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Books into Movies: Lost in Translation

Ecksmanfan takes a look at films based on books that should be made and need to be remade.
Since the early days of making films, books, novels and all other types of writings have been the influence for many popular films. Some of the earliest "blockbusters" such as "Dracula" and "Frankenstein" are perfect examples of this. For the most part, these films have been decent representations of the original source, but as time goes on, the source material is only being used for an idea, and the actual film has deviated so far from the original plot(s) you can hardly say they are related.

For example, I recently read Michael Crichton's "Timeline" and also recently watched the movie. The only similarities are the characters and the locations, but even then they changed a few the characters from female to male, or left some out, and added another. Another example, the Will Smith film "I Am Legend." While this was a great movie and quite entertaining, the book is very different and could easily be made into a movie on its own...and still be very popular.

On the contrary, there have been several movie representations of literature that have been rather good. I mentioned "Dracula" and "Frankenstein" earlier; the original films are excellent, among the best films of all time. Michael Crichton's "Jurassic Park," although it did deviate slightly from the novel, was an excellent film. Some would also argue that the Harry Potter films would fit into this category. Although they have deviated from the books in some ways, most would say they films have been adapted well.

I could go on for hours discussing both sides of this argument, but I won't. However, I will leave you with my suggestions for films that should be made into films and even some that need to be remade, because the original sucked:

Need to be made:
Fallen Angels, by Walter Dean Meyers
Richie Perry is thrown into the world of the Vietnam war, in the process, he makes friends and loses them. He soon learns that the line between good and evil is ambiguous and realizes the selfishness of of those with power.

Pillars of the Earth, by Ken Follett
Set in 12th-century England, the story follows the building of a cathedral in the fictional town of Kingsbridge. The lives of three men merge, conflict and collide through 40 years of social and political corruption as internal church politics affect the progress of the cathedral and the fortunes of the protagonists. I have recently learned that a mini-series is being filmed and will be airing this fall on Starz. This may have to do...for now.

World Without End, by Ken Follett
World Without End continues the saga of Pillars of the Earth, but it takes place 200 years after the original story. This time the cast of characters find themselves at a crossroad of new ideas--about medicine, commerce, architecture, and justice. In a world where supportes of the old ways fiercely battle those with progressive minds, the intrigue and tension quickly reach a boiling point against the devastating backdrop of the greatest natural disaster ever to strike the human race--the Black Death.

Jackdaws, by Ken Follett
In 1944, the Allies are just about to make their move against the Axis forces in Europe. In the occupied town of Sainte-Cecile, the French Resistance is preparing to blow up the chateau that now houses the crucial telephone exchange connecting the French telephone system to that of Germany. A group of female spies are put together to infiltrate the chateau and destroy the germen's ability to send out warnings of the advancement of Allied troops.

Prey, by Michael Crichton
This novel shows us the dangers of combining nanotechnology and biology. The nano particles gain a mind of their own and begin to fight back against a group of scientists and their families. It's a real nail-biter and it does a really good job of scaring the bejeezus out of you, especially concerning the idea of the advancement of technology.

The Witching Hour, by Anne Rice
In this hypnotic tale of witchcraft and the occult spanning four centuries, we meet a great dynasty of witches; a family given to poetry and incest, to murder and philosophy, a family that over the ages is haunted by a powerful, dangerous and seductive being. This is a much deeper series that the Vampire Chronicles and delves more into the supernatural realm, creating a whole new world with intriguing characters and stories.

Wicked, by Gregory McGuire
Most people know of this story because of the Broadway play, but if you've read the book, then you know how different the two stories are. The novel tells us the side of the Wicked Witch of the West we've never seen. The story is dark and tragic but has a bit of humor at times. It could be a very interesting film if handled by the right person, say someone like Guillermo del Toro.

World War Z, by Max Brooks
A fan favorite of comic book readers, this book is an "oral history of the Zombie Wars." Done in an interview style, the author tells the story of the Zombie wars though a series of fictitious interviews. It is a very intriguing story and if you are a fan of zombies, a must read. There is a film in the works and it's moving forward, albeit quite slowly.

The Strain, by Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan
The dark and strange mind of del Toro brings us the story of a vampiric epidemic that has gripped the city of New York. Eph, the head of a bio-medical response team and a group of would-be fighters join together to fight a force that most people though of as a myth. This is the first book in the trilogy, the second comes out this fall. I was sucked in from the get go and would love to see this made into a film. Not only because I'm a fan of the vampire genre, but because del Toro wrote it!

Need to be re-made:
Queen of the Damned, by Anne Rice
One of my favorite books in the Vampire Chronicles, this film was severely mishandled and mis-cast. We are introduced to some incredible characters who wield incredible powers. Not to mention, we see Anne Rice's version of the origin of vampires, which introduces a very interesting and other-worldly dimension. I still want this film to be re-done, but done the right way.

Eragon, by Christopher Paolini
Some people will tell you that the "Inheritance Series" is just a rip off of the "Lord of the Rings" story. While there are some similarities, I see this as a very different world. Dealing with the world of magic, dragons, dwarves and elves, we get a new take on the topics. I was excited to see they were going to make a film based on the books, but they deviated too far from the original source and neutered it severeky, and in doing so, took away the emotion and depth that was present in the novel and it's sequels. Redo this film, give it the PG-13 rating it should have had and you'd have a hit.

The Da Vinci Code/Angels & Demons, by Dan Brown
These books were actually really good, despite simple writing style and the some-what silly endings. They opened up the world of art and legend (Da Vinci Code) as well as the inner workings of the catholic church (Angels & Demons) but Ron Howard removed the heart and soul of these books and replaced it with rehashed stories and stereotypical endings. Granted, he had a lot of pressure from the Catholic church and other notable members of the arts society to be careful what he put on film. I'm sure the same thing will happen with "The Lost Symbol" when it's released. Turn these stories over to a director with some testicular fortitude and make these films what they should be.

The Left Behind Series, by Tim Lahaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
There was a couple of movies based on these books that starred Kirk Cameron that came out a few years back, but they were backed by religious parties and definitely leaned towards the religious aspect of the books. These books tell the happenings of the last days on earth before the apocalypse and the coming of Christ. The 12 part series goes into detail about the rapture, the plagues, the mark of the beast, and much more. They are well written, but tend to get a bit preachy at times. I think if done right, this could be an incredible series of movies.

There you have my list, and I'm sure there are some that I could add to this. What other need to be made or remade?
1 Yes
0 No

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