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(Den Of Geek)   So just how faithful should book and comic adaptations be?   (denofgeek.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, comic adaptations, J. Michael Straczynski, Darren Aronofsky, Trainspotting, adaptations, Iron Man  
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3439 clicks; posted to Entertainment » on 11 Apr 2014 at 12:10 PM (2 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-04-11 09:31:47 AM  
Very. Next question, please.
 
2014-04-11 09:38:46 AM  
As long as it sticks to the core premise they can be as creative with the story as they want.
 
2014-04-11 09:54:32 AM  
If the book is fiction, have at it, get as creative as you want.  Non-fiction, not so much.
That's why I had no issue with the giants in "Noah"
 
2014-04-11 10:28:26 AM  

Sid Vicious' Corpse: If the book is fiction, have at it, get as creative as you want.  Non-fiction, not so much.
That's why I had no issue with the giants in "Noah"


Oh, snap
 
2014-04-11 10:36:55 AM  
Jaws was a much, much better movie than book. I thought the book and movie for Jurassic Park were both good but very different. But they had to be. The book was pretty much R rated and there's no way in hell Spielberg was going to make an R rated dinosaur movie.

I'm not much of a comic book guy anymore so I don't care or even notice when a movie isn't faithful to the comics but I know people who very much care. I know a guy who almost had an aneurysm over the whole Mandarin thing.
 
2014-04-11 10:38:01 AM  
Go look at the Avengers cycle films.
That nails it just right.
 
2014-04-11 10:38:58 AM  

MaudlinMutantMollusk: Sid Vicious' Corpse: If the book is fiction, have at it, get as creative as you want.  Non-fiction, not so much.
That's why I had no issue with the giants in "Noah"

Oh, snap


Oh come on, even most religious people don't take the Noah's Ark story literally.
 
2014-04-11 10:39:22 AM  

Sid Vicious' Corpse: That's why I had no issue with the giants in "Noah"


Noah was too long and the last four hours of it had nothing to offer. If you get up and leave just as he closes the door on the ark you get a reasonably ok film (still not great) but that's all that could save it.
 
2014-04-11 10:41:34 AM  
Somewhat.

As long as the basics are there, the characterizations are correct, and changes are t made just so the filmmakers can point to the diversity of their cast or "make their own mark", everything else is just details.

I mean, should Tony Stark have had his heart damaged and built his first armor during the Vietnam War? Should Reed Richards and Ben Grimm still have served in WWII?

Of course not.
 
2014-04-11 10:53:20 AM  
Books and film are different media. If a book has a lot of internal dialog or a lot of asides with narration, that can be hard to adapt faithfully. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a good example. That book is impossible to faithfully adapt to a conventional film. I thought they did a fairly decent job. Apparently I'm alone on this.
 
2014-04-11 11:17:55 AM  
Adaptations are under no obligation to be very faithful. They are separate stories that should be just independently of the source material.
 
2014-04-11 11:27:27 AM  

Mugato: Books and film are different media. If a book has a lot of internal dialog or a lot of asides with narration, that can be hard to adapt faithfully. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a good example. That book is impossible to faithfully adapt to a conventional film. I thought they did a fairly decent job. Apparently I'm alone on this.


I loved the movie, so you are not alone. I thought they got the spirit of the books, if not exceptionally faithful to the story. Martin Freeman was perfect casting.

I noticed that someone walked out of the theater when the whale fell out of the sky, so obviously not everyone loved it. I have fond memories of reading the whole series in high school, but never read them since. Therefore I went into the movie with a nostalgic haze of forgetfulness.

Mugato: Jaws was a much, much better movie than book. I thought the book and movie for Jurassic Park were both good but very different. But they had to be. The book was pretty much R rated and there's no way in hell Spielberg was going to make an R rated dinosaur movie.

I'm not much of a comic book guy anymore so I don't care or even notice when a movie isn't faithful to the comics but I know people who very much care. I know a guy who almost had an aneurysm over the whole Mandarin thing.


All of this ^^. The Jurassic Park book was much more cynical, with a message of "don't fark with nature." I never read the Jaws book, but the movie is genius.

I thought the Mandarin was hilarious and this IS a comic book movie, right? My main problem was the real bad guy was not actually Rebecca Hall, and I thought they chickened out of making her the Big Bad behind everything. I was never that interested in superhero comics and never read them, though.

Look at the Harry Potter movie adaptations vs the books. They are not all faithful, yet contain real gems. For example, in movie #4, there is the great scene where they learn to dance for the ball. That wasn't in the book, and yet it illustrated the angsty, normal teen vibe of the movie characters. In fact, after seeing all the movies (three times), and reading all the books (four times), I think that the movies did a better job with normal teen interactions than JK Rowling. They both have their pros and cons.

Also, and I know that lots of people feel strongly about this, but I thought the Watchmen movie was good. I watched the movie and then read the book, and one of the main things that struck me was the ugly, whiny misogyny of the female book characters. I really barely have heard of Alan Moore before 'V for Vendetta', and never read any of the books before Watchmen, and I'm not that enthusiastic about reading any more of his work. But I thought the V movie was good, too.
 
2014-04-11 11:32:24 AM  
If they're going to use the name of the book, they should maintain connection with the core material and not screw with it too much.  (Starship Troopers).   They also need to stick close enough to the primary plot points so as not to ruin what made the source material so enjoyable.  (Ender's Game).  Don't change up things just to change them up.

Granted there may be things that the movie can improve on the source when the filmmaker deviates from the story line because the source gets lost.  (The Mist).
 
2014-04-11 11:36:16 AM  

johnnieconnie: I never read the Jaws book


Yeah, don't. There's a whole subplot about the Amity mafia, the townspeople kill Brody's cat, Hooper has an affair with Brody's wife and is later eaten and at the end the shark just gets tired and dies. Whereas Spielberg blew it the fark up.

Shame about HGTTG. I would have liked to have seen Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
 
2014-04-11 11:42:06 AM  
Anywhere from very little to extremely. As long as the output is entertaining, I really don't give a shiat.
 
2014-04-11 11:42:27 AM  
Well all the kids in "Enders Game" didn't walk around naked, so that was kind of disappointing.

/what do you mean have a seat right over there?
 
2014-04-11 11:45:15 AM  

Mugato: johnnieconnie: I never read the Jaws book

Yeah, don't. There's a whole subplot about the Amity mafia,


The Amity mafia?? lol

small towns...there's always a lot going on, isn't there?
 
2014-04-11 11:57:34 AM  
It's all about telling a good story. If you take the source material and deviate wildly but still put out an entertaining story, it's all good. Conversely, if one films a book chapter by chapter and it ends up sucking, it's a fail.

Good story always trumps faithful adaptation.
 
2014-04-11 12:08:05 PM  
Depends on what you want to change.  Certain defining characteristic, like Uncle Ben or the Waynes being dead are things that shouldn't be messed with.
 
2014-04-11 12:12:06 PM  
A more important question in making a movie is: do we really need yet another telling of Superman's/Batman's/Spiderman's origin? What the fark are we going to say about this character that hasn't already been said? Maybe we should move on to some new character that hasn't already been done to death.
 
2014-04-11 12:14:42 PM  

The_Knarf: As long as it sticks to the core premise they can be as creative with the story as they want.


This. The Jason Bourne films have very little to do with the books they were based on, but they were excellent movies.

Goldfinger is another good example.
 
2014-04-11 12:22:44 PM  

The_Knarf: As long as it sticks to the core premise they can be as creative with the story as they want.


Yep.  I remember Bryan Singer getting raked over the coals for the changes he made to X-Men prior to release.  Then the movie came out.
 
2014-04-11 12:24:19 PM  

Mugato: If a book has a lot of internal dialog or a lot of asides with narration, that can be hard to adapt faithfully. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a good example. That book is impossible to faithfully adapt to a conventional film. I thought they did a fairly decent job. Apparently I'm alone on this.


If you are going to offer an example of a book that doesn't translate well because of narration, I wouldn't use a book that is itself an adaptation of a radio show that had basically the same narration.  Or that had been made into a TV show that suffered from a failure of special effects, but also had the same narration.  Hitchhikers could totally be made into a great film - heck  they even got Stephen Fry to narrate.  They just didn't use him enough.

/I feel that the Hitchhikers Guide film was much like my prom night - all promise, no delivery.  And Zooey Deschanel
//Some of that may be a lie.
 
2014-04-11 12:24:31 PM  
"fans of the Bible"

lol
 
2014-04-11 12:31:38 PM  
What the Bible thumpers wanted to see: a world of evil people being drowned because God deemed them too far gone to save.
What the movie should have showed: a mother and baby being drowned.

Dick move, God.
 
2014-04-11 12:31:43 PM  

Teiritzamna: f you are going to offer an example of a book that doesn't translate well because of narration, I wouldn't use a book that is itself an adaptation of a radio show that had basically the same narration.  Or that had been made into a TV show that suffered from a failure of special effects, but also had the same narration.  Hitchhikers could totally be made into a great film - heck  they even got Stephen Fry to narrate.  They just didn't use him enough.


That's why I said "conventional movie". I saw some of the tv show and there would be entire scenes where they stop the story and the narrator goes off on some unrelated tangent. That would be a mess if they tried that in a feature film.
 
2014-04-11 12:31:53 PM  
Not too faithful otherwise films like the Dark Knight series might not get made.
 
2014-04-11 12:33:01 PM  

Mugato: MaudlinMutantMollusk: Sid Vicious' Corpse: If the book is fiction, have at it, get as creative as you want.  Non-fiction, not so much.
That's why I had no issue with the giants in "Noah"

Oh, snap

Oh come on, even most religious people don't take the Noah's Ark story literally.


Wanna bet?  I work with a few of those ultra religious types and they absolutely believe it.  They even talk about the search for the ark and how the Grand Canyon was formed by the receding flood waters and how the earth is maybe at most 20,000 years old.  Seriously.  Makes my brain hurt.

And recently I spent lunchtimes with a metal pick carefully exposing a Priscacara fossil that I picked up at the Ullrich Fossil Beds.  One of the religious types asked what I was doing.  When I told them I was working on a 50 million year old tropical fish from the high plains of Wyoming I could almost hear his brain come to a screeching halt.  He left without a word.
 
2014-04-11 12:39:31 PM  

AxL sANe: Wanna bet?  I work with a few of those ultra religious types and they absolutely believe it.


Of course there's the lunatic fringe, that's why I said "most". I know some religious people, even a minister and they take stories like Noah as allegories. But there are other stories that they do believe in.

I think Noah is the least "believable" because most of the other stories from the parting of the Red Sea to Christ's resurrection you can chalk up to "God did it". But Noah is just a mortal (a drunk at that) who built this ridiculously big boat and somehow rounded up several of every single species, some even we haven't discovered yet. I guess I'm saying that there isn't enough "God did it" to make it "believable".
 
2014-04-11 12:39:37 PM  

Mugato: I saw some of the tv show and there would be entire scenes where they stop the story and the narrator goes off on some unrelated tangent.


I liked the books and I thought the movie was about as good of an adaptation that we're going to get, but I thought the TV series was faithful to a fault. That's also why I wasn't too concerned with Tom Bombadil getting the ax from the LOTR movies: he would've easily have added another 30 minutes of footage and slowed the pacing down to a crawl.

A movie based on a (comic) book should be faithful, but there's definitely limits to what will translate between the mediums. I wouldn't expect an action movie to translate that well to book form.
 
2014-04-11 12:46:06 PM  
How about when they actually change the genre of the original story? Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH was science fiction for kids, with a real reason why the animals (who did not wear clothes) could talk. The Secret of NIMH turned it into a fantasy with a magic gemstone as the plot McGuffin (not to mention turning an admirable character into a whiskers-twirling villain).

Imagine if the Jackson The Lord of the Rings III: The Return of the King had had as its climactic scene a bit where Frodo reclaims the ring from Gollumn before the latter falls into the Cracks of Doom, then Frodo puts on the ring and is about to be taken over by it, Sauron becomes aware of it and heads out with all the recalled Nazgûl to reclaim the Ring, and all seems lost ― but then Sauron, the Nazgûl, and Barad-Dûr are all suddenly vaporized into subatomic particles by a phaser blast from the U.S.S. Enterprise 1701-E from orbit, saving the day. That's how much of a genre shift the Secret of NIMH was.
 
2014-04-11 12:46:19 PM  
The main reason I don't have a problem with how Hitchhiker's Guide turned out was that Adams himself made it a point to have every version (radio play, book, tv, movie) all be different. He thought it was hilarious to wind up the continuity geeks.
 
2014-04-11 12:47:33 PM  

Mugato: Books and film are different media. If a book has a lot of internal dialog or a lot of asides with narration, that can be hard to adapt faithfully. Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a good example. That book is impossible to faithfully adapt to a conventional film. I thought they did a fairly decent job. Apparently I'm alone on this.


I agree. I also liked the BBC TV Series.
 
2014-04-11 12:49:19 PM  
As long as they don't just use the name of the book. I'm looking at you World War Z...
 
2014-04-11 12:49:28 PM  
"Based on" a book is one thing.  As mentioned above with examples like Starship Troopers and NIMH,making it a completely different story is another.  Respect for the original source material must be there.  I remember when my oldest discovered his inner movie critic at an early age--one of his favorite books at the time was made into a movie and he spent the entire film in awed disbelief that they had so thoroughly demolished the story in favor of one-dimensional hollywood tropes.
 
2014-04-11 12:53:40 PM  

ManateeGag: Depends on what you want to change.  Certain defining characteristic, like Uncle Ben or the Waynes being dead are things that shouldn't be messed with.


yeah waynes world 3 was such a bummer because of that
 
2014-04-11 01:02:05 PM  
I would say that an adaptation should be as faithful as required to tell a good story.  If you can tell a good story with none of the original source material and just the characters or ideas, do it.  If telling a good story requires complete fidelity to the source, do that.  Hell, sometimes being less than faithful can actually make the adaptation improve on the original (I'm looking at you, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix).
 
2014-04-11 01:04:44 PM  
If your going to make a movie about a book or comic, stick to the damn book or comic.  Otherwise, your just stealing their ideas.
 
2014-04-11 01:07:03 PM  
The most baffling book adaptation I've ever seen was Jar Head. It's like they strove to take all the entertaining stuff out of the movie.
 
2014-04-11 01:15:48 PM  
Wasn't the only similarity between the book and film versions of The Lawnmower Man the title?
 
2014-04-11 01:15:55 PM  
I finally saw Man of Steel this week. Yeah, there was some cheesy stuff in it but overall it was an enjoyable movie. It is as good as the original movies and I watched those in the theater. Many of the fan boy arguments against it could be made against the Avengers movie too.
 
2014-04-11 01:20:44 PM  

COMALite J: Imagine if the Jackson The Lord of the Rings III: The Return of the King had had as its climactic scene a bit where Frodo reclaims the ring from Gollumn before the latter falls into the Cracks of Doom, then Frodo puts on the ring and is about to be taken over by it, Sauron becomes aware of it and heads out with all the recalled Nazgûl to reclaim the Ring, and all seems lost ― but then Sauron, the Nazgûl, and Barad-Dûr are all suddenly vaporized into subatomic particles by a phaser blast from the U.S.S. Enterprise 1701-E from orbit, saving the day. That's how much of a genre shift the Secret of NIMH was.


There was an early trailer for Fellowship that made it seem like Jackson had turned it into a horror movie. I was worried there for a bit.
 
2014-04-11 01:23:33 PM  

COMALite J: How about when they actually change the genre of the original story? Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH was science fiction for kids, with a real reason why the animals (who did not wear clothes) could talk. The Secret of NIMH turned it into a fantasy with a magic gemstone as the plot McGuffin (not to mention turning an admirable character into a whiskers-twirling villain).

Imagine if the Jackson The Lord of the Rings III: The Return of the King had had as its climactic scene a bit where Frodo reclaims the ring from Gollumn before the latter falls into the Cracks of Doom, then Frodo puts on the ring and is about to be taken over by it, Sauron becomes aware of it and heads out with all the recalled Nazgûl to reclaim the Ring, and all seems lost ― but then Sauron, the Nazgûl, and Barad-Dûr are all suddenly vaporized into subatomic particles by a phaser blast from the U.S.S. Enterprise 1701-E from orbit, saving the day. That's how much of a genre shift the Secret of NIMH was.


That's a better ending than the eagles.
 
2014-04-11 01:30:29 PM  
COMALite J:
Imagine if the Jackson The Lord of the Rings III: The Return of the King had had as its climactic scene a bit where Frodo reclaims the ring from Gollumn before the latter falls into the Cracks of Doom, then Frodo puts on the ring and is about to be taken over by it, Sauron becomes aware of it and heads out with all the recalled Nazgûl to reclaim the Ring, and all seems lost ― but then Sauron, the Nazgûl, and Barad-Dûr are all suddenly vaporized into subatomic particles by a phaser blast from the U.S.S. Enterprise 1701-E from orbit, saving the day...

...Go on...
 
2014-04-11 01:31:01 PM  

hammer85: That's a better ending than the eagles.


Or the bedroom romping hobbits. Or the sulking hobbits in the bar. Or the hobbits sailing away on the boat to....wherever.

....all of that that yet they couldn't be arsed to show what happened to Christopher Lee's character. And I don't want to hear any director's cut shiat.
 
2014-04-11 01:33:31 PM  
As far as I'm concerned as long as they get the personalities and some of their main features or backstories right, I really don't care. Hell, they don't even need to keep ethnicity/racial traits unless it's truly important to the character. Take Nick Fury, nothing about his background said he had to be a white guy, just so long as he runs SHIELD, has an eyepatch and is kind of a badass, the rest doesn't matter. Same for Kingpin in Daredevil. He just needed to be a big guy, have the cane, and be a mob boss kind of character, and I thought Michael Clarke Duncan did a decent job in the role.

As far as storylines, it's all up in the air. They can make a totally new one, or take elements from different storylines and mash them up as long as it turns out ok.
 
2014-04-11 01:38:38 PM  

PunkTiger: Very. Next question, please.


And we're done.
 
2014-04-11 01:40:36 PM  
Fox and Marvel have, for the most part, carved out a niche market for superhero films that redefined expectations.

Prior to the release of X-Men, most of the fans (some being myself and my circle of friends that enjoyed and looked forward to X-Men movies) expected movies to faithfully adapt and present our beloved comic characters on-screen. We thought they'd be an excellent movie that would simply place the established characters and stories on screen as they appeared in the comics.

We were let down. We picked apart all of the changes, "mistakes," and more. Daredevil sucked. Ang Lee HULK sucked, Fantastic Four was barely agreeable...and so on.

Then time passed and the movies not only became more popular, but the effort put into preserving the characters presented became more of a focus. Nolan's Batman, Favreau's Iron Man, Brannaugh's Thor, and so on. Sure, the details were massaged, the characters and costumes altered, but what made the characters unique, likeable, and enjoyable was preserved.

It didn't matter that they weren't 100% recreations of the comics, as long as they were just another way of telling the same story in another form of media and a shorter timeframe, the audiences were fine. The comics became source material, not the script.

Marvel's done well. Fox is still fumbling. Bay ruined Transformers in dozens of ways. G.I.Joe was a decent attempt, but let camp interfere with quality.
 
2014-04-11 01:46:21 PM  

Falcon Hunter: Prior to the release of X-Men, most of the fans (some being myself and my circle of friends that enjoyed and looked forward to X-Men movies) expected movies to faithfully adapt and present our beloved comic characters on-screen


You must not have seen the Burton or Schumacker Batman films if you had those expectations. And none of Nolan's Batman films had villains anything like their comic book counterparts. Maybe Scarecrow, I don't know much about him.
 
2014-04-11 01:57:10 PM  
I am really glad the ending to RotK was changed in the movie to Frodo fighting with Gollum to get the ring back after Gollum bit off his finger.  In the book, Gollum bit Frodo's finger, danced around, lost his balance and fell into the lava - lame.
 
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