappointment to people that there’s an entire best-selling book devoted to how the movie came to be the way it is (the Devil’s Candy). Even SF fans haven’t gone that far.
I wouldn’t mind a Star Wars where Greedo shoots first or where…ugh…Anakin Skywalker’s ghost looks like Hayden Christiansen IF I actually DID have the original source material to go back to. But this is a rare case where the filmmaker actually went back and changed the source material itself. As it is the “original source material” now consists of detereorating VHS tapes from the '80s.
Anyway, I’m not all that up in arms about this stuff I guess. It’s annoying, I personally disagree that the changes were needed, but I still watch the *Star Wars *movies from time to time.
I wouldn’t have a problem with something like this (and might even prefer it to the original) if it were done well—but it wouldn’t be Romeo & Juliet.
I think what bothers me about remakes is that they give the wrong impression to people who have seen the movie but not read the book. I weep at the thought that someone could see, for example, Tim Burton’s recent movie and come away thinking that that’s what Alice in Wonderland is.
Considering how freely mixed Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass are in most of popular culture, I’d say the majority of people don’t actually know what’s in that book.
Indeed. This is the guy that directed Robocop almost a decade earlier. He knows all about satire and anyone claiming otherwise when referencing Starship Troopers is showing, all IMHO obviously, that they simply have an axe to grind. By all means, moan that you didn’t get the film that you wanted, but claiming that Verhoeven in some way didn’t know exactly what he was doing with regards to the satirical content is simply ignorant.