Adaptations

inspiration

I’ll begin by admitting I’ve seen neither of the movies I’m about to talk about–yet. In fact, this post isn’t so much about the movies as it is about some of the so-called reviews I’ve seen for them. These reviews have left me shaking my head, not because they are making me change my mind about seeing the films but because of the audacity of the reviewers to do their homework and/or to remember that movies are supposed to entertain. At least that’s what most of us seem to want.

The first movie is Dune, Part 2. Frank Herbert’s Dune is seen by many as a classic. I remember when I first read it. I loved the book. Sure, some of the themes bothered me, but it was different from anything I’d read before. It entertained while making high school me think. But even then, I realized making a movie of the book would be difficult at best. There were too many sub-plots, too many political/social/ecological issues to be dealt with, etc. Still, when the David Lynch version came out, I was standing in line opening day to see how he managed to bring the book to the screen. It was an all right movie, but it was a pale imitation of the book.

The mini-series on Syfy, or whatever the heck it was called at the time, was better. But then it should have been. It wasn’t forced to try to deal with the complicated themes, etc., in only a few hours. This gave the creative team time to explore those ideas. Even then, it wasn’t perfect.

Along came the latest version of Dune. Denis Villenueve split the book into two films. Not a bad idea. But in this second film, from what I’m hearing, he took some liberties with the plot that have left fans of the book scratching their heads and wondering how these choices will play out in Dune Messiah, assuming that books gets the Villenueve treatment. Some of the liberties are minor, something you’d expect in the translation from page to film. But some are fairly major and can have serious impact on the subsequent film.

But some of the reviewers are applauding the changes. Not because they make the story better, but because of girl power or something. Sorry, but you need to maintain at least the character of the original source if you don’t want to piss off the fans. (Again, I haven’t seen the film, and am talking more about the reviews than the flick.) What I want to see from these reviews is if the changes make the story stronger–from a story telling point of view and not from a cultural/political/social point of view.

Yes, I’ll be going to see the movie myself. Guess I’ll see then what I think about the changes and if they make the story stronger or not.

The second review that had me raising my eyebrows was one for the newest Ghostbusters movie. Oh, how the reviewer whined. It wasn’t “new” enough. It was too derivative. It’s indicative of what’s wrong with Hollywood. Of course, this same reviewer loved the all-girl version of Ghostbusters and thought it was groundbreaking, etc. Yes, I’m rolling my eyes. Especially since, if my memory serves me right, they (or one of their colleagues loved the Rey Star Wars and didn’t complain about how derivative they were.)

Look, no one goes to Ghostbusters for cutting edge stories or for new ground to be plowed. We go to be entertained. We want to see Slimer. We want the bad jokes. For those of us old enough to remember the original movies, seeing the old gang back together, even if they are only supporting characters, is just the touch of nostalgia we want to remember our childhoods.

Again, I haven’t seen the movie but I plan to. My complaint is that these two reviewers, and so many others, forget two very important factors. Fans of books will go see movies based on books they enjoyed. But they will be vocal about their complaints if the story is changed in any major way. Hell, we’ll grouse about minor changes sometimes. Don’t tell us the changes make for a better story without explaining why and don’t expect us to agree if you start spouting some political or social reason for why it’s better.

They also forget that we go to movies to be entertained. That sometimes means seeing the familiar. That said, I’m as tired as the next person when it comes to the remakes of TV shows and movies. So I guess I’ll see if the reviewers were right or not when it comes to their complaints about these two movies starting this weekend.

For those of you who have seen the movies, what did you think? Are the reviews right?

Until later.


Another quick reminder. Surtr’s Fury is now available for pre-order on Amazon. It will be an Amazon exclusive for the first three to six months (still figuring that out). Then I will decide whether to take it wide or not. Here’s the link. Also, there’s a new snippet out (as of 0900 Central) on my substack—asg

Featured image created using Midjourney AI.

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