Sunday, 26 April 2015

Adapt & Survive Part 2.

I'm not a fan of splitting the final book in a series into 2, I see no point in it but I have done it for my own blog posts. And I left a long gap in between.

The reason why I started this 'theme' in my post is mostly because I ma extremely looking forward to film that happen to be adaptations, mostly 'Far From the Madding Crowd'. I was also consumed with obsession over another film that was an adaptation. This doesn't happen often. Although writing that, I was and am really into The Hunger Games series and The Hobbit trilogy. When The Great Gatsby was announced and that Baz Luhrmann was directing, I was obsessed about this film too, mainly as it is an adaption of my favourite book. He was the right director to bring the book to life as the previous films had failed to grasp the spirit and emotion of the characters. The casting, in my eyes, was exactly right (apart from Myrtle).

Looking over my bookshelves, which I often do, its become more apparent to me that more than half of titles have been adapted into film and TV shows. This isn't a bad thing but it is slightly worrying. This means that less and less films are original ideas, note, not concepts. Some of the greatest characters are from books and some are used over and over again, taken out of their original stories and placed in entirely new ones. Having looked up the series 'Penny Dreadful' as I was rather intrigued by it, only to find old faithful characters reappear in the character list. Victor Frankenstein, Mina Harker, Caliban are all from different stories.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen is a prime example. The amazing series of graphic novels by Alan Moore and Keith O'Neill created a 'league' of characters taken or influenced by characters from classic literature. These characters are the heart of the story. The comic was then made into one of the most disappointing adaptations ever. My point is that even great source material, the comic, has an origin story, the characters from literature.  I'll move on before I annoy confuse anyone further.

The adaptations of the futuredo include a franchise, but then again, when don't they. I enjoyed The Maze Runner, the book and the film, it was the less 'showy' and 'desparate for attention' dystopian franchise to the Divergent series. With Scortch Trials set to be released next year, I wanted to get ahead of the game. The sequel is better in a way that the action is faster and the story moves along. The downside, I felt that too many questions were half answered and the lead character is basically beaten up, mentally. There were too many mini twists that set up false starts, but the characters are interesting and yes, people are left by the wayside, the author isn't afraid to let people go, as proved by the first book. The book and story is very cinematic so it was easy to visualise everything, even its success.

It was announced months, possibly years ago, that Gemma Arterton would be taking the lead role in the adaptation of Posey Simmonds 'Gemma Bovary'. Arterton was also Tamara Drewe in the film of the same name, which was also based on the graphic novel by Simmonds. So who better to portray another heroine. Of course, this, like the TLEG series, Gemma Bovary is a reworking of 'Madame Bovary'. Characters borrowed from the classic novel, to appear reworked in the book by Simmonds which is adapted to create the film. The book was brilliant and I read it without knowing anything about the original story. From the trailers too, Arterton is a great choice. The film was released last year, but only in France. A release date here and the US might be a while off yet.

As well as books that have already been adapted, there are those that have been barely published and have been snapped up and in production. 'Burial Rites' by Hannah Kent, was one of these. Ok, it might not be in production right now but there have been talks about Jennifer Lawrence taking the lead. The story, set in Iceland, is about Agnes, who was charged with the murder of her former master. Due to the lack of prisons, she is sent to an isolated farm to wait for her execution. The execution itself was the last public one in Iceland, in 1829. The story is interesting and combine it with amazing views of Iceland, I'm sure it will be spectacular. I did hope to read it before the film materialises. Lately there has been less buzz about an adaptation but I'm sure it will all come up again soon.

As for other adaptaions, 3 out of the 5 above are set to be made into films. When? Who knows but its on the cards. I added the Fables book in there as there has been mighty rumblings about a possible film, then TV show then film again. The awarding winning sesries, Fables, has too great a universe to be crammed into one film and I'm not too sure if it will work as well on screen as it does in the page. A TV series could have done it justice but with film talk a few months ago, I fear for future of this comic. I put 'Death and the Penguin' in the mix as I hope that one day there will be a film version but I think it might have missed its window. 'Mortal Engines' looks like it has a similar fate, although this is a book I would really like to see make it to the big screen and with a British cast preferably as it is after all, set in London, even if London is a gigantic machine that roams the empty landscapes eating other cities. I read the book after finding at a school fate for 10p, it took me a day. I couldn't put it down except for eating. At the time I read it, it wasn't my type of genre. There were whispers that Peter Jackson was going to take a crack at it but all we can do it hope.

As for 'Flow My Tears, The Policemen Said', this is one of those Philip K Dick adaptations thats been waiting in the side lines for some time. The story, like his other work, is odd and at first difficult to grasp. But with Amazon finally commissioning a full series after the success of the pilot episode of 'The Man in the High Castle', there may yet be hope for Flow My Tears.

'The Other Typist' has a similar story to 'Burial Rites'. It was published then sometime after it was annouced that Keira Knightly would take the lead in the 1920's set story about a typist who works in a police precinct. When another typist arrives, she at first befriends her, falling under her spell. This friendship soon turns to obsession as she tries to find who this other typist really is. Great set up and I'm sure you can imagine the beatuful costumes, atmosphere of the 20's in New York. I've had the book sitting on my shelf waiting in line to be read but I also have a few credits on my Audible account waiting to be used. We'll see shall we.

Now that Part 2 has finally been complete. Anyone out there looking foward to film adaptations? Or tell me what you think about adaptations in general, happy to hear all thoughts.

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