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A topic I saw recently in a comment interested me, and got me thinking about the old The Last Airbender movie by M. Night, widely regarded by the fanbase here as a failure. It also got me thinking about film adaptations of books and series' in general. I don't want to beat a dead horse, so I'll broaden this beyond a rant on the ATLA movie. I'll be touching upon the few book/series adaptation movies I've seen, and discussing which one I think is the worst.
Before I start the blog, though, I'd like to say something. If any of you've seen my Nostalgiblog series and were wondering where it went, I'm sorry for not keeping my word to do weekly posts. I was going to do one, but I started feeling sick and stressed out, and my homework load started piling up...I'll try and restart the series eventually, but for now, the discussion is movies.
I've heard many rants about how Dragonball: Evolution is probably one of the worst movies ever and a disgrace to the name Dragonball; I haven't had the (mis)fortune to see the movie yet, so I really have nothing to say on that, but I'll take everyone's word that it is one of the worst movie adaptations in all of history. My personal least favorite movie adaptation was, in fact, M. Night's monstrosity he calls a work of art. You're all entitled to your own opinion, but I saw it as full of dry, wooden acting, cringe-worthy lines, decent at best effects, a sporadic, hard to follow plot, hard to care for and underdeveloped characters, and, to top it all off, a disappointing climax. And that's on its own, apart from the show.
The Percy Jackson movie is similar in being unfaithful to its roots, but different on its own. If you don't know what Percy Jackson is, it's basically a series about how the Greek gods did, in fact, exist, and are still alive today, in modern America, having children with mortals; these children are dubbed demigods, or "half-bloods." They fight monsters, they go on quests, occasionally they save the world, but here, they're mostly under 18 years old. Back to the movie, it completely rewrote the story, making a minor point in the book the focus of the journey, changing plenty about the main characters, and even dropping some crucial aspects of the full series. But, on its own, it wasn't that bad of a movie. The actors we're decent for the most part (except for Annabeth, with horribly cheesy lines and an intimidating stare), a followable plot, some development, and pretty great effects (like the Underworld, which I thought looked great, but was a bit over the top). The plot was made to be more followable, instead of just a group of teens struggling to make their way west, with horrible stuff going on everywhere around them. The movie's plot was more linear, and made it seem the group was going into the trouble, not that the trouble was coming to them.
Now I'm going to talk about some adaptations that did work, but each for different reasons than the other. I'm sure you've all heard of Harry Potter, a boy who finds out he's a wizard and that he's the "chosen one," destined to defeat the Dark Lord, which he does in the end (after losing half of the people he cares about). Most of the time, the movie stayed accurate to the books, but it had some parts removed or added. Most of what was removed, from what I understand, were things about the characters' backstories, or explaining in detail an aspect of the plot, which doesn't translate well to the big screen. You want to keep emotions flying; feelings of anticipation, anxiety, happiness, excitement, etc. And, in the end, it worked wonderfully.
Secondly, I'd like to talk about one of my all-time favorite films, How to Train Your Dragon. This is the story of a wimpy, outcast of a teen viking named Hiccup, trying to find his place in life; he goes on to be the first viking to train, ride, and befriend a dragon, uniting the dragons and vikings as allies. This movie, without a doubt, was brilliantly well done; I seriously felt for and related to Hiccup throughout the film, and was on the edge of my seat for the entire rising action and climax. This was, however, radically different from the book series it was based on. The books are obviously meant for young children, not a family audience. There was no love interest, no intense action; it was more along the lines of cute, simple, easy to read and process issues. This, honestly, would have been boring and unexciting if they stayed along the book's plot. The change was necessary and amazingly well done.
The End (finally)
Congratulations if you made it through all of that; I really can type for a while...But seriously, thanks for reading. Feel free to comment on anything I've said in the entire blog. Feel free to agree or disagree with anything I've said above; all I ask is that you keep it civil and respectful, and on topic. In addition, please post below which film you think is the worst (and/or best) adaptation of a book or TV series you've ever seen (Don't go into comics, like Batman, though). Thank you all, and I'll see you again soon.