Down In FLAMES

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How many films based upon a book have you seen that actually met your expectations? For most, I know, it is a very lonely few. Why do directors keep making the same mistakes, over and over again? Sometimes, I have to wonder if they even bothered to crack open the book. It’s like they read the blurb on the back jacket, and summarily go from there.

This weekend I watched “The Host” for the first (and last) time. Merlin’s bollocks, what a train wreck. I will admit, I am just as guilty as thousands of other girls, I have read everything by Stephanie Meyer several times, The Host being no exception, and possibly my favorite of all.

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How is it possible to take a story that is so great, and completely butcher it, water it down, and destroy it from the inside out — and get away with it? If that isn’t bad enough, the acting certainly was. I, honestly, could barely finish it. What I want to know is what in the world is wrong with Stephanie Meyer for letting them do such a thing. Where is your voice, Mam? Speak up for yourself! Because right now, you look like a complete trollop. Who cares about the quality of the film, as long as the money is rolling in, is that it?

If, and this is a colossal if, a book I had written was ever made into a film, I would never – NEVER – let anyone annihilate it.

This film was so bad, the acting so lethargic and flat, the chemistry so NOT there, and the storyline so different – so boring compared to the book, that the overall effect is practically laughable.

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At least when Gary Ross changed The Hunger Games for the screen, he still orchestrated a film that was kind of bearable. They at least did a decent job on the cast. Thank you, Gary, for having a little respect for Suzanne Collins.

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Andrew Niccol, take that black hole you call creative freedom, and channel it into a documentary. You need to practice sticking to the facts.

. . .

But what about those author’s who are not around anymore to defend their work? Take Jane Austen for instance. I had heard over and over how wonderful the BBC miniseries on Pride and Prejudice was, that after reading the book for the third time, I decided it was finally time to watch it. So I ordered it on eBay, and tried to watch it.

But, God – it was painful.

Whoever said that the miniseries follows the book so much better than the 2005 movie by director Joe Wright — was seriously in denial. I have heard this from several people, and now all I want to do is beat them in the head with the book. Maybe they read it with their eyes closed. Hell, maybe they read a different version than I did.

It’s not surprising, honestly, but do not lie to me. Do not get my hopes up.

In the DVD case for the BBC Miniseries of P&P, there was a sheet with quotes from many of the actors about making the film. In one, Jennifer Ehle talks about how exhausted she was during the filming, and how glad she was when it was over. In another, from Colin Firth, he said that he did not even know who Mr. Darcy was until they approached him for the role, and he was reluctant to take the part.

Yes. We can tell.

Personally, I think that Joe Wright rocked it out. When you take into consideration that the 2005 P&P movie with Kiera Knightly and Matthew McFadyen was his first feature film – well, that is just icing on the cake. Not only is his movie pretty loyal, the acting is superb, and the cinema photography beautifully done.

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Even when you think of epic films of the Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter, they did not stay very loyal to the books, which is a shame…  BUT they did manage to make movies that were exciting, worth watching, and the casts were certainly praise worthy.

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When directors decide to make a film based on a book, they really need to be aware of the dangerous ground this puts them on. Be respectful of your audience. They need to watch and study book based movies like Capote that were done RIGHT — and learn from the best. Strive to have the most amazing and unquestionable cast possible. 

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We all know that Philip Seymour Hoffman is an incredible actor; it is hard to imagine anyone better in that role. THAT is what they need to be striving for.

Ender’s Game comes out soon, and I am a little afraid to watch it. When you have read a series several times since childhood, it’s pretty daunting to see it on the screen. Gavin Hood, please.. make me proud. Or, by God, I will have to flame.

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About Linds McDonald

Hello, there!

There is not much to know about me, really, except that I am an aspiring writer. I am currently working on two projects. First, and foremost, I have been working away on my novel, currently titled “As Clay”. My great-grandparents came to America from Ireland in the 1900s, and my strong Irish heritage has always interested me. “As Clay” is a fantastical but Christian tale of Irish history, and I hope, the first in a trilogy. (Planned titles are: “As Clay”, “Burning”, and “Vessel”.)

Isaiah 64:8
Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

My less serious, but possibly more engrossing, project that I have been working on is, I am a little abashed to say, a fan fiction for Harry Potter. I know that it sounds completely juvenile, lol. But it is great fun, and a very productive learning experience. It’s titled “Still I Rise” and is inspired by Maya Angelou’s poem of the same name.

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8387697/1/Still-I-Rise

About Linds McDonald 5 Articles

Hello, there!

There is not much to know about me, really, except that I am an aspiring writer. I am currently working on two projects. First, and foremost, I have been working away on my novel, currently titled “As Clay”. My great-grandparents came to America from Ireland in the 1900s, and my strong Irish heritage has always interested me. “As Clay” is a fantastical but Christian tale of Irish history, and I hope, the first in a trilogy. (Planned titles are: “As Clay”, “Burning”, and “Vessel”.)

Isaiah 64:8
Yet you, LORD, are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand.

2 Corinthians 4:7
But we have this treasure in jars of clay, to show that the surpassing power belongs to God and not to us.

My less serious, but possibly more engrossing, project that I have been working on is, I am a little abashed to say, a fan fiction for Harry Potter. I know that it sounds completely juvenile, lol. But it is great fun, and a very productive learning experience. It’s titled “Still I Rise” and is inspired by Maya Angelou’s poem of the same name.

http://www.fanfiction.net/s/8387697/1/Still-I-Rise