19 August 2011

If It Ain't Broke, Don't Fix it


My question today.  What is about films that start from an amazing book, then somewhere in the making process,  they decide, no, they didn’t like that plot, ending, idea and change it.

The whole point about a good book being made into a film surely is to transfer that specialness of the book you read onto screen.  I don’t know about anyone else, but when I read a book, I can visualise the characters, I have a picture of them in my head, and nine times out of ten, when I see the movie, that vision shatters.

One example of that kind I can think of was with The Da Vinci Code.  In my head, I envisaged Robert Langdon as mid-thirties, maybe early forties, good looking, athletic, geek but cool with it.  Nowhere in my head ever did Tom Hanks ever appear.  Too old, not good looking, no geek element, definitely not cool.
Now in other films, I love Tom Hanks, but surely anyone who read the Da Vinci Code knows that he was never meant to be Robert Langdon.

One film, well two films in the end really surprised me.  With Silence of the Lambs I don’t honestly think you could get better than Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal.  As soon as I saw him in the film I knew it was the perfect match between what I had envisioned, and who was on the screen. 



But then, in Hannibal they made the mistake, seriously unexpected too, of changing the ending.  The complicated relationship between Hannibal and Clarice was destroyed by him escaping alone.  It wasn’t written like; they ended up together in the book for a reason.

Why do film makers decide to sugar coat the films?  We as readers knew what happened in the book, we knew what we were getting then we paid to see the film expecting a faithful adaptation, and then, bam, a ridiculous change of plot. 

If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.