Thursday, March 6, 2008

Top Films: Don't Judge A Book By Its Screenplay

The Holiday movie season of 2001 was a monumental time for Fantasy movies, and indeed for movies in general. Up until then lovers of books, fantasy books in particular, had a difficult relationship with movies.

Ultimately, movies cannot compete with imagination when it comes to visualizing the worlds created by the great fantasy authors. Since the advent of film, many have tried to translate fantasy stories to the screen in some way approximating what the book. However, it wasn’t just the visual department that let viewers down. The biggest problem has been the writing.

Hollywood tends to change books’ plots and endings. They assume that no one will want to see a film if they already know the story. The completely fail to understand that an audience who love a book long to see that book made into a movie. They do not want the story changed.

All this began to improve in 2001 with the release of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.” (“Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” is a completely different story and the great disappointment of the series.)

Many films have attempted to duplicate the Potter success. Studios are taping into every child oriented fantasy book ever made. More often than not these attempts are failing. The reason for flops when they occur is that the filmmakers fail to remain faithful to the book. True, movies and books are different mediums, and yes, changes need to be made. Films must shorten elements of the story and find ways to communicate things in a purely visual way, but plot; characters and basic story should remain. Finally, never change the end just because people know it. If they love the book, they love the end. If you want to surprise people, write your own material!

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