~Well that should be non Graphic Novel for my nerdy followers. (i.e. my own kids)~
“Well the movie wasn’t as good as the book.“. I wish I had a nickel for every time I’ve heard that. I would have about $8.35 and I could use it. Of course the movie isn’t as good as the book! If movies were filmed being entirely faithful to the book you would have to give up your day job, or at least your summer vacation, to see any of them. And with our short attention spans we are not likely to invest 27 hours into one. The Help was a big hit this summer, on the heels of being read by half of the book clubs in America. I thought the film did a good job of capturing the gist of the story, and the essence of the characters. That’s all you can ask for.
Occasionally, the movie can actually be better than the book. Some cinematic magic occurs to elevate it above even the author’s best efforts. But they are few and far between. Usually, you have a picture in your head as you read the book – certainly the main characters but often the setting and overall ‘feel’ of the film. Sadly, that is not what the director has in mind and the end result often disappoints.My favourite novel of all time, Beach Music by Pat Conroy, would make a remarkable film. However the story is immense and would need to be a mini-series – and we don’t seem to make those anymore. I guess the viewing audience today is far too fickle to commit. Oh for the days of Roots and Lonesome Dove!
Now that CGI and other effects are so effective – and prevalent! – we can revisit all of the books whose very subject matter made them impossible to film. That is why there is such a resurgence of comic, wait, Graphic Novels being made into films. The incredible stories can be brought to life in a much more realistic way. No longer does superman have to lay across two chairs with a fan blowing his cape to simulate flying.
The next big movie coming our way is the novel Cloud Atlas. (insert gasp and/or shudder here). One of the most complicated stories ever, Cloud Atlas is a brilliant novel that involves six inter-related stories. These stories are all dramatically different, and cross from the mid-19th Century through to a post-apocalyptic future, passing through Korea, Belgium, New Zealand and South Florida. Promotional materials for the film state it features an ‘international’ cast – but the top billed in Tom Hanks. Hmm. On the upside, it is being made by the Wachowski’s – who used to be the Wachowski Brothers when they made the Matrix movies. Now Laurence Wachowski has left his wife for a dominatrix, and become Lana. I guess if anyone can handle the mind-bending story of Cloud Atlas it’s these two.