Tuesday, April 30, 2013

When books get made into movies, are the stories ruined?


     I wrote something about remakes a little while ago and how I can get conflicted about seeing the new versions of films at times.  It got me thinking every time I saw a movie based off of a novel when I was kid I always heard someone say, "The book is better." I used to think they were trying to be brainy or overly critical because they beat me to a story that is going to be popular some how.  Then I read a book or two that became movies and found myself saying;"The book is better".  Is it always better though?

     The reason I am writing this, is because a movie is going to come out  soon based on Max Brook's World War Z.  I read his earlier book, The Zombie Survival Guide and I thought it was funny, original (at the time), and the reports at the end of it were pretty good short stories.  They were good enough that the format was used for the basis of his next book, the soon to be film World War Z.  The problem with the movie though is that, its gone through so many re-writes and has gone so far away from what the book did, I'm not even interested in seeing it anymore.  I already know the problems behind it being made and feeling like it took forever to get made. According to celebuzz.com ," After being plagued by production problems, a pushed-back release date and plenty of reshoots, the apocalyptic action flick adapted from Max Brooks' novel is finally set for release on June 21." The book's journalistic style seems like it would work as a really good anthology film or even a television series but the way the trailer looks it's pretty apparent the books format got scrapped.  In the book, World War Z's author is the protagonist and you're hearing various other characters stories based on his reports. Some are funny, most are very descriptive and scary on how some survived different stages of the outbreak but it is still a collection of stories told to you, the reader in the form of interviews or journal entries. When seeing the first trailer and Brad Pitt's militaristic character that looks like it pretty much did away with what Brooks wrote.

     All is not lost when novels get made into movies in some cases, I prefer the Jason Bourne films to the books because it just seems the way they went with the action is more enjoyable on film and Matt Damon does a good job playing the title character. Robert Ludlum wrote the Jason Bourne series and I liked it a lot, when the movies were made  I have to say I enjoyed them much more than the books because I thought the action and story were better as an action film.  A lot of Stephen Kings work has been made into both television and films that weren't too bad overall. I suppose it really depends on who adapts the screen play and how involved the originating writers story translates from page to screen.  The actors can impact the films success too when I think about The Shining , Jack Nicholson's face jumps into my head before I remember the book it came from.

     There's always a chance it could be good, and I'll try and keep an open mind like I do for remakes but I probably won't be rushing out for this one.  Iron Man 3 comes out this weekend and that's probably going to be the best film based off a book this summer anyway...a comic book is still a book as far as I'm concerned.