Thursday, April 27, 2006

Bloovies? Movoks?

How do you feel about:

  • books to movies?
  • adapted books from movies (ie the novelizations of (blank) screenplay)?
  • books adapted from TV shows?
  • and the fact that there are now Bones books out, which is a TV show inspired by the life of Kathy Reichs who writes books about an anthropologist that solves crimes? (Art imitates life that imitates art that...)

I would answer these too but I must go to work where there is no internet connection.

Look forward to your thoughts?


Kerry said...

Books to movies: often a good idea, but you really have to keep in mind you are dealing with 2 species of storytelling.

Novelizations: No. Quit killing trees.

Books adapted from tv: No. Quit chiseling every last dollar from the fan base. And the books don't match up with the show mythos/timeline/plot and so often read like bad fanfic.

Bones: Hilariously bad show, but much better than the novels it's based on. (Her name's Temperence and she's an alcoholic? Can we choke on the irony?) Completely insane in a meta-meta way that there's now books inspired by the show. Does it completely clean up in some demographic I was unaware of?

Bethany K. Warner said...

Books to movies -- hit or miss. Depends, I think, on the book and who did the screenplay. And having the author do the treatment is no guarantee (look at Cider House Rules, the movie... Irving ruined his own story.)

Novelizations -- ugh. Though once I heard a great NPR piece about how writes write them. the process actually sounded like fun.

Flood said...

You would think that books adapted for film by the author would be great, but mostly they are not. I was so sad when I left the theatre after Interview with a Vampire, because I had built things up in my mind that could never be reproduced.

Harry Potter is an exception, but it was remarkable how many kids missed school for the the next installment *before* they became films. I thought that was great and hope it happens again with a series.

I never would have read Gone With The Wind, American Psycho, or The Color Purple without having seen the films. I got more impact with the novels, but loved all except American Psycho as movies.

Movies-turned-fiction was big with me as a kid when it came to horror. All the 80s slasher films that became books made me feel like I was getting away with something by reading instead of watching. Looking back though, it's totally crap writing. Stephen King's books rarely make great movies. I think Misery comes to mind as the best one.

The only book I ever bought because of television was The Sopranos' Cookbook, (which has excellent recipes, btw!), but I steer clear of series adaptions in print as a rule.

tem2 said...

I have to defend novelized movies just because I'm fascinated by the editorial process, and the books are often contain "deleted scenes," or are based on an earlier version of the script than the one that gets shot, or contain the internal dialogue and descriptions that don't translate into film.

Nah, forget that. These days I can get most of that from the DVD bonus features, so that's rendered the novelizations obsolete for me.

lady t said...

I have to confess that when I was a kid,movie novelizations were my version of trashy beach books. I was even busted in Catholic school for having one in class(Rich Kids,a little known these days movie about NYC kids and divorce that starred Trini Alvardo,by H.B. Gilmour). I think I still have a copy of Urban Cowboy around. Horrible writing but Tem2's right,they did include alternate endings and other things taken out of the final film.

Movies to books can be done right-sometimes,you have to accept the compromises made for visual translation. Other times,like Bonfire of the Vanities,a watered down version of the book is served up for your approval.

Books adapted from shows,I'm not a big fan of but there are exceptions to any rule. I have an autographed copy of Christopher Golden's Spike & Dru novel,Pretty Maids All In A Row(met Golden at a horror convention and he was a nice guy). There're more the teen audience,I think.

Eileen said...

Interesting experiment we did in my book club, 1/2 the group read the book Cold Mountain and then saw the movie. The other 1/2 watched the movie and then read the book. It made for a very interesting discussion. We've done it with a few other books/movies.

Anonymous said...

The publishers have to stop issuing "Movie Tie In" editions for great fiction.

Get this: a novelist busts his or her hump to produce a work with some lasting literary value. And then it gets packaged up like the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly?! Are you kidding me?!

Jesus Christmas, I swear I'm gonna puke next time I see some Hollywood Glam Glam on the cover of a gret book.

robin brande said...

I see no reason for all the snobbery. Books to movies, movies to books, TV to books--let's have them all. It's all story-telling, and if someone wants to watch a movie based on one of my novels instead of reading it, I'm not going to complain. Or if someone is so excited by a television show they want to read a dozen books based on the series, great--they're reading. I can see being upset if someone adapts your novel into something so embarrassing it actually drives away future readers, but overall writing novels is part of the same entertainment industry as writing films and TV shows, and we should be happy for the audience no matter which direction it comes from.

--E said...

I think in general movies made from books are better, though of course the quality of the movie varies widely. For me, direct adaptations are kind of boring, whereas if the moviemaking team uses the best aspects of their medium (e.g. dramatizing the Battle of Helm's Deep instead of talking about it rather distantly for a single chapter), then the two works can both be wonderful.

Direct movie novelizations are almost always mediocre, and I think it's for the same reason--they must be fairly literal adaptations of the film. The writers don't get to re-plot or re-pace sections that work better on film than in print (e.g. a car chase).

Books from TV series, or expansions on movie series...I dunno. Not my cup of tea, but different preferences are what make the world interesting. But at least those are not print versions of actual episodes (or not generally). Those are written as books, and the better writers can make use of the medium. The limits are the characters, world, and whatever other requirements the licensor sets (restrictions on what characters are allowed to do, or how they are allowed--or not--to change).

Those restrictions aren't necessarily impediments to writing a good book. All writers have to come up with characters and settings, whether they are from an outside source or from the writer's own head. The options are broader with one's own original characters, but ultimately the quality is in the story and the way the writer carries it off.

twogether said...

I like.