Most of the time I’m not looking forward to watching movies that have been adapted from books. Sometimes it works. Sometimes I just feel they do it because that means no one has to bother coming up with an original plot, and people who are too lazy to read can get the general gist of the book from the film. Well, recent trends seem to be gearing towards the idea that hollywood can’t come up with anything decent on their own so they’re adapting anything they can think of, and pumping out sequels for everything else. I’d be happier if there were more screenwriters doing more original stories for film. But there are a few films coming out this year that I’ll be looking forward to because of their books. And I’m hoping the movies will put more people on to the books.
Now, the obvious place to begin would be with the Hobbit. While I am really looking forward to this film (I love the book), the first installment won’t be until the end of this year, and as it’s only the start of the year, there’s plenty of time for people to go apeshit over how awesome it will be. All in due time.
One film I’m really looking forward to, perhaps more than the Hobbit (considering LotR is already a massive cultural phenomenon), is John Dies at the End. The book was published in 2007, but before that it was online for anyone to read. I’m pretty sure the demand online was what lead to its publication.
I read the book a couple of years ago when I saw a copy in my uni bookstore. I’d read a bit about it online and decided to give it a shot. It’s pretty awesome, lots of genre blending, satire, metafiction, all the makings of a clever and entertaining contemporary novel. And I think a sequel is on its way very shortly too. Anyway, the trailer looks like it’ll stick pretty closely to the book, or at least keep things crazy enough that the film will be something that requires a certain level of thought. It doesn’t look like some braindead blockbuster that’s been slapped together on a massive budget to look like a shiny shiny pretty film to look at.
The other film I’m keen on is the new Wachowski film, Cloud Atlas. The book came out in 2004, and it’s currently sitting on my bookshelf, begging to be read. I bought it a while ago after I read a local lit magazine article ranting and raving about the author, David Mitchell. Not only does the concept of Cloud Atlas sound brilliant (a series of narratives, one nested inside the other inside the other etc…), but it seems he’s got great concepts for all his books. I was pretty stoked when I picked up Black Swan Green for five bucks at a discount book stall. I’ll be hanging out for the trailers for Cloud Atlas, and I’ll be making the push to read the book before the film comes out. I’m pretty sure it’ll be out later on in the year, so I’ve got plenty of time to get on it.
For someone that’s not much of a movie-goer, I’d be more than willing to see these films at the movies. Which is more than I can say for a lot of films that came out last year. The last film I saw at the movies was that Justin Timberlake sci-fi film “In Time”, which was a sort of spur of the moment “let’s go see a film, ok that one” type deal. Before that, the last film I remember actually being excited about was Tron Legacy.
It’s not really that I hate new movies, it’s more that I’m a guy who’s been studying creative writing and literary and cultural studies for the past three years, and I get disappointed when films put too much effort into the production and not enough into the plot. I piss off my family a lot when I watch movies with them, as I like to make note of when a narrative hits a weak point or when they do something that’s way too gimmick-ey, but to some extent, all films have to be watchable, so while I openly criticise, I still enjoy plenty of those films, I just don’t think they’re anything special. Treat it as entertainment and move on.
For the record, I’m excited to go watch the Studio Ghibli film, Arrietty, next week in the cinemas. With subtitles.