September 10, 2013


I finally finished the seventh book in the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon last night.  Echo in the Bone, almost a thousand pages long, spans events in Scotland and America during the early days of the Revolutionary War.  Reading the books in the Outlander series takes a commitment on the part of the reader, because they are long and complicated and have a gazillion characters to remember, many with Scottish names I can't pronounce correctly.  As I closed the book for the last time (it's way too long to re-read it any time soon!) I couldn't help but wonder if the mini-series that Starz will soon start filming will do the books justice.   Because there is something so irritating about watching an adaptation of a book to film and wondering why the heck the screenplay just didn't stick with the original plot, which was far better.  I have my fingers crossed that the Outlander film will be respectful of the amazing story lines and characters that Gabaldon has crafted, but I know there are thousands of fans holding their breaths in collective unease while the casting continues.  After you commit to reading close to SEVEN THOUSAND PAGES in the series (so far) you feel like you know the characters pretty darn well! 

This started me thinking about other adaptations I have issues with.  Did any of you experience the same sense of irritation when you watched them?  Right now my family is watching Stephen King's Under the Dome on television, which has me completely lost.  I read the book last year, but the mini-series has veered so far away from the book that I am at sea.  The rest of my family, who didn't read the book, are enjoying it but I am so irritated at character alterations (good guys have become vaguely bad guys, other characters have appeared that weren't in the book at all) as well as the plot changes (at first I kept thinking, how did I forget this scene?, but now I realize I didn't forget anything--the whole book has been rewritten!)  I give it a thumbs down.

And who can forget the changes in Robert Ludlum's The Bourne Identity?  I almost walked out of the movie theater, after so excitedly arriving at the theater to see one of my favorite suspense novels brought to the big screen.  I loved the books, and I loved the mini-series with Richard Chamberlain and Jacqueline Smith, because the mini-series followed the book. Thumbs up.

The movie with Matt Damon as the amnesiac spy--thumbs down.  Apart from keeping the main character's name, almost every other plot element was changed.  Had they filmed the movie and not used Jason Bourne's name it would have been a fine action movie, but trying to pretend the script was based on Ludlum's book was ridiculous.  And wrong.

And then, of course, there was The Firm.  Another great suspenseful read, this book by John Grisham had memorable characters and a great plot.  The first half of the movie more or less followed the book and then all of a sudden there I was again--lost and confused in the movie theater as the second half in no way, shape or form followed the book.  Boo, I say, boo!
from Princess Bride
I understand that screenwriters have to make adaptations and cut characters in order to keep a movie under a certain time or create a better flow with dialogue (Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones comes to mind, which are both excellent adaptations.)  But completely rewriting a book seems wrong, and is certainly confusing to those of us who actually read the books.

Yesterday I read of yet another adaptation coming to the big screen.  A musical of Anne of Green Gables. Oh boy, here we go again!  I may need an extra dose of cherry cordial for this!

ANNE OF GREEN GABLES is coming to the big screen again, this time as a musical. Excited, or do you need to crack into the cherry cordial to cope?

1 comment:

  1. One of my favorites - even though it is different than the book - is Under the Tuscan Sun. And I agree. I will be very surprised if the Outlander series can be adapted well. Jamie will be hard to cast!