Thursday, February 19, 2009

Lengthy Litigation: Fan Boys, Shut Up (Part II)

photo and copyright Jason Cross

(continued from Part I)

After all, the medium of film has set parameters, and once you go over the two hour mark, you’re going to start losing your audience. The print medium’s parameters lend themselves more forgivingly to larger and denser stories. This is why it is so hard to find a medium between the mediums, and why filmic adaptations of large novels rarely live up to what people want. But this doesn’t mean the films suck, or are poorer by default – it just makes them different, and they can still be excellent. A perfect example is one of my favorite books, and a pretty kick ass movie – Jurassic Park.

Being a fan of the author (Michael Crichton, who sadly passed away last year), my mother read the book right when it came out, and then passed it on to me, thinking I was old enough to get my head around it and really enjoy it (to date myself, I read it in 7th grade, a year or two before the movie came out). I did really enjoy it, reading the entire 400 page book in a 24 hour span, refusing to sleep, and entirely convinced by the end that raptors were on the mainland in Central America and working their way north.

When I found out later on that a movie was due – and that Spielberg was doing it – I was truly ecstatic. I wanted to see Nedry’s guts get ripped out by that dilophosaur. I couldn’t wait to see the looks on the faces of the characters when the computer showed them the animals had been multiplying and that there were a ludicrous amount of raptors. How great it was going to be to see the raptors on the boat headed towards the mainland, the cave full of baby and parent raptors on the island, and the climactic carpet bombing of the whole island.

Now, if you’ve only seen the movie, you probably have no clue about most of that. Nedry’s demise was made pg-13 (though, still pretty gruesome in its own right). While there was a brief mention that the animals were reproducing, that was all it was. There were only 3 raptors in the movie, none made it to the mainland, and the island never got carpet bombed. Was I upset at the changes made? Hell no! That movie was great! I wound up with a very comparable sense of enjoyment from a 2 hour movie that I got from a 400 page book that took me 20-24 hours to read. The mediums are different, so the film that is based on the book is just that – based on it. But different. And it’s still allowed to be awesome.

(to be continued)

- Lengthy Litigation: Fan Boys, Shut Up (Part I)

+ Adaptation Analysis: Jurassic Park [Fandomania]
+ Jurassic Park Movie Review [Rotten Tomatoes]
+ 15 book-to-film adaptations that live up to the source material [A.V. Club]

- Goodchild

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