An appeal to all film makers: "Please stop butchering our well cherished stories just to make a quick buck on the silver screen".
As many of you may well agree, putting down the final novel in an amazing series can be heartbreaking. Definitively closing Confessor by Terry Goodkind, author of The Sword of Truth epic, was one such moment. The story concluded exceptionally well, no loose ends to tie up with my imagination, no last minute developments that left me shaking my head in disgust. However, ending a series I had been working may way through for a good part of three months left me somewhat dazed. What was I to do now. I had fallen in love with this world created and shared by a master painter over the course of eleven novels. I wanted more, I wanted to be there, see the sights so vividly described. The world I had lived in for the past three months could not just disappear because the artist had ceased to describe it to me.
Imagine my pleasant surprise, nay, outright elation when Sam Raimi announced his intentions to create a visual adaptation of the novels. Having enjoyed Raimi’s Spiderman movies immensely, I felt for sure that as long as he stayed true to the phenomenal tapestry Goodkind had sewn, there was no way he could go wrong. And creating a television show out of the story seemed like a godsend, allowing Raimi to do full justice to the story rather than having to half-ass it in order to meet standard movie lengths.
And here’s the clincher. Not only did Raimi go wrong, he went catastrophically, revoltingly, wrong. His first mistake, as I have come to observe in most visual adaptations of such works, was that he did not follow the story at all. When I first sat down for the premier showing, I was transported into Goodkind’s world. It began just like it should have. Nearly word-for-word from the book. Which lasted for about the first five minutes. The story was all downhill from there. Without going into too much detail, by the time it reached the third episode, I was left wondering how they were going to finish the story without completely rewriting it.
There are countless other examples to give. Eragon, my favorite book for the longest time, jammed into an hour and a half of bad acting and corny effects, the intensity of the story watered down in the interest of rating it PG. Angels and Demons, still one of my favorite books to date, and a story in which following the plot of the book was vital to the success of the film, and yet by the end of the movie, the book was almost nowhere to be found.
One of the only well adapted books to film I have ever seen, and I think many will agree, is Peter Jackson’s adaption of Lord of the Rings. And the reason? It followed the book almost line by line. Not chopped off at the end to spare time, in fact, the extended versions with all the deleted scenes included dedicates nearly four hours to each section of the massive novel (it must be read as one novel to fully appreciate the story). Now that is a movie that does the book justice. My hat off to Jackson.
Now, my final plea to those who’s difficult job it is to entertain us with our childhood tales brought to life, please stop making novel movies for the sake of money only. These novels deserve to be translated (word-for-word) to film, not recreated to fit in a pop culture mold for movies. They must be given the screen time they deserve. If the movie adaptation is true to the story, not only will frequent movie-goers see your films, so will the die-hard fans of the novels.
And one last word for the authors, please do your best to protect your literature. You owe it to yourself to stay strong and keep producers from cutting corners.