From Books to the Big Screen
In my last article I touched on a few classic novels that had been made into movies in recent and not so recent times, mostly you would have noticed how much (in my humble opinion) the films differed from there novels. In this article, I wish to highlight a few movies that (again in my humble opinion) accurately portrayed the book from which they were derived.
No Country for Old Men
I shall begin with No Country for Old Men by Cormac McCarthy. Those of you who have seen this movie would most likely recall the creepy and stone cold demeanor of the hit man played by Javier Bardem, or even the amazing and never before seen silenced shotgun. But before the star-studded cast and the big budget, there was the book. I recall at the time I was working at a dull front desk job with a lot of free time on my hands. This novel made those shifts fly by and I have to say that I was sad when it was finished. It so happened that at the time I read the book, the movie was already in cinemas, and although I have always been hesitant about seeing the film version of anything I read, I wanted to see what this one had to offer. Admittedly, I was impressed. The movie captured the feeling of the book in a way that so many others have failed to accomplish. There is the constant anxiety, and on-edge vibe that dominated the story with the protagonist always having to watch over his shoulder. The ending was also very nicely done in the sense that it left me wanting. Their choices of cast in my view could not have been better with Tommy Lee Jones filling the shoes of the adamant sheriff quite nicely, along with Josh Brolin and Woody Harrelson,they rounded it all off very well, not to mention their accents made them fit into their respective rolls like pieces in a puzzle. What I like most about Cormac McCarthy’s style of writing is that despite his many academic qualifications and achievements, his style is so simple that anyone, readers and non-readers alike, can read it through in its entirety without any need to run for the dictionary.
Let’s get one thing straight first and foremost; I have not seen the remake of this movie, this is my review of the original that starred Tim Curry in the role of Pennywise. When referring to ‘The King,” I must take my time and choose my words carefully, for this is the pinnacle of writing supremacy. This book was fantastic in the sense that it covers not only a large group of main characters, but also two timelines. When I saw this movie I was very young, probably around nine or ten, and I did not read the book until I was thirty. But when I did, it was always Tim Curry who I saw in my mind’s eye staring up at me from the sewers. As soon as I completed the book, I immediately went and watched the movie again. To me it caught the sense of childhood adventure as well as the horror that made your blood run cold. Some parts that I thought were needed to get a true understanding of all the characters were admittedly left out, but it would have been too much to fit into the movie. All in all, I thought that it was a great show from a great book.
I could not finish this article without mentioning the movies that have swept the world and captured the imagination of children everywhere, of course I mean Harry Potter. Yes, I have read every single one of these fantastic books, and yes, as with all movies, it could not capture everything there was in the book, but they did one fine job as far as I’m concerned. These movies set a new standard for me, and what I mean by that is simple this; when I read the first two novels of J.K Rowling’s masterpiece story, I had not seen either of the two movies that were out at that time, so I had already envisioned characters in my mind, but when I eventually saw them on the big screen, the characters I had imagined all transformed into their on-screen counterparts (except for Hagrid). If that does not sum up the impact and power of the movie I don’t know what can.
Another movie that I felt I had to include in this article is not from a novel, but a short story from none other than “The King.” My father is seventy-two years old, and to this day, this is still one of his favourite movies of all time as it is mine; “The Shawshank Redemption.” Yes folks, those of you who know the 1994 movie that starred Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman in prison, this is based on a Stephen King short story found in the collection “Different Seasons.” A fantastic and gripping short story that was ultimately turned into an equally fantastic and gripping movie, this is a must read, and a must see.
There is no nice way to put this, so I’m going to do it quickly like ripping off a bandage. Dan Brown novels, I love them all! Tom Hanks movies, I love almost all. Those dreadful on-screen adaptations based on Dan Brown’s works that starred Tom Hanks should be erased from the screen, and from everyone’s minds for all eternity. It does not take a genius to know that turning a Dan Brown novel, which is so filled with information, into a movie would be a monumental task. They tried, and they failed…miserably…thrice!!
The transformation of literary works to the big screen is a very risky endeavor. We as the readers and viewers feel hurt when some of our favorite books are bastardized on screen for a quick profit, but when it does manage to pay off, those are indeed wondrous times.
My Next Article
I will be touching on some of the works of Stephenie Meyer, author of the Twilight series. Thank you all and please keep reading!
Read the Book!
Watch the Movie!
Read the Book!
Watch the Movie!
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© 2018 Joseph B Daniel