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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:06 pm 
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Ingólemo
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Al wrote:
I thought Van Helsing was easily the worst movie I have seen in 20 years. No exceptions. There was nothing of merit in it.

It depends on what kind of movie you were planning on seeing. For me I wasn't looking for substance just some nice action, cool moves and creepy houses. Van Helsing provided that pretty well.

The Prisoner of Azkaban seems to be a very interesting case because it seems that either people liked it or hated it. Finding out why might help us understand what makes a successful adaptation...


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 1:38 pm 
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of Vinyamar
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<Van Helsing Osgiliation>

I was planning on seeing a fun action flick. I got the worst mish mash of plotlines I've ever seen and action scenes that required not so much "suspension of disbelief" as "frontal lobotomy".

I really, really wanted to enjoy it. I just couldn't. Youy give me Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsdale and I'll forgive pretty much anything. Its a measure of how appalling the film was that even they couldn't save it for me.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 2:53 pm 
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No, sorry, Alatar, you give me Hugh Jackman. :) Though I didn't see Van Helsing, even so—my sons warned me away.

Kate Beckinsale's 1996 version of Emma was far better than Gwyneth Paltrow's, for my money. More heartfelt, less arch.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:13 pm 
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superwizard wrote:
The Prisoner of Azkaban seems to be a very interesting case because it seems that either people liked it or hated it. Finding out why might help us understand what makes a successful adaptation...


Successful adaptation, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:47 pm 
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I liked Prisoner of Ak, and I've never actually cracked open a HP book.

Here's a rule:

No adaptation should require knowing the source material to like or understand it. Someone who does know the source material may well get things out of it a non-fan won't, but you shouldn't have to have done any homework before you go to the theater.

Here's its corollary:

The process should be transparent to the non-fan audience. If I don't know something is adapted from a book, I shouldn't walk out of the theatre thinking "that came from a book," reading the credits notwithstanding.

Now--how to acheive this?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:51 pm 
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Quote:
Now--how to acheive this?


By writing the movie as if the book didn't exist?

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Last edited by yovargas on Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 4:51 pm 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
superwizard wrote:
The Prisoner of Azkaban seems to be a very interesting case because it seems that either people liked it or hated it. Finding out why might help us understand what makes a successful adaptation...


Successful adaptation, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.

Why of course V :D but there are some adaptations which are generally more successful than others...


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:04 pm 
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Yes. Peter Jackson's adaptation of the Lord of the Rings is probably the most successful adaptation of all time.

:devil:

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:08 pm 
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great, now we have to define successful :P

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:44 pm 
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success 
[suhk-ses]

–noun 1. the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.
2. the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
3. a successful performance or achievement: The play was an instant success.
4. a person or thing that is successful: She was a great success on the talk show.

Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.0.1)
Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2006.

:D


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 5:45 pm 
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There's the rub, in more than one way.

As films, they were among the most successful in history in terms of box office, critical acclaim, major awards. . . . That really can't be disputed. The general audience obviously loved them, and so did the industry and many of the critics.

Artistically, though, the door opens wide. There are knowledgeable people who admire them, and other knowledgeable people who despise them, with a whole range between.

In terms of their success as adaptations of Tolkien, the range gets even wider, because that "success" depends on how well your experience of the films matched what was important to you about the books. Again we have people who think they're perfect, people who think they have problems but love them anyway (= me), people who were bored by them, people who think they were good films but lousy Tolkien, and people who hate everything about them.

This summary of TORC Movies 2001–2004 was brought to you by "Let the Hobbit Happen."

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:03 pm 
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Primula Baggins wrote:
Artistically, though, the door opens wide. There are knowledgeable people who admire them, and other knowledgeable people who despise them, with a whole range between.


This applies as much to the book as to the movies. If not more so.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:17 pm 
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Alatar wrote:
You give me Hugh Jackman and Kate Beckinsdale and I'll forgive pretty much anything. Its a measure of how appalling the film was that even they couldn't save it for me.


Just out of curiosity, could Kate save Pearl Harbour for you?

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:19 pm 
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All true. Now can we not talk about it anymore? ;)

yovargas, you have your finger on something there. In a very real way, the best adaptations are those where the source might as well NOT exist, if you didn't know it did...and yet accomplish at least some of the things the source material did for both those intimately familiar with it and those less so.

I think that trying to figure out what aspects of a work are essential, and then trying to duplicate them in another medium, is the wrong way to go about it, precisely because the notion of what IS essential is so subjective. It's like dissecting a frog to see how it works and then building another from some of the parts you think look important. That frog won't hop.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:21 pm 
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yovargas wrote:
Primula Baggins wrote:
Artistically, though, the door opens wide. There are knowledgeable people who admire them, and other knowledgeable people who despise them, with a whole range between.


This applies as much to the book as to the movies. If not more so.


True, yov! But I think we can assume anyone who hated the book either skipped the movies or judged them as movies alone—they wouldn't care about them as adaptations at all.

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:31 pm 
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axordil wrote:
All true. Now can we not talk about it anymore? ;)


I'd vote for that. After all, we could always start a thread in Shibboleth about revisiting the films three years later. Otherwise PJ's LotR will swallow this thread.

axordil wrote:
yovargas, you have your finger on something there. In a very real way, the best adaptations are those where the source might as well NOT exist, if you didn't know it did...and yet accomplish at least some of the things the source material did for both those intimately familiar with it and those less so.


I'd definitely put Master and Commander in this category. Also Blade Runner, the recent Hornblower TV films, and (based on my son's judgment) seveeral of the Tom Clancy adaptations (The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, A Clear and Present Danger—all of which I enjoyed as films, but I can't read Tom Clancy novels).

axordil wrote:
I think that trying to figure out what aspects of a work are essential, and then trying to duplicate them in another medium, is the wrong way to go about it, precisely because the notion of what IS essential is so subjective. It's like dissecting a frog to see how it works and then building another from some of the parts you think look important. That frog won't hop.


:agree:

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― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:34 pm 
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There really is two basic camps - those that think that a successful adaptation is one that captures the original work as closely as possible, and those that think that a successful adaptation is one that uses the different medium to present the material in a different light.

From my perspective, a movie that simply parrots a book and repeats its themes and "message" is a waste of time, because almost by definition the book is going to better at presenting its own original perspective.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:34 pm 
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axordil wrote:
All true. Now can we not talk about it anymore? ;)

yovargas, you have your finger on something there. In a very real way, the best adaptations are those where the source might as well NOT exist, if you didn't know it did...and yet accomplish at least some of the things the source material did for both those intimately familiar with it and those less so.

I think that trying to figure out what aspects of a work are essential, and then trying to duplicate them in another medium, is the wrong way to go about it, precisely because the notion of what IS essential is so subjective. It's like dissecting a frog to see how it works and then building another from some of the parts you think look important. That frog won't hop.


This is very true, that's why two different adaptors could make great adaptations that are very different films.

You could make a Prizoner of Azkaban movie that's ALL about quidditch and winning the house Cup... and that could be a very good movie, capturing what many think is the essential part of that book.

That's why discussion what is a good adaptation, should not start with what you like, or what you (general you) think was missing from the adaptation.

Prizoner of Azkaban was missing a lot of my favorite parts from the book. It's still a great adaptation, becuase it didn't try to be EVERYONE'S adaptation, it was it's own film.

If I may be so bold as to bring up PJ again... part of his problem was trying to do too much that wasn't in his own vision for the films. They would have been much "better" if he had just taken the parts he liked and made the movie he wanted to.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:37 pm 
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Voronwë_the_Faithful wrote:
From my perspective, a movie that simply parrots a book and repeats its themes and "message" is a waste of time, because almost by definition the book is going to better at presenting its own original perspective.


I agree with this too. However, the adaptation can't contradict the themes and messages of the book and still be a good adaptation. It can have DIFFERENT ones... but shouldn't alter the original intentions of the book.

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 30, 2006 6:40 pm 
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If I may be so bold as to bring up PJ again... part of his problem was trying to do too much that wasn't in his own vision for the films. They would have been much "better" if he had just taken the parts he liked and made the movie he wanted to.


So...are you saying PJ was too much of a purist?

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