I am SO tired! S.K. and I have been catching up after her vacation, and sitting around watching movies. To keep it from being tiresome, we've been dressing up like the characters in each movie so we're in the proper frame of mind. I was never so thankful to shower as I was when the Lord of the Rings extended version trilogy was done. And those hobbit feet prostheses made my toes sweat something fierce.
She should be here any minute, but I'm not sure what we're watching today, so I don't know what kind of costume she'll be wearing . . . or what she's bringing for me. I wasn't really crazy about my "house elf" outfit when we watched the Harry Potter movies. A dirty pillowcase? Never again, man. Never again.
SK: [Walks up from basement.] Oh hey, Lynda! I wanted to get away from the kids so I came in around two in the morning and went down to take a nap. I'm still glad I had the good sense in making myself a copy of your house keys.
Here. [Throws Lynda a bag.] Today we watch The Hunger Games. I'll be Katniss and you'll be—
ER: [Opens bag and looks in.] Feathers? Why would I need feathers?
SK: Yes, those are feathers. I thought you might like to stay alive, in which case you can be my sidekick mockingjay. I know she doesn't have a mockingjay by her side, apart from the pin, but it's not like you're a tiny bird anyway. We can make concessions.
ER: Are you calling me fat? [Sticks out tongue while drizzling butter on the popcorn.]
SK: Stop making faces! [S.K. rolls eyes.] Fine! I thought you might put up a fuss. I guess you can be Rue instead; there's a wig at the bottom of all the feathers. This way we can both stay in our pajamas.
ER: Whatever. I don't know why I have to wear a wig and all you did was braid your hair—and steal my daughter's bow and arrows. Be careful with that thing! [Jams wig on head.] It is kind of a nice 'fro, though. I've always thought I'd look good in one. And it's better than having me dress up as a piece of coal and setting me—and probably my house—on fire.
SK: If you want, I can frizz your hair up. [Grins.] I brought these two cans: one is hairspray and the other one is black spray paint. The fumes might knock you out for most of the movie, though.
ER: Nope, the wig is just fine.
SK: It does look nice. The wig actually brings out the best features in your glasses. I'm excited to watch this movie again. It's one of the few book to movie adaptations I like a lot. They did make some changes, but I think it all worked out great. Doesn't that annoy you? When the producers of a movie make changes that really didn't need any tampering with?
ER: I hate it when producers go to the trouble of making a movie based on a great book, and then take so many liberties that it angers the book fans. I do understand that certain scenes can't be done well cinematically, but when they shuffle around the characters or add things that are not even part of the original storyline, that makes me nuts.
SK: For me, I hated how in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince, they made him (Harry) look like a coward. How hard was it to keep Harry frozen, as it was in the book, when Snape killed Dumbledore? Him standing around and not doing anything—even if instructed by Dumbledore—went against Harry's personality. That detail still bugs me to this day. What about you? What are some scenes you wish producers had kept in their adaptation?
ER: There are a few odd things that stick out in my mind. In Ella Enchanted (based on a terrific YA book, as is everything written by Gail Carson Levine), they altered the story so much that it seemed only the title was the same. In Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, they eliminated a key character and juggled the storyline in a way that couldn't help but affect the subsequent movies. In Prince Caspian, they created a stupid, stupid love interest between Caspian and Susan that NEVER existed in the book, and some dumb sort of alpha posturing between Caspian and Peter, which also never existed in the book. And I remember being VERY disappointed that Tom Bombadil was missing in the Lord of the Rings movies.
Oh! And, going back to the HP movies, when Dumbledore was replaced due to Richard Harris's death, they got an actor who admitted to never having read the books, and who portrayed Dumbledore in a manner that was totally inconsistent with his character.
SK: [Nods vigorously.] So true! What is wrong with these people? I was thrown off by that Susan/Caspian hint at romance as well. One last thing about Harry Potter, 'cause I'm sure we can go on and on about it, that Dumbledore was not the Dumbledore we all know and admire. I would have loved to see Ian McKellen instead. To me he makes the perfect Dumbledore. Ah, well. Another last thing with HP: I did, however, love the dragon escape scene from Gringotts.
Anyway, back to ranting. In The Lovely Bones, I'm not sure what the heck happened. I think they missed the mark with the emotional aspect when they focused on making it more of a supernatural thing, boo! And in My Sister's Keeper . . . Anna does die and saves Kate. The fact that they changed it in the movie took away from all that emotional distress I felt with the book. Not that I want to be miserable and cry my eyes out with a movie, but that was NOT the story!
ER: Ian McKellen would have been great as Dumbledore! He’s much more subtle, and that other hack just really didn’t “get” who the character was supposed to be. I read the other books you mentioned, but never saw their movies, so I’m going to take your word for the quality (or lack of).
SK: Exactly! I do have to say, though, apart from the little glitch that annoyed you with the LotR trilogy, it’s still by far one of my favorite set of movies to watch over and over. Umm, also the HP movies follow closely behind. I can just watch them repeatedly and obsessively. What are some of your favorite adaptions you enjoy watching?
ER: I do still enjoy the LotR movies as their own things. In a situation like that, where the movie is definitely high quality, I will force myself to ignore the inconsistencies . . . and I can always read the books at my leisure.
SK: I loved The Notebook, and even though P.S. I Love You had some differences; I did enjoy the movie as well.
ER: What have I been doing with my time? I haven’t read OR seen either of those.
SK: Both Hunger Games movies so far have made me happy and I’m looking forward to the last two. Speaking of, why must they keep splitting the last books into two films? Grrr . . . that drives me nuts. I do like the extra details though, so maybe I shouldn’t complain.
ER: It’s just a ploy by The Man to get us to pay twice for movie tickets! I’m grrr-ing right along with you.
SK: I didn’t get a chance to watch Divergent or The Fault in Our Stars yet, but I’m very much looking forward to seeing them. Now, Fifty Shades of Grey, no thank you.
ER: Those first two are on my TBR list, and I’ve heard The Fault in Our Stars is a great movie. That last one? I can’t imagine paying real money or Monopoly money to see Fifty Shades. Is it possible to make a badly written book into a worse movie? If I want to watch someone getting spanked, I could watch movies of when our kids were little and being bad. For free, too.
Oh, and I found a poster up in my attic and brought it down to show you . . . remember when you and I auditioned for The Hunger Games movies? I can’t believe we made it all the way to the final round of cuts. At least they let us keep the promo pictures.
So what do you all think of book-to-movie success? Do you have a favorite, or one you love to hate? Let us know in the comments so we can love or hate them too!
You can find S.K. Anthony in a number of places. She's on Twitter @SKathAnthony, her website is www.skanthony.com, her Facebook page is S Katherine Anthony, and on occasional occasions, she'll be right here with me, drinking coffee and laughing it up over our latest plans and schemes. And possibly even talking about books and writing.
You can find me here. I'm always here.