Yesterday I posted Christopher Tolkien’s scathing criticism of Peter Jackson’s film based on his father’s Lord of the Rings: “They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25.”
Shortly afterwards, Andrew Porter sent me a link to Flavorwire’s ”Authors’ Funniest Responses to the Film Adaptations of Their Work” with irate quotes from Alan Moore, Harlan Ellison, Ursula K. Le Guin, Richard Matheson and Anne Rice about Hollywood’s misuse of their texts.
Ellison’s vituperative, insightful raging deserves to be read at full length. But here is an appetizer, Alan Moore’s thoughts about Watchmen:
“I find film in its modern form to be quite bullying. It spoon-feeds us, which has the effect of watering down our collective cultural imagination. It is as if we are freshly hatched birds looking up with our mouths open waiting for Hollywood to feed us more regurgitated worms. The Watchmen film sounds like more regurgitated worms. I for one am sick of worms. Can’t we get something else? Perhaps some takeout? Even Chinese worms would be a nice change.”
Not every writer dislikes the screen version of his story. In fact, Frank Herbert was just about the only person in the field happy with the movie made from Dune.
[Thanks to Andrew Porter for the story.]
I’m sure Tokien and his son would have been much happier with the film adaptation of LotR if there had been 13 hours of talking heads, singing in Elvish and exlaining hobbit lineage. But you can’t make money by producing a film that only two people want to see. Similiarly, I suspect Tolkine Sr. would have been farily happy if only his students ever read the book … who else would properly appreciated that LotR was about philology and medieval literature?
I saw the apaptations of EARTHSEA and RIVERWORLD. The focus was not good, as the LeGuin production tried to turn it into a Harry Potter style story, and the Farmer flick stressed different elements. One of the problems on the Farmer adaptations is that the books were geared to people who are vastly literate, and not just coach patato tuber watchers.
You don’t have to say yes when somebody asks to make a film of your book. I’m saying this because it seems to be a little known fact. There are filmable stories and unfilmable ones, if you’ve written an unfilmable one you can just politely say that you’re not interested.
Regardless of how awful the adaptation might be, the original book/source remains.
How many remember the 1988 adaptation of “Nightfall”?
NIGHTFALL was a lame talky boring movie. It is so lame it doesn’t get mentioned with other bad films because it was limp to the point of unmemorable. I did watch it. I let my housemates watch it. The one comment from three of them was “You rented this, right? You didn’t actually buy it?”
Surprisingly, NIGHTFALL has yet to make to DVD.
VHS hell. Let it remain there.