Catching Fire is actual proof that if you stick to the book’s plot, the movie will do fantastic
So, striving to replicate the source material to the best of its abilities is what makes a good film? Or a high-grossing film? I don’t know what “do fantastic” means in this context, but I’m betting it’s one of the two, let’s go with that. Sweet, now that we’ve agreed on terms, let’s do a quick unpack of why this textpost is dumb.
Point one: books and films are two entirely different mediums, and what works well in one could be awful in another. They have different needs, a whole different criteria that they have to meet to be a strong piece. Think about it: Tom Bombadil works in The Fellowship of the Ring. Tolkien was writing a sprawling mythology with linguistic side quests and only a vague concern for pacing. Peter Jackson’s Fellowship, on the other hand, does not have room for the four hobbits to take an extended vacation with an ancient wood spirit. It’s a fantasy road trip movie, and pacing is everything, sticking to the book in this case would have been a mistake.
Point two: you can’t include everything, and sometimes there’s a good fucking reason. Let’s take American Psycho. Great movie, most critics agree. The book is…certainly something. And I don’t know about you, but I think the film is a lot better for not having Patrick Bateman insert a live rat into a woman’s body. Films that make tough choices about what needs to stay on the cutting room floor often become better works of art than the books that inspired them.
Point three: adding shit to bolster a weak point in the original isn’t a sin. Remember how we got that great fight scene in Breaking Dawn Part II, the one that blew everybody out of the water and gave that entire stupid series stakes (no pun intended), for the very first time? That was added entirely for the film, and it was crazy and over the top and exactly the shot in the arm a lagging story needed.
Point four: directors are artists too, and when they adapt a book, they bring their own artistic sensibilities to the table. For better or worse, you now have a middleman between your book and the finished film, someone who is going to have an opinion about the characters and story, just like you, but maybe not the same ones. It’s the adaptation dice roll. Sometimes you get The Shining, other times you get IT.
Catching Fire was a very faithful adaptation of a book, yes, but that’s a product of the right crew and cast meeting the right director who has the vision to take what’s on the page to the screen. This time it all worked out, but you can’t just make sweeping generalizations about adaptations like that. Remember that slavish devotion to the source material is what crippled Watchmen, and keep your fingers crossed for Mockingjay.
—Charles Babbage to Alfred, Lord Tennyson, re. his poem “The Vision of Sin” (via nimiumeruditionishabeo)
Number of parking tickets given to former Soviet embassy employees in Washington, D.C. that remain unpaid: 50,693.
The first time I came across this fact, I posted it on Livejournal, where I had a lot of Russian followers at the time. They responded wonderingly: “What’s a parking ticket?”
Then they laughed at the idea of anybody paying the government money just because of a piece of paper. Turns out, in Russia, they just tow your car.