Will We Ever Get A Good Book-to-Movie Adaptation?

I’m going to be honest here. This has one of the hardest blog posts to write for me. You see, in the discussion of “good book-to-movie adaptations,” I’m actually on both sides of the spectrum. I’m an aspiring novelist who looks at the works of those more successful than he in horror as they’re destroyed before his very eyes. I am also an aspiring screenwriter who knows exactly how to destroy those stories to make them work onscreen.

There are a thousand ways I could approach this argument, so forgive me if this becomes one of my more rambling posts.

I’ve found that, in general, people seem less and less bothered by book-to-movie adaptations. When they are up in arms about something, it’s usually specific cases. For example, Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit got a lot of criticism for straying from the books. By way of contrast, Harry Potter received no such criticism, despite its occasional tangents and departures from the main story.

I think one problem with a lot of adaptations is that they are made to cash in on the popularity of the book before it dies. While some of them turn out quite well, like Hunger Games and, again, Harry Potter, others turned out to be poor-quality movies. A lot of adaptations that are considered good movies actually overshadowed their books. Jurassic Park was a Michael Crichton novel before it was a Steven Spielberg film. Occasionally, adaptations come from the popularity of other adaptations. When Hunger Games became a movie, suddenly Maze Runner and Divergent became popular and they got movies. An adaptation of The Chronicles of Narnia may not have been had it not been for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings.

So why is it that book-to-movie adaptations get so much criticism? It’s common knowledge that each person reads a book differently from the rest. It’s my understanding that this is referred to as “Literary Criticism.” Someone could pick up Shakespeare and see the story of an insane prince trying to set his kingdom strait after he learned his father was murdered. Someone else could pick up the same Shakespeare play, understand the story, but manage to read it as a metaphor for struggling with substance abuse. Both are valid literary criticisms, but they completely change how the story is read, or even how it’s performed.

The other thing is time. The typical time-conversion for a screenplay is 1 page = 1 minute of film. Even without adjusting the formatting, would you, as a moviegoer, want to sit through a six-and-a-half to ten hour movie? I know I wouldn’t. When someone looks at a book with the intent to adapt it, he/she has to choose what to cut out.

So, will we ever get a good book-to-movie adaptation? I don’t think we will. The best we can do with the adaptations we get is enjoy them as movies, not as books retold.

Unless it’s an adaptation of the Bible. But I count those under “historical adaptations,” where errors and inaccuracies are unjustifiable.

 

Let’s Connect:

@Isaac_Trenti

@CorrelationBlog

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Updates and Relevancy

Updates

So, as Noah mentioned on Twitter, he’ll be taking a break for the rest of the summer. His explanation was that his summer is getting busy.

While he’s off enjoying his summer—as he should—I’ll be here, maintaining my usual schedule of uploading every Wednesday as usual.

Speaking of uploads, I plan on doing a Bible-themed series over the month of July, starting on the 6th. I can’t say much about it now because I’m still in the planning phase, but I have hopes that it’ll be good.

And about this week’s post: I didn’t have anything to write about, really. So I’m just going to write things.

Finding Dory vs. Independence Day: Resurgence

What happens when you wait too long for a sequel to a successful movie? Well, you can easily avoid “sequelitis,” but you have the problem of nobody wanting to see it anymore.

I say this because, within these two weeks, we are getting/got two: Finding Dory, the sequel to a thirteen-year-old movie, and Independence Day: Resurgence, the sequel to a twenty-year-old movie. As one who’s seen both originals and neither sequels, and who doesn’t care too much for either movies, I wonder just what the respective companies are up to by waiting this long.

I’m sure both of them have valid reasons. Pixar wanted to explore other original story ideas like Cars, Incredibles, and WALL-E; Independence Day, for lack of a better explanation, lost its charm when the 9/11 attack happened.

Nevertheless, my question is, “Are they still relevant?”

For Finding Dory: Yes. There’s still quite a large following for the original, and the people who watched it as kids are now adults/teenagers looking to relive childhood nostalgia.

Independence Day: Resurgence: No. Our “World Gets Destroyed” movies have changed too much since 1996. It’s not cool that a city gets razed; it’s tragic. It comes out in two days; I doubt this movie will break any box office records. I certainly won’t help much. I’ve made other plans for Friday.

Let’s Connect:

@Isaac_Trenti

@CorrelationBlog

Cool Things Coming from E3

Being the broke college student that I am, I don’t have the funding to go to and from the various conventions. However, I have access to a computer and the internet. As such, I do get wind of the events at conventions a few days after.

Since E3 is this week, I’m going to talk about a couple games that caught my attention.

Also, please bear in mind, I only have a WiiU and a computer built for “filthy casuals.” (So, perfect for me.) My opinions may vary from yours.

Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim Special Edition

So, I own a copy of Skyrim. Due to not having five months to block off and play it, it’s been gathering metaphorical dust in my Steam library for the past year. The closest I’ve gotten to playing Skyrim is its sepia-toned brother, Morrowind.

That having been said, it doesn’t feel right that Bethesda should do a remake of this game. I could go into a very long discussion about remakes and their timing, but I won’t for the sake of time. Long story short, I hope they don’t force the free Special Edition upgrade onto PC owners. My computer can’t take it.

Titanfall 2

“What are your protocols?”

“Protocol 1: link to pilot. Protocol 2: uphold the mission. Protocol 3: Protect Cybertro—the pilot. I meant the pilot.”

I remember playing Titanfall on my buddy’s Xbox 360 way back when. I remember it being one of the first online multiplayer games that I actually enjoyed playing. Even in losing. (Seriously. I think I did three matches and lost every single one of them.)

So, with the new one out, I have high hopes for it, especially since it has a singleplayer campaign.

Standby for Titanfall indeed.

 

But, be content with the things that you have. I just have a WiiU. So what newly announced games can I get?

Eight words:

The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild

Great visuals. Open world landscape. The next chapter in The Legend of Zelda franchise, possibly offering new gameplay mechanics for future games to utilize? And I won’t have to buy a new console/computer to play it? To be honest, Breath of the Wild should have been named Breath of Fresh Air, though it probably wouldn’t sell as well.

 

That’s really all I need to say. I didn’t go to E3, but I am content with what I got.

What did you think of E3 this year? Was it good? Bad? What you expected? A few unexpected things?

Let’s Connect:

@Isaac_Trenti

@CorrelationBlog

And in the comments section below.

Topher and Sierra Fall in Love (Dollhouse Reference)

I don’t watch many romantic comedies, but I found Lust for Love and realized it was almost a Dollhouse reunion movie. I rather liked it. Here’s a quick review.
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Fran Kranz plays Astor, a hopeless romantic who’s more hopeless than romantic. His first serious relationship is with the girl he’s been crushing on since age 4. It’s very Barry Allen; Dichen Lachman’s character Cali calls it a little pedophilic.
Astor’s girlfriend doesn’t consider the relationship as serious as he does, so it doesn’t last. He believes the problem is his lack of experience, so he recruits Cali to teach him how to get girls.
Their mission is to get Astor laid, which makes it sound like a really shallow movie. But somehow these actors (including many other Dollhouse stars) can make anything heartfelt and fun. It’s not even made by Joss Whedon, but Anton King (with Dichen Lachman’s assistance behind the camera) isn’t half bad at dialogue and production value.
The main reason Astor struggles with relationships is that he really believes in true love, so his attempts at flirting with the intention of short-term flings come out adorably awkward. Cali, on the other hand, is content with the passion of a Frenchman. Both characters start to switch philosophies, and then they both grow as people, just in time to fall for each other.
“You might just break my heart.”
“Could you love me enough that that would be possible?”
“Maybe.”
“That would be wonderful.”
(I rather like that. A twist on “I would be honored to have my heart broken by you.”)
And then they sleep together…fully clothed. That right there. That is love versus lust.
It’s pretty easy to draw a Christian parallel. A word search for lust in the Bible brings up references to pagan idol worship. Whether it’s a girl, a guy, or a graven image, lust means turning your eyes and the passion behind them to something that should be reserved for God and the relationship that he designed you for.
One-night stands are un-Christian, but you probably already knew that. However, I wouldn’t say that you should never, ever date someone you don’t intend to marry. Astor’s overly sincere love gets him in trouble, too. The best way to find balance is to focus on God and pick a partner who’s doing the same thing.

Let’s Connect!
@CorrelationBlog
@noahspud

One-Punch Man and Doom: Is there Such a Thing as Senseless Violence?

So, it’s officially summertime. The sun is shining, the birds are singing, the flowers are showing their faces, and I’ve taken the time to catch up on some older shows, and watch some new ones. Or new to me, at least.

That said, after putting it off for quite some time, I finally got around to watching the 2015 Anime adaptation of One-Punch Man. I’m only three episodes in, so my opinions aren’t well-formulated. So far, the only problem I have with it is the graphic nature of the violence.

I mean, it’s called One-Punch Man. It’s not gonna be another Lucky Star, that’s for sure.

Last weekend, I got to hang out with a few of my friends, and one of them shared his copy of the new Doom with me. Ever-present demonic symbolism aside, I couldn’t help but note how violent it is. It should go without saying too. Doom has been violent since the 90’s.

So why am I noticing it?

Before I continue, I should point out that I’m not here to bash the glorification of violence. If I did, 1) I would be a hypocrite, as my job here as a blogger requires me to revel in a bit of violence, and 2) I’d be fighting an uphill battle. Humankind has been glorifying violence since the Old Testament. (1 Samuel 18:7, anyone?)

I realized that violence in entertainment has become par for the course a long time ago. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing. I conform to the philosophy that a character is defined by his/her actions. Saitama (the hero of One-Punch Man) kills every bad guy he comes across, usually because they interrupted his day, and he felt like proving his strength. Doomguy, the aptly-named hero of Doom, isn’t defined that much in the new game, but he was in the older ones. In Doom 3, he was fighting for his survival as much as the survival of everyone in the colony. In Doom 2 (a sequel to 3, somehow) he’s saving Earth from hordes of demons. He’s excessively violent because he has to be.

The way I see it, for everything there is a reason, especially in entertainment where time is short. Does the violent actions help establish the character? Or is it just there for the sake of keeping attention?

 

Let’s Connect!

@Isaac_Trenti

@CorrelationBlog

My Favorite “Wha-huh?” Endings

I’m a big fan of origin stories, but sometimes a story’s ending will just make me go “Wha-huh?” Here are some of my favorite examples. Little to no spoilers, believe it or not.

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series.
Douglas Adams turns almost every science fiction trope on its head in this series, creating a pretty pessimistic view of, well, the entire universe. The ending of the last book either makes you go “Wha-huh?” or “Well, that was bound to happen, wasn’t it?” Or both.

The Clown.
Although it’s the only feature-length flick I know of that stars comedian Red Skelton, this movie is a surprisingly gritty look at the offstage life of a performer. The ending is particularly grim. My brother even yelled: No! What? They can’t end it there. No!

Alphas.
It’s like X-Men or Heroes, but very intelligently done, which is why it was so sad to see it go. I don’t know if they were hoping for a third season, but the cliffhanger at the end of Season 2…well, Sheldon Cooper had a minor existential crisis when he learned that it would not be resolved. And I agree. Wha-huh?

Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog.
Years before Phil Coulson was shanked by an Asgardian Mussolini, there was this movie. Joss Whedon did that thing he does. And since it’s a musical, the ending is both a visual and auditory punch to the gut. I still get goosebumps thinking about it.

Torchwood.
Again, I don’t know if the brains behind this Doctor Who spinoff were hoping for another season. But they left us on quite the cliffhanger. Gwen Cooper summed it up, and kept it PG for American audiences: “What the H-E-Double-Hockey-Sticks?”

Heroes: The Pilot, Specifically.
Anything I say about this ending will spoil it. I’ll just recount my reaction to it.
“Oh cool, he’s actually going to…oh wait, he’s not going to…but he has to, otherwise he’ll…why isn’t he…WHAT IS THAT? Okay, okay, I can deal with this…wait, what is he doing now…what?” Cut to black. I find myself at the edge of my seat, my heart pounding.

Unfortunately, the endings that leave lasting impressions like this tend to be tragic. That says something about human nature in our fallen world. I prefer the way the Bible ends.

What’s your favorite story ending that is both memorable and happy? Let’s Connect.

@CorrelationBlog
@noahspud

Rick, Morty, Alternate Dimensions, and the Value of Us

So, Rick & Morty!

For those unfamiliar with it, the show is an [adult swim] animated “comedy” about a sociopathic alcoholic scientist, Rick, and his dim-witted grandson, Morty, going on wacky, often not-kid-friendly adventures.

To you looking for a content rating: it’s a rough equivalent to an R, maybe a very heavy PG-13. I got a hold of the censored-for-TV version, or “the one with the f-words bleeped out.” I would not recommend it for kids. (Then again, I wouldn’t recommend much for kids.) And I’ll try to avoid spoilers. If that doesn’t say, “This is gonna be a doozy,” I don’t know what does.

Having sat through season one, I have found it interesting and thought-provoking, mainly because it plays with the “multiverse theory.” In layman’s terms, imagine if every single choice you made spawned one if not more alternate realities. In one reality, you made one choice, but in another, you made a completely different one.

The conclusion of this is that there are an infinite (or uncountable) number of universes all running at the same time. R&M takes that conclusion one step further by implying that there are a million of us, so nobody is special, and we as humans have no purpose. If we do have a purpose, then it’s something insanely mundane. Anyone could die and nothing would change.

Saying this doesn’t apply to a Christian worldview would be like calling the sky blue, the grass green, and Christ’s sacrifice sufficient payment for our sins. Scripture tells us that we are created in God’s image. One of these verses, Ephesians 2:10, uses the Greek word, “poiema” meaning “masterpiece.” (Most translations have it as “workmanship” for some reason.) We are the first and only things God called “very good” during the Creation.

I like to think that there is only one of each of us. If there are alternate dimensions, they are limited to the confines of our imagination, when we ask the question, “What could have been?” That said, all we can do with other dimensions is speculate about them.

Personally, I would rather live under what I know than what I can only speculate. I am not one of a million, slightly different versions of me; I am created by the One who formed all matter from nothing by talking.

Let’s Connect:

@Isaac_Trenti

@CorrelationBlog