Thursday, March 12, 2009

At the Movies With Books: This Week's BTT

Movie Potential March 12, 2009
Filed under: Wordpress — --Deb @ 7:10 am

Tami inspired this week’s question:

What book do you think should be made into a movie? And do you have any suggestions for the producers?

Or, What book do you think should NEVER be made into a movie?

Unlike a lot of the BTT's, I knew what I was going to write about immediately when I read this.

I've mentioned my beloved Prydain chronicles many times on this blog. The storyline is rooted in Welsh mythology and in general mythological tradition. I always thought it would film well. As an adult, it seems a bit more "kiddish" than a lot of young adult novels, but I still believe that a decent treatment of the books would be worth watching. One of Disney's worst animated films was a hatchet job of the second book, but thankfully, it's rarely viewed anymore. As a kid, The Black Cauldron was my favorite of the series, with its colorful characters, its dark undertones, and its thought-provoking (to an 11-year-old) theme of the nature of heroism. As an adult, though, I prefer the quieter Taran Wanderer, in which the protagonist sets off first in search of his true parentage but ultimately in search of himself. This book would probably make the worst movie out of the five, but I'd love to see someone take another crack at filming this series.

The Stephanie Plum books also strike me as ripe for the plucking, full of action, humor, romance and crazy characters. There's no way anyone would make allfifteen (or whatever we're up to now) of them. In fact, maybe the books should be inspiration for a movie rather than the basis of the script: a brand-new Stephanie Plum adventure, with her loyal but reluctant sidekicks Lula and Connie and the two sexy men in her life. I'd go.

As for movies that should never be made? For years, the idea of a movie based on Donna Tartt's The Secret History has been kicked around. At one point, Gwyneth Paltrow was rumored to have been cast (presumably in the Camilla role, although she's the wrong age and type entirely). I always thought it was a terrible idea. There's something unfilmable about that book. Several of the main characters, including the narrator, are very difficult to get a sense of, and it adds to the book and the suspense rather than detracts. Just the act of putting them in flesh and blood would change the story irrevocably. Perhaps the people attached to the project agreed with me, for it no longer appears on IMDB.

My sister disagrees with me, but I also don't think the Thursday Next books would translate well to the screen. Part of their humor comes from the printed format. How would you express the Footnoterphone and the mispeling vyrus on screen? How would you deal with The Generics from the second book, who are still going through character training and don't even have genders when you meet them? Nah, they should keep the Thursday Next books in their original format. They'd need a truly exceptional filmmaker to make them any good.


Jess said...

I completely agree -- the Thursday Next series would be very difficult to translate into film.

Smilingsal said...

You make a valid point. My response is here:

jlshall said...

Haven't read any of the Stephanie Plum series, but an awful lot of people have mentioned them today. I'm usually nervous when I hear they're making a movie of a book I've enjoyed - I'm almost always disappointed with the finished product.

Alyce said...

I feel like I missed a lot of good books. I haven't heard of any of these, so I'm going to have to go check them out. I was surprised that I haven't seen The Black Cauldron either - I've seen most Disney films.

My post is here:

Jo said...

I agree that The Secret History should never be made into a film. I don't think anyone could do it justice! And Gwyneth Paltrow woud be really wrong!

kbryna said...

did i say the Thursday next books should be adapted? Hmm - how about in some kind of sophisticated animation/CGI form? Think Pixar + Miyazaki. could be done.

I think a lot of Diana Wynne Jones's books could/should be adapted. I think A Tale of Time City would make a great movie. Or any of the Chrestomanci books.

And the 13th Tale would be fabulous as a film, provided it was well-cast and well written.

It's a little late for this one, but Pullman's trilogy should not be made into films, unless the studio and filmmakers were willing to pull out ALL the stops.

Library Diva said...

Maybe the Fforde books would be better than I'm thinking. I don't think you said they should be adapted, just that it could be done. A well-done adaptation of them would certainly sweep the awards shows for the year -- it'd be an unbelievably clever movie, beter than Amelie and Stranger than Fiction put together. I'd really hate to see a poor adaptation of it, though.

I agree with you about the His Dark Materials trilogy. They tried to force the first one to follow the traditional fantasy story arc: brave heroine who was just ordinary until the evil forces brewing around her force her out of her element, put her in contact with a ragtag band of others forced out of their element, that come together and vanquish the evil forces in a big epic battle at the end of the movie. The book's not really like that. They did the same thing to Eragon (not as good of a book but still didn't deserve to be butchered).

Veggiemomof2 said...

I LOVE the Stephanie Plum books! I used them during the winter to fight off Seasonal Depression! :)