They ruined my favorite book!

I have yet to actually see Ender’s Game but I have not been hearing very encouraging things.

Actually, I know the point I got really worried (besides the casting of Harrison Ford and Moises Arias). It was the line “game over” in the trailer.

This isn’t the first movie that disappoints its fans, and it won’t be the last. But it did get me wondering what’s the best way to look at a movie like this.

Last year the little red haired girl and I saw The Hunger Games shortly after we both read the book (for me it was an audiobook but that’s not cheating 😉 ). My wife was very disappointed in the movie, citing all the things they left out of the story and how it would be hard to pick up on certain things without knowledge of the book. Conversely, I thought the movie made certain characters way more sympathetic (I’m looking at you Katniss who I honestly did not always care for in the book).

In both cases, our reaction to the movie was informed by our relationship with the book. We both loved the book overall, and definitely preferred it, my wife to the point she finished the trilogy in fairly short order (I still have yet to read the last).

This year my wife briefly thought about boning up on Catching Fire to get in the spirit of the movie, but decided against it for the time being, as she felt her recent reading of the book negatively colored her view of the movie.

I’m still mixed on this. When Watchmen was coming out I had no relationship with the graphic novel, other than knowing it was one of the iconic graphic novels. I devoured it and was generally pleased with the adaption even if some think it was “too faithful” to its source material. I had a similar experience with Scott Pilgrim. I’m often a little late to parties, but I’m happy to do the work to catch up.

As for Ender’s Game  I didn’t read it until a couple of years ago. When I was in high school I had a choice between it and Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous with Rama. I chose Clarke (yes I’m sad to say I also read all of his 2001-3001 series. Just remember in the 31st century it’s fashionable to be uncircumcised.) This was long before the movie was announced, but I still have a young enough relationship to the book that my ideas of its execution are fresh and pliant. Despite the bad reviews I might still give Ender a chance, just in the dollar theater.

As for my total geek out fantasy movie which will never ever be made?

The Sandman.

I’m fairly specific on this one, so I doubt this will ever happen except in my wildest dreams. I’d cast Benedict Cumberbatch as Morpheus King of Dreams (You see it right? Just take his Kahn outfit and give him black eyes). Death’s tricky but all I know is not Helena Bonham Carter. And one more thing, it’s not a movie. Each of the 10 volumes would work best as a mini-series, maybe 20 total episodes of 1.5 hours. And I don’t really trust Americans to make this so I’m looking at you Stephen Moffat or pretty much anyone at the BBC.

Ah, well. A man can dream.

Do books ruin movies for you? Do you think there’s a relationship between how long you’ve lived with a book and how much you’ll judge any movie adaption? Who would you cast as Death?


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3 responses to “They ruined my favorite book!

  1. Omg–I would love a Sandman movie! I agree–Death is not Carter. She needs to be younger for one. I wonder which plot they would work closer to. It’s hard when you have such an extensive series. B the way, you’re not missing anything by leaving out the last book–Mockingjay. If anything, skim it and skip to the last chapter. It’s the only one worth reading. 🙂

    • If they were going to do only one I think they’d have to do “Season of Mists” volume 4. You’d need some setup and background on the characters of course but I found this to be one of the more thought provoking and just downright fascinating volumes in the series. I’m still moving slowly though (almost finished with book 8 and am really looking forward to The Kindly Ones). Maybe someday…

  2. Chuck

    By their nature, movies must pick and choose, and more disappointing, compress a book. The Harry Potter movies left out so much rich character stories and background – yet they are enjoyable.

    I share your fear of Ender’s Game the movie. I have not seen it, I may not till the DVD is released. Ender is too old on screen, and they can’t help but give Mr. Ford more screen time than his character deserves. I have high hopes for this movie and I am certain, going in, I will be disappointed. It’s not much fun to see a movie with these low expectations.

    The one exception (in my opinion) was the Postman. Despite how you feel about Costner, I enjoyed this movie. I liked it so much I sought out and read the book. The main thing they had in common was the title. I did not enjoy the book – fought to get to the end.

    In general though, I do agree that when Hollywood attempts to translate a book to the bog screen, they often do a terrible job. They pick the wrong story elements, change characters, add characters, all with little or no regard to the original narrative.

    But I love the popcorn!

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