Thursday, January 17, 2008

Never Trust a Rating

We rent our movies from Redbox. Can't beat a dollar, right?

A few weeks ago (or maybe it was more recently than that), we rented a movie that we weren't too anxious to see. The previews had made the movie look...not horrible, but definitely not our type of flick. But Redbox lists Yahoo ratings on their website when they give a summary of the movie's plot, and this particular movie got a B+, so we figured, why not? The movies we normally rent are never rated that high.

Turns out, we loved the movie.

So tonight, when Brandon was looking online at the redbox movies and came across one we'd never heard of, but it'd been rated an A-, we figured we were good to go.

It was the worst movie I've seen in a REALLY long time.

I purposely don't watch bad movies. It's a waste of my time. We have way too many toys to waste time on bad movies. And yes, I'm kind of a film snob. Sorry.

But this movie tonight, wow. It's the reason I hate adaptations. Some people, who are book snobs, hate adaptations for not staying true to the book. But I disagree. The great thing about a book, or one of the great things, is that you can imagine it exactly the way you want. You don't need a movie to do that. You've already done it yourself when you first read the book.

A film adaptation should be its own creation. Taking its inspiration from the novel (or short story, or whatever) and becoming something more. Changing the plot as needed for a more concise story, because the way a book unfolds and the way a film plays out are structured differently and have to be treated accordingly.

This may be a bad example, but I'm going to use it anyway. Now, I really like the Harry Potter books. I'm a super huge fan. When the seventh book came out, I went and got my copy at midnight. I couldn't stand the thought of waiting even a second longer than I had to. But I did not like the fifth Harry Potter book the first time I read it. There's a part in the book where Sirius gives Harry a Christmas present that Harry never opens. The whole book, I'm wondering what the present is and when he's going to open it. It started driving me nuts. Why even add that Sirius gave him this present if Harry isn't going to open it or even remember that he has it? I remembered, so why didn't he? Then, in the end, he finally opens the present and if he'd only opened it when he got it, it would have changed the entire story.

I hate things like that. A reader shouldn't be smarter than a book. That makes for a bad book, in my opinion.

So when the fifth Harry Potter movie came out, I wasn't expecting much, but still went to see the movie at midnight. It surprised me how much I loved the movie. For one, the stupid Christmas present wasn't even in the film. True, they changed a lot of plot elements in the movie and left out a lot of things from the book. But what made it a good movie, for me, was that it was a story in and of itself.

Recently, I read the Twilight series and LOVED it. Especially Twilight. It may be the best book I've ever read. But I'm nervous because they're making a movie of it. The actor they've cast as Edward...wouldn't have been my first choice (or second or third...or twentieth even). Of course, I'll still go see the movie opening night. (Another part of being a film snob is that I only like to watch movies in the theater on opening night. And after opening weekend, I'd rather just wait to see it on dvd.) Hopefully, the movie will be as good of a movie as the book is as a book.

Okay. I don't even know what I'm really ranting about anymore. I swear I'll get back to writing mindless posts about the boring daily adventures of Caleb Benjamin really soon.


Fox Family said...

Hey Karen! I thoroughly enjoyed the Twilight books too! I am always hesitant to see books made into movies though because it distorts the image I had in my head, etc. I enjoy reading your commentary on things! :-)

kristymccray said...

you never told us what movies you watched that you loved/hated??

Lisa said...

Yes, I would like to hear what movies you saw as well.

I think it's so interesting to see movie adaptations of books, mostly just to see how close they got to what my ideas were. I hate seeing a movie before I read the book because it totally influences the way I read it.

I read Twilight too. They're way fun books. I'm excited for the movie, but I don't have very high expectations for it.