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Thread: Movie vs. Book - Should they be exactly alike?

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novels weren't written for the screen so some alterations ARE necessary.

For example, the Harry Potter movie was pretty much the exact portrayal of the book and i hated it! the book was marvellous but the movie sucked. it was too long and boring and there were bits in the movie that shouldn't have been there. like Hagrid's dragon incident, etc. i thought the director could have done a little better than the final product.

i think a good example of a director making his own adaptation of the book, making a film capturing the essence of the book is Coppola's 'Apocalypse Now' from Conrad's 'Heart of Darkness'. the movie is as different to the book as it could get but still had the same allegorys that made the book a masterpiece.
I agree with Rosie in that it is not usually possible to make a movie the same as a book.

Obviously, with LOTR, some of the material had to be cut out, because no one could sit through a 10 hr movie.

I think the directors job would be very boring if he was forced to adhere to the book precisely. He might as well be a computer programmer (hehe). I understood and even liked some of the alterations to the LOTRs - except Elrond of course. And it does make it more interesting if one does not quite know what is going to happen next....

Big Smile Smilie Big Smile Smilie
no Smile Smilie
read the comment by Tracy Hickman in the Prancing Pony

I don't think it's possible to be "exactly like" the book. Everyone seems to like the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice, and it adds lines from Darcy's viewpoint.

Remember that movies aren't made strictly for readers of the book (what purpose would there be in that?). Because you must describe things in pictures not words, you have an entirely new medium with the same postBody to convey. If you can keep the postBody, even while changing lines and altering plots, then you have done well.
I LOVE the BBC version of P&P!!!

I love love LOVE Colin Firth! What a sexbomb.

anyway, getting back to the topic, what do you mean, 'no', Plastic? 'no' to which question?

anyway, i agree w/swampfaye and allyssa except THERE WAS NOTHING WRONG WITH MOVIE ELROND!! HW WAS GREAT! Big Smile Smilie
No Smile Smilie
I'm with Yummy here. I think the director/screenwriter should ensure that the movie is as faithful to the book as possible. Any changes/deviations from the storyline should have prior approval from the original postAuthorID (like 'Dune'), and if he's dead - tough.

Otherwise call it by some other name or think up your own story. I, for one, am not interested in the director's interpretation of the book - honestly, sometimes these movie people think too much of themselves.
Oooooh! Get You! *handbag clutch*
But then Bladerunner would have been really boring, oh hang on, he did use another title......
No, the movie should not completely follow the book. Having the movie 'capture the spirit' of the book is all that is really possible between two entirely different mediums-movie(pictorial,audio) and book(written).
Totally agree with you all - the movie should not be exactly the same.

But what about the movie for Jane Austen - Persuasion. I think Cap. Frederick Wentworth was a total bomb-shell. Now we can put the faces to the characters brings reading to a totally new level.

Likewise for LOTR - Frodo and Aragorn hehehe...
No, the movie should not completely follow the book. Having the movie 'capture the spirit' of the book is all that is really possible between two entirely different mediums-movie(pictorial,audio) and book(written).

'Course you can. Documentary-type movies should be able to faithfully follow the book. Not saying that it would be successful at the box-office, but hey, I'm just pointing out that it's possible. And as I pointed out earlier, if the director wants to make changes - call it something else! Or at least name it, "So & so's interpretation of the book" - at least the audience will appreciate, if not the differences from the book - the honesty of the director.

I just have a problem if the director makes arbitrary changes in the script yet still claim to be faithful to the book - lets take the Arwen example for instance. Not only did he delete Glorfindel's character and gave his lines to Arwen, but PJ also added the mushy Arwen-Aragorn scene. And the scene where Arwen caught the best ranger of the North off guard? Cute, but totally unbelievable. Aragorn the unwillling heir? Elrond the bitter Halfelven? That's just not 'honest' is it?
Let's look at it like *shudder* art...
I can look at a Monet and see a bunch of splotchy colors, while you look at it and see a pastoral garden. Same painting... different interpretations.

I read Tolkien, struggle through and have a different impression than you do. Same story, different interpretations. My movie is going to be different than the one you make, because I'm certainly going to color it with the impressions I got from it....
Slight differences in interpretations are normal, since we're not the same. I have no problems with your opinions on the characters, nor with, for example, PJ's decision that Elves had very pointy ears and that Sauron was an eyeball (btw I think he was misled by the entry in Robert Foster's 'Encyclopedia of ME, which said that Sauron *couldn't* attain physical form during LotR).

I do have a problem, however, when he starts deleting Bombadil & Glorfindel, gave Arwen a larger role etc., etc. That's blatant meddling with the storyline, and I don't agree with it.

After all, no matter how different our personal interpretations are, we still read the same book. Tom Bombadil was in the book, so was Glorfindel, and Arwen was a sit-at-home Elven princess. And no matter what personal baggage I bring to the book, I still cannot see any evidence that Elrond was as bitter as he was portrayed in the movie. Or that Aragorn had ever feared walking in Isildur's footsteps.

[Edited on 4/2/2002 by Ungoliant]
I think I'm more on Ungoliant's side here. Though I completely understand the certain cuts had to be made to keep the movie from being 10 hours long, however, I do think the directors/screenwriters should restrain from altering the characters and story too much - a little is ok, but a lot becomes a totally different story, and it's therefore, slightly fraudelent to ride on the coattails of a book's success and dedicated fans when what you're putting out is only your fantastical interpretation.

A great example of this is A Beautiful Mind - excellent movie, and supposedly excellent book. However, the movie was highly inaccurate, while it seemed to be a biography. It left out the fact the his "dedicated wife" divorced him for a long while (they were remarried only recently), and it also left out the suggestion that Nash was gay - which is only a theory, but could change the story somewhat. Furhter, he never made that speech at the Nobel Prize ceremony - but they recreate the ceremony like fact.

It seems to me that truth is always the best route and usually much more interesting. And if you're going to make a movie of a very popular work like FOTR or Dune, you should stick to the story and characters as best you can.
They don't have to follow the book exactly but still they have to be treuer to the book then the movie FotR!!!

The only things that were the same were the names of the places and characters in the story and offcourse the red line the destruction of the ring
Well, I disagree with that. I think the movie was fairly accurate and fantastic. FOTR is a pretty hard book to translate to film, but I felt that they kept the spirit alive and weren't dishonest - except maybe arwen. However, being a chick, I didn't mind that b/c I was missing a love interest in the book anyway.
Yes Yummy - I feel that way too with the book. Hard to be a chick - need to have a bit of romance, even just a touch of it is fine.
You're upset because they didn't keep Tom Bombadil?!
i mean come on, he was interesting but hardly had anything to do with the story! and FOTR has enough half baked characters as it is without adding another jolly song singing short guy!
personally, the part with Tom Bombadil and the barrow wights was the most boring part of the book. when i was first reading LOTR, i stopped at that part for about 6 months before i plucked up enough courage to carry on.
carry on~ carry on~
*goes off singing Bohemian Rhapsody*
*gasp* *shocked look* *gasp*
Really? :0
I'm upset that he left Bombadil out and still had the cheek to call it FotR/LotR. All I'm saying is if you're gonna make major changes - call it something else.
Wonderful topic, this is. Big Smile Smilie
I didn't like them cutting Tom Bombadil out, was very upset and angry then, but now I'm thinking I might have been disappointed if they did put him in. He might have proved... well... not very realistic. He's not, it's only a book, of course, but I guess you know what I'm saying, right? Smile Smilie

So I mean to say that I don't think a movie should be an exact copy from a book. But if they don't remain faithful to the script of the book at all, they shouldn't call the movie an interpretation of the book. But FotR was a pretty close draw to the book (LOTR is a very difficult book to put into film, let's face it) and I don't think I could have made it any better, not as it is now. It's a fantastic movie, but of course the book will always be the better of the two. Big Smile Smilie
Ungoliant and I are having a similar discussion to this thread in the Prancing Pony concerning Dangerous Liaisons where she likes John Malkovich's Valmont compared to Colin Firth's. What I said there is of interest in this threat (or at least i think it's interesting hmmm)

The play Valmont, was based on the book Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Dangerous Liaisons). Later, a movie was made of Valmont - based upon the play, and a movie was made of Dangerous Liaisons which was based upon the book.

Ungoliant was saying that Malkovich was the better Valmont - couldn't be touched. What I said was that Colin Firth was great and that they are apples and oranges. Though the character is the same character, she could like both of them- not mutually exclusive.

What's of interest to this discussion is the treatment of those two movies which are based upon the same book. The movie Dangerous Liaisons is very faithful to the book - though I'm sure some changes were made, while Valmont is not very faithful to the book. However, as Ungoliant has requested, they changed the name to Valmont - took the idea from the book of a manipulative sexual competition and conquest between rival aristocrats, kept the names, but didn't advertise the work as a faithful recreation of the novel. Instead the playwrite chose a different name. There could have been reasons for that which we do not know - legal reasons (though Dangerous Liaisons was written in the 1700s (it was current for its time) and it might not benefit from the legal copyright protections we have in place now.

Have I made any sense at all here?

While I still think that FOTR is faithful enough to carry the title, I do think Ungoliant has a point. Perhaps should would have been happier if they had named it - Peter Jackson's Fellowship of the Ring.
I'm just wondering why you posted this here, and not in the other topic... To let us know? Smile Smilie
You're right, Yummy. But I still think FotR is true enough to the book to call it like that, PJ's FotR might have been better... It would make nearly everyone happy, I guess...
I'm taking decongestants, and probably don't know what I'm doing, but I thought it was relevant b/c we were talking about book vs. movie, but maybe I didn't make my original point that they made a movie out of Dangerous liaisons, like FOTR, and when they derivated from the story they called it Valmont, when they tried to tell it like the book they called it Dangerous Liaisons.

Besides, I had to find a way to plug Colin Firth anywhere and anytime. Tee hee hee Smile Smilie
You should have used Pride and Predjudice then! I for one was glad to have the advantage of Darcy's view and frankly wanted to know who he spoke to (in the book about Darcy, he spoke to Gorgiana about what he told Lizzy at the Collin's house)and who told Lady Catherine about the engagement?? That had to be the Colonel, or Bingly's sister or Bingly himself... who else would have Darcy told about the rejection.

anyway, my point was, there are things that were made clearer to me with the movie Fellowship that I simply couldn't sift through even after my 2nd time reading LOTR. I frankly don't want to read it again just to figure it out, but I'm glad the movie can make it clear to me.

And I like the movie Boromir
Interesting, though I like Sean Bean, I think the movie Boromir was a little one sided - it was clear he was going to turn too early on. He played a similar role in Ronin, a very memorable character who was faking it.

And I would have used P&P if it was relevant to the actual discussion, but I do appreciate the mention. Have you read Bridget Jones' Diary II? I haven't read either of them, however, I did read an excerpt from No. 2 where Bridget gets to interview Colin Firth and she can't stop asking him about the wet shirt scene in P&P, I mean she just goes on and on - It was hilarious.

Ok, back to the subject - movie vs. book, I agree with you that there were some elements that the movie explained which I had missed in my fist reading of the book, so in that way, it was quite helpful.
ok, so if Peter jackson was going to change the title of the movie, the what would it have been? 'the big crappy ring'? and if he did call it something else, ppl would've been like, what a rip off of LOTR, and without the weight of the book behind the movie, the movie would have been too trite! i mean, the whole ring thing might seem quite silly and why do they always pick on frodo? the poeple in the movie are so darn serious about this evil ring and it's hard to keep the audience just as serious about it for 3 hrs.
No, a simple "Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings/Fellowship of the Ring" would do nicely.

In fact there was a petition (signed by 16,000 people I think) submitted to the New Line studios (or PJ, can't remember) that requested the change a year or so ago. It included, amongst other things, bitching abt Arwen's Warrior Princess role - which was cut down considerably due to the backlash. So sometimes these things work after all (except for the name change).

[Edited on 6/2/2002 by Ungoliant]
You know what's funny? People keep calling this film The Lord of the Rings (or even The Lord of the Ring), while the actual name is The Fellowship of the Ring. Makes me wonder what they will call the next film. The Lord of the Rings 2?? Would piss every die-hard fan off, cos there's only one Lord of the Rings. They even advertise it like that in the cinema.

I agree with the PJ FotR thing. Would be better. After all, the film is his vision on the book. I don't think anyone could be upset by a title like that. Smile Smilie And as Yummy said, the movie can be quite helpful to readers who haven't read the book 24 times, like y'all here. Big Smile Smilie
No, they'll call it the Two Towers, has anyone ever called the Empire Strikes Back Star Wars 2? No. I rest my case.
I think they will call it
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
just like the first movie was
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring
and the third movie will be
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
I Rest my case. Cool Smilie
i don't think they'll ever call a movie director's anything. and LOTR is not the first not the last to be a movie based on a book that does not have all the elements in it.

just went and saw Shipping News. How depressing. the book is a billion times better.
Rosie - just to clarify - they often call other movies by the Director's name, to clarify - such as "John Carpenter's Vampires" - though in colloquial terms, we will call the movie "Vampires", the actual title includes the director's name.

However, if you were just talking about this particular series, then I agree - they will not call any of the following movies, Peter Jackson's Two Towers, etc.

I've seen that in many magazines though: "Peter Jackson's Fellowship of the Ring...." :P

movies can never be like the books. there just isnt enough time in a movie. plus i have never seen a movie that is as good as the book, but thats not why i watch the movies. they have to be differnt and its fun the see the way other people interpret what they read. plus even if the movie is differnt it will encourage more people to read the book, they will want to see what the differences are for themselves. i dont expect the movie to be like the book when i see a book that has been made into a movie, so yeah they are different and they have to be. its ok with me if there are inconsistancies, i dont think people should have too hight of expectations of the movie, its to be enjoyed and not picked apart.
I'm so totally with you here, stuwest. Welcome, by the way... Big Smile Smilie

[Edited on 25/4/2002 by TomBombadillo]
PLEASE!!!! of course they souldn't be like the books, it's a different artistic language. Images speak differently from words, words allow you to create images in your mind, and there's NO WAY a director will be able to recreate everyone's vision of the book. Movies are a reinterpretation of a story, and this particular one satisfies me almost completely (if it wasn't for Liv Tyler's week acting). It is a masterpiece, a great movie, even for those who haven't read the book. Shouldn't it be like that? We already have the books, and our own images of middle earth, we've created our own idea of them, and now we can also enjoy someone else's, isn't that great?
Well said Negra; and welcome to the forum. Smile Smilie
Smile Smilie no.
Big Smile Smilie erm sometimes
Tongue Smilie erm erm maybe
Wink Smilie well yes and no
Very Big Grin Smilie dunno

Might have been a bit tough making the LotR trilogy because of the 1950's speak, older English, the text in the scripts has been clipped and nicely tailored for TFotR (mostly in 21 century speak

Hope I'm makin' sense
Mellie's split personality is coming out. I see, and understand AND even agree with both sides of the argument. This really scares me too.

When I first started reading this thread, I very definitely thought that a movie should stay as true to a book as possible. I get so tired of seeing movies that claim to be made from a book.
Slight differences in interpretations are normal, since we're not the same. I have no problems with your opinions on the characters, nor with, for example, PJ's decision that Elves had very pointy ears and that Sauron was an eyeball (btw I think he was misled by the entry in Robert Foster's 'Encyclopedia of ME, which said that Sauron *couldn't* attain physical form during LotR).

I do have a problem, however, when he starts deleting Bombadil & Glorfindel, gave Arwen a larger role etc., etc. That's blatant meddling with the storyline, and I don't agree with it.

After all, no matter how different our personal interpretations are, we still read the same book.

I really liked Golly's point and I agree with her completly.. I personally hate seeing any of Stephen King's movies, if I have read the book. They are sooooo different and the book is always better.

But I also understant keeping the spirti of the book. That makes a lot of sence. Movies and Books really are very different mediums and it is difficult to translate one into the other. But when a director or whom ever does make changes, then it should be advertised that way.

For instance, "We tried to be as faithful to the original story as possible." or "We tried to be as faithful to the spirit of the story, but in doing so we did make some changes." In the first statement I would expect fewer changes than in the second. I would also be less upset in the changes in the second movie, because I was expecting them.

Well I said my little bit. I guess I will now let someone tear it apart.
have fun.

I am quite sure PJ did say that there were some changes in the movie but he was confident that Tolkien fans would not be too offended. Something like that. I will try to track that down. I have yet to see a movie that was true to the book as I envisioned it. That is normal because only I see through my own imagination. The book is always, always better than the movie. Read Smilie
For some other views on this subject see Board Index > General Discussion > Would JRR Tolkien approved the films.

And what if life were just a dream and dreams at night were really real.
Rednell: You mean, what if we suddenly wake up, and find out it wasn't a nightmare after all, but was for real. Scary. Super Scared Smilie
Very Big Grin Smilie

Books are usually better than the movies, totally with you there. Though sometimes the movies can be as good as the books. Like Schindler's List, e.g. Oh wait, I said that somewhere else too... Disturbed Smilie
I was one of the lucky people to have read the books before seing the movie(5 days after i only found out about it)-and BOOKS ARE ALWAYS better than movies.The point is-you go to the cinema,you don't look at the title just buy ticket sit and watch.You realize it's FOTR,don't you?I think PJ did pretty good-but not enough-but still pretty good and more than I expected anyway-so that's all for today-bye-see ya guys tomorrow! Waving Hello Smilie
Hello folks,
a joke I heard yesterday:
Two goats are munching a celuloid film. They are chewing and munching and munching and chewing and finally one goat asks "Do you like this film?". There is a long silence, the two goats continue their munching and then finally the second goat says "The book was better!"
ROFLMAO That was a good one Eryan, right up there with the best of the best in our Jokes thread found in The Prancing Pony Tavern. Orc Grinning Smilie
LMAO!! Very Big Grin Smilie Good one, Eryan!
my answer to the original question is yes.
And my response to that is, impossible. Especially LotR. The final product would have to be at least 15 hours long and it would be, to people who've never read the book, insufferably boring. While I personally would sit through three five hour movies for LotR, most people would not.
This diehard Tolkien fan has only this to say, Super Wow Smilie "May that they were to make and show us both versions of these movies. Please." Orc With Thumbs Up Smilie
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