Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Star Trek and Respecting Fans with Movie Adaptations

I have always been a Star Trek fan and was eager for the new movie. Without giving away any of the plot, I must say I was impressed with what the writers were able to accomplish. They have re-imagined the series in a manner that will attract and delight new fans without ruining the story for the older fans. The original series and subsequent movies and spin-off series remain intact, and that was no easy feat!

Consider the fate of most book-to-movie adaptations. The book is always better than the movie (unless it was written second) and usually the movie is a BIG disappointment for the fans. Part of this comes from condensing a large novel into two hours of movie. A lot comes from the fact that fans form their own ideas of what characters and scenes will look like, and rarely does that vision match what is on the screen. And some comes from writers & directors who simply do not understand the spirit or message of the book.

Sometimes it works. The Lord of the Ring movies were incredible adaptations, in part because director Peter Jackson's such a huge fan of the books.

Sometimes it's almost scary spot-on, such as with The Watchmen, which was almost frame for frame identical to the graphic novel.

More often than not, the movie falls short and misses the mark by miles. One of the worst adaptations I've ever seen was for "Flowers in the Attic."

What's the best and worst adaptation you've ever seen?


Helen Ginger said...

I liked Star Trek, also. It leaves it open for many sequels, but didn't feel as though that was its purpose. I saw it in a Trekkie crowd the night before the official opening. That group loved it as well.

Straight From Hel

Nancy J. Parra said...

I thought the Star Trek movie was big fun!

As a rule, I tend to stay away from book to movie adaptations... I have to say, though, that while I enjoyed the Lord of the Rings movies- I preferred the books.


Anonymous said...

I agree that the new Star Trek movie was great. I'm glad it's getting such rave reviews everywhere, thereby validating my own geekiness.

Anonymous said...

I thought the worst adaption to the big screen was the movie "Shogun." The book was a riveting, non-stop page turner that held me in a sleepless non-eating trance for 20 hours straight - no joke. The movie was no where near as compelling.

Best? Probably "The Shining" - the version with Jack Nicholson in it. Darn near as good as the book.

Mike Douglas said...

Even though I haven't read the books, the Lord of the Rings Trilogy has to be the best adaptation, simply because they're my favorite all-time movies. I still can't believe it's possible to make movies that good. The worst? It's hard to narrow it down, there have been so many baddies. Tarzan was a boyhood hero of mine, and I don't recall ever having seen a decent Tarzan film.

The book-to-film adaptation I'm looking forward to is The Historian. I loved the book - I hope they don't mess it up.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Christina, we need to revel in our geekiness!

Marvin, I really liked The Shining adaptation as well. Most of King's books-to-movies are terrible. I also really liked Silver Bullet - from Cycle of the Werewolf.

And Mike, I've not read the Historian!
But I do recall a very large family gathering where all the adults & teens were watching the 1981 Tarzan, and since the girls were all staring at Miles O'Keefe and the guys at Bo Derek, I don't think anyone really cared that it wasn't a good movie!

Mike Douglas said...

haha ... Oh yeah, I remember that Tarzan flick. It was terrible - one of the worst - but it scored a Perfect 10 for eye candy. *grin*

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I haven't seen the new Star Trek. I tend to avoid adaptations unless it's been a couple of years since I read the book. Otherwise, I find myself comparing the two as the movie goes along which can be a bit distracting! BTW I really liked the Shining too. Jack Nicholson was great!

Jane Kennedy Sutton

Morgan Mandel said...

I'm not a huge sci-fi fan, but I've heard some good things about Star Trek, so I'll probably check it out when I get some time, whenever that may be. (g)

Morgan Mandel

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

I'm not a big sci fi fan when it comes to literature but I've always loved the Star Trek series. And funny this should be in my mailbox. I just got home from seeing it. It was lots of fun and I like that much is based on real quantum physics.


Allyn Evans said...

I LOVED the new Star Trek movie! Although I was disapointed that they didn't find a way to have William Shatner appear. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

You know, Allyn, I thought the same thing! They COULD'VE put William Shatner in the movie, too.