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[P]
Book Burning: Hollywood Style

By thelizman in Op-Ed
Thu May 30, 2002 at 05:53:26 PM EST
Tags: Culture (all tags)
Culture

This Friday the Tom Clancy book "The Sum Of All Fears" will make its big screen debut. In TSOAF, Clancy brings back the familiar players like Jack & Catherine Ryan, John Clark and Domingo Chavez. This time, terrorists have gotten their hands on a nuke, and are going to set it off in an American city. The book was a good read, as are most of Clancey's works, but the movie is already set to be a miserable disappointment to those who liked the book, or are familiar with Jack Ryan after having seen him portrayed by Alec Baldwin in "The Hunt for Red October", or Harrison Ford in "Patriot Games" and "Clear and Present Danger". The names are the same, but everything else has been changed to protect the politically correct. I call this "Book Burning: Hollywood Style". Warning: Plot Spoiler Inside.


In TSOAF:TB (The Book) the story opens with with a narrative of the 1967 Six Day War, and details a situation where Israel was nearly forced to defend itself against a Syrian invasion by employing tactical nukes. Luckily, the nuke strike orders were rescinded, but the security forces managed to lose track of one. The plane to which it was attached had headed into battle, its pilot unaware he was carrying anything other than an unpainted fuel tank. The plane crashed, and the bomb found its way into an old man's garden where he buried it. Fast forward 4 decades. Our hero, Jack Ryan, is in his post-"Clear and Present Danger" life as an analyst with Office of the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency (DDCI). He's burning out, drinking too much coffee, too much wine, working long hours, not getting any sleep. Ryan hatches a plan for a mid-east peace initiative that finally brings stability to the middle east, once and for all quieting the guns of Israel and it's enemies. The new spirit of cooperation between the countries and peoples does not go over well with the powers-that-were, however. One such former power manages to get his hands on the wreckage of the aforementioned bomb, and is able to use his cold war network of contacts to find former East-German nuclear scientists who are able and willing to assist him in rebuilding the bomb. At the same time, the organization receives help from a member of Native American terrorist organization. The book follows a litany of intelligence activities which culminate at the end of the book with the detonation of the nuke in Denver during the Super Bowl (very "Black Sunday"-ish). The American military apparatus goes on full alert, and all signs point to a first strike by renegade elements of the former Soviet Military. The countdown to war begins.

Then there is "The Sum Of All Fears: The Movie" (TSOAF:TM) which stars Ben Affleck as a young Jack Ryan working as an intelligence analyst for the Office of the Deputy Director of the Central Intelligence Agency. Jack is courting a young lass (as single young men like him are want to do), but finds the nature of his work for the CIA puts a great strain on his relationship. He soon pieces together the conspiracy, but not the conspiracy from TSOAF:TB. Instead, Neo-Nazi Fascists longing for the days of the cold war buy a pair of nukes, using one on Chechnya and the other on the Super Bowl.

Therein lies the book burning. Obviously, it is not politically correct to have Islamic Arabs, Communist East Germans, and the oh-so-gentle Native Americans hatching such an insidious plot of mass murder. So if we overlook that point, we still have to deal with Jack Ryan as a young stud played by Ben Affleck who is trying to woo the lady, instead the workaholic Ryan who struggles with disappointing his lovely wife (manly men take note - in TSOAF:TB, Ryan struggles with an embarrassing male inadequacy), family, and realizing that he is no longer the dashing hero, but just another bureaucrat working for the system. But then, we can ignore that if the story is still the same, but it's obviously not: We already know that the book and movie use different means to lead up to the same ends.

The question we are left with is that at what point can we honestly call this movie "The Sum of All Fears", and with a straight face accredit it to Tom Clancey? This form of butchery is nothing new, but is all too rarely commented on. Best selling books sell out their integrity when they become blockbuster movies - so much so that people now expect it. In same cases, we have to accept that the book simply cannot be compressed into a 120 minute format. Such was the case of Blackhawk Down; There were simply too many aspects of the Battle of the Black Sea to cover it all. In real life, four helicopters were shot down, two making emergency landings at the airfield. In real life, Private Blackburn fell because he wasn't experienced in doing fast-ropes, and not because the helicopter had to dodge an RPG. But these were minor points, because overall the movie got most of the critical material right. That didn't make the Malays feel any better, as they lost two of their soldiers while helping with the extraction of the wounded Rangers. The Pakistanis were similarly incensed that they were portayed as a bunch of chauffers. Other details, such as Mark Bowden's analysis, or why the Delta guys were putting duct tape around their grenades, weren't as critical to the story as central theme: That soldiers in battle are less concerned with politics, and more concerned about getting themselves and their fellow soldiers out alive.

So we accept to a given degree that there will be deviations from the books. We also note when there aren't any notable deviations. "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone" was renowned for its literal accuracy and verisimilitude. But should this be something we have to notice?

Book Burnings are held by people as a demonstration against literary works which are unpopular due to their content. Our society considers book burnings to be a barbaric act, however, because of the value we place on the expression of ideas. Some ideas in Tom Clancy's books were both too politically sensitive for Hollywood, while others lacked the sexiness needed for the movie to attract a wider demographic. But Hollywood studio executives would be stupid not to capitalize on both recent events and the popularity of Clancey's best sellers - a fact not lost on critics in the Bush administration and their own marketing departments who have focused entirely upon the terrorist aspect of the story. That is why I call this a Book Burning: Hollywood Style.

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Poll
Book Burnings: Hollywood Style
o Should be expected: Some books don't make for good movies. 35%
o Are a paid-for-plagiarism. 19%
o Aren't acceptable: I won't recommend a movie which deviates from the book 22%
o Should promote people to read the original book 23%

Votes: 68
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o The Sum Of All Fears
o The Hunt for Red October
o Patriot Games
o Clear and Present Danger
o "Black Sunday"-ish
o critics in the Bush administration
o Also by thelizman


Display: Sort:
Book Burning: Hollywood Style | 188 comments (112 topical, 76 editorial, 0 hidden)
The book is always better than the movie (4.25 / 4) (#3)
by ucblockhead on Wed May 29, 2002 at 07:03:02 PM EST

Hollywood has been trampling over author's works since Hollywood began. This is nothing new. The rarity is not changing the book, but when they stay true to the book.

It has nothing to do with "political correctness". It has to do with most producers and directors wanting to leave their mark on everything and marketroids trying to sell to the least common denominator.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup

books vs. movies (3.75 / 4) (#7)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Wed May 29, 2002 at 07:19:47 PM EST

The main reasons people think books are better than movies made after them is that very order, and the fact these are two totally different mediums. To reverse this, I doubt anyone claims a book adaptation of a movie is better than the movie.

Also, books tend to center on internal conflict (if there is one at all), whereas movies tend to concentrate on external conflict. This is necessary due to the different mediums.

I tend to think that arguments on whether the book/movie is better are useless. A book should be viewed as a book, and a movie adaptation should be viewed as a movie. A good example of this is FotR. Both are magnificent on their own. The movie has taken shortcuts where necessary, deleted a character that would've not worked on the big screen (Bombadil) and done some other tweaks to transfer it better. I really haven´t even thought about whether the movie is better or not.

My bodyweight is muscle and cock MMM
Tenured K5 uberdouchebag Herr mirleid
Meatgazer Frau gr3y


[ Parent ]
mostly agree (4.00 / 2) (#24)
by SocratesGhost on Wed May 29, 2002 at 07:58:22 PM EST

but you should check out the book The Princess Bride written by the William Golding who first wrote the screenplay for it. In some ways, it's much, much more charming than the movie, and that's meant as a compliment to both the movie and the book.

But you are correct. Two different mediums require two different treatments. It's an unfair comparison.

-Soc
I drank what?


[ Parent ]
Erm... (none / 0) (#68)
by Pseudonym on Thu May 30, 2002 at 01:06:57 AM EST

That's William Goldman, who not coincidentally also wrote the screenplay.

For completeness, I made some comments about Goldman elsewhere on this topic.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Well... (none / 0) (#69)
by ucblockhead on Thu May 30, 2002 at 01:33:18 AM EST

Yes, two different mediums, but generally, if it starts as a book, the story was made for a book. There's always going to be some warping of the story to make it into a movie, and you are going to lose something. How much depends a lot on the original book. Some books are more filmable than others. "Fight Club" worked very well as a movie whereas it is amazing that anyone thought they even had a shot at doing justice to "Naked Lunch".

It's not a matter of books being "better". It's a matter of a story being designed for one medium and forced into another. For what it's worth, novelizations of movies are almost always much worse than the movie.
-----------------------
This is k5. We're all tools - duxup
[ Parent ]

Hey (none / 0) (#80)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu May 30, 2002 at 05:24:57 AM EST

I always kinda liked Cronenberg's Naked Lunch, but, then again, it wasn't really a screenplay of the book so much as an original fictionized account of the book's creation.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
fight club... (none / 0) (#108)
by joshsisk on Thu May 30, 2002 at 10:44:43 AM EST

is a better film than book, I believe. It's almost a glorified short story, though - it takes about the same amount of time to read as it does to watch. Very big type, not very many pages.

I like to read the books films were based on after the movie, because usually the book is so much better. This is one of the only times I can recall where I thought the opposite was true.
--
logjamming.com : web hosting for weblogs, NOT gay lumberjack porn
[ Parent ]

The Sweet Hereafter (none / 0) (#125)
by cr8dle2grave on Thu May 30, 2002 at 01:54:51 PM EST

Atom Egoyan's filmic adaptation of The Sweet Hereafter, a novel by Russell Banks, is another case where, IMHO, the movie is better than the book.  The book is pretty good, but the film is a true masterpiece -- I could gush for hours.

---
Unity of mankind means: No escape for anyone anywhere. - Milan Kundera


[ Parent ]
I also had this with ... (none / 0) (#157)
by Ranieri on Fri May 31, 2002 at 08:20:36 AM EST

The Lord of The Rings.

But i'm afraid to state that in public because LOTR fans are a horde of rabid fanatics that will rather rip you to shreds than hear anything even vaguely critical of their beloved book.

Sort of like fundamentalist christians/jews/moslims.
--
Taste cold steel, feeble cannon restraint rope!
[ Parent ]

however (4.00 / 1) (#77)
by martingale on Thu May 30, 2002 at 04:07:07 AM EST

I agree with you to the extent applicable, but it seems to me that the thelizman is suggesting that the film and book are *significantly* different in the story and characters. If so, it begs the question of whether the movie is an adaptation of the book, or simply a movie which borrows the book's title for a fee. That's worth discussing.

[ Parent ]
the line (4.00 / 1) (#81)
by MotorMachineMercenary on Thu May 30, 2002 at 06:28:24 AM EST

At what point do you draw the line between an adaptation and borrowing a title for a fee? There are extremely faithful adaptations of books (Harry Potter) and extremely loose adaptations (Don Juan DeMarco). I don´t see the point of discussing semantics on such a fuzzy line, and I maintain that a book and a movie adaptation should be viewed as separate but complementary works of art.

One can not reasonably expect to see their own live-action version of the book for the simple reason that that version will be totally different from what the screenwriter, director and producer had in mind. One will always be disappointed if she goes to see the movie expecting to see their version of it. This translation becomes even more complex when the book is of internal struggle as opposed to high concept action. Books on internal struggle adapt poorly due the wide variety of own adaptations readers have. There is a thousand ways to shoot the line "Margo felt a sudden urge to turn her life around". Multiply this over 20+ scenes, 100+ shots. Action books (like the Clancy novel here) are much easier to translate because most people will agree on a particular way a car crash is shot. (SPOILER ALERT!) Does it really make a difference in the story if the soldier falls due to an RPG or incompetence? I don't know, haven't read the book or seen the movie but I doubt it.

My bodyweight is muscle and cock MMM
Tenured K5 uberdouchebag Herr mirleid
Meatgazer Frau gr3y


[ Parent ]
yes and no (4.50 / 2) (#84)
by martingale on Thu May 30, 2002 at 07:47:24 AM EST

The line is fuzzy, of that there is no doubt. But I disagree that this always makes it difficult to decide one way or the other.

For example, consider the recent blockbuster Spiderman. If the title had been Batman instead, but the film had been identical, there would have been a clear case where Hollywood mislead the public. But of course, both the Batman comic book and the Spiderman movie are about lone heroes who fight evil villains. Does the small variation in details warrant the claim that Spiderman is not an adaptation of the Batman comic? I'm saying that in some cases, it is plausible to say that a film is no longer an adaptation of the book.

In this case, thelizman's two descriptions of TSOAF lead me to believe that the movie doesn't qualify as an adaptation of the book. Small details like changing the main character's age, professional experience level and motivations lead me to this conclusion. Of course, I haven't seen the movie or the book, so this is all based upon thelizman's account, but that is the basis for what we're discussing anyway.

In summary, I agree with you on the general fuzziness/impossibility to decide, but believe that sometimes, some cases are clear cut.

[ Parent ]

Borrowing the title for a fee... (5.00 / 1) (#117)
by FortKnox on Thu May 30, 2002 at 12:49:04 PM EST

I find this desecrating for a book. A great example is Heinlein's _Starship Troopers_. A fantastic book, but an utter desecration of a movie. What's worse is there really isn't a chance for a good producer to make a "true" adaptation of the book now that someone just grabbed the title did what they wanted with it.
--
Yes, shrubberies are my trade. I am a shrubber. My name is Roger the Shrubber. I arrange, design, and sell shrubberies.
[ Parent ]
Exception... (4.00 / 1) (#91)
by Rocky on Thu May 30, 2002 at 09:02:45 AM EST

...in Goldfinger the book, Goldfinger was actually trying to steal the money from Fort Knox.

In Goldfinger the movie, he was trying to render it unuseable, thus increasing the value of his own stash.

The movie made much more sense.

If we knew what it was we were doing, it would not be called research, would it?
- Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)
[ Parent ]

Chances are... (4.00 / 3) (#11)
by DeadBaby on Wed May 29, 2002 at 07:23:24 PM EST

The movie was well into production before Sept. 11th so I doubt you're claims of censorship are correct. In fact, they probably went out of their way to use non-islamic terrorists because it was getting kind of boring and over-done.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
What Did You Read? (4.00 / 1) (#18)
by thelizman on Wed May 29, 2002 at 07:41:59 PM EST

I never referenced 9/11.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Not a lot... (3.00 / 2) (#42)
by DeadBaby on Wed May 29, 2002 at 09:15:48 PM EST

Sorry, it was pretty crappy. I stopped reading pretty quickly.
"Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us." - Carl Sagan
[ Parent ]
Mediocrity (4.25 / 4) (#15)
by bayankaran on Wed May 29, 2002 at 07:33:08 PM EST

After all Tom Clancy and/or Hollywood symbolise mediocrity.

I am afraid to switch on the telly. There is that moronic looking Affleck overdramatizing some shitty dialogue every commercial break.

"a neo-fascist bought an a bomb" (5.00 / 3) (#27)
by thelizman on Wed May 29, 2002 at 08:02:32 PM EST

I totally agree...the dialogue is shitty, and the actor only made it worse. Hearing that phrase sears my brain.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Ben Affleck (3.50 / 4) (#17)
by demi on Wed May 29, 2002 at 07:40:48 PM EST

cannot be Jack Ryan. No way. Even Alec Baldwin was far too young. Even considering that the story was set a few years ago it doesn't work.

They've changed so many pertinent details from TSOAF that it doesn't matter anyway, though. But how the fuck can they put Ben Affleck in Daredevil's costume, I mean DUDE...

I agree, but (none / 0) (#158)
by toganet on Fri May 31, 2002 at 09:26:41 AM EST

Who would you cast as Daredevil?  I've asked myself this question, and I can't think of anyone.

Suggestions, anyone?

Johnson's law: Systems resemble the organizations that create them.


[ Parent ]
Films are their own form of art (4.66 / 3) (#22)
by karb on Wed May 29, 2002 at 07:51:19 PM EST

And, as such, any film will probably depart from the book, combining characters, compacting/inventing events, etc. Harry Potter was panned by many because it followed the book too closely.

That being said, it is disappointing when the spirit of the book is violated. When the depiction of the villain is "sanitized" to make them easier to dislike the book definitely loses some of its moral authority.

The worst instance of this I have ever seen is the movie "Starship Troopers", which actually makes fun of the book ... which would be ok if the book sucked, but it's quite good. And I don't think anybody went to see the movie because they hated the book. :)
--
Who is the geek who would risk his neck for his brother geek?

While it is just a movie (3.66 / 3) (#39)
by imrdkl on Wed May 29, 2002 at 08:32:54 PM EST

there are accounts which contend that the Bush administration was not too pleased about the flick. It
crosses over the line of civic responsibility and commerce.
according to the unnamed administration official.

Is this the political correctness you're referring to?

Your spoiler should be noted, btw.

Matt Drudge (4.00 / 1) (#59)
by Demiurge on Thu May 30, 2002 at 12:01:08 AM EST

Is nothing but an internet gossip who, due to an unfortunate twist of fate, is for some reason seen as a legitimate journalist.


I can remember how years ago, Drudge was nothing but another internet kook, although slightly louder than most.


Of course, with the dot.com boom and the associated massive public interest in the internet, he was unfortunately cast as the online version of Walter Cronkite.

[ Parent ]
Yea, maybe so (none / 0) (#75)
by imrdkl on Thu May 30, 2002 at 03:53:42 AM EST

but the boy finds some kickass links. I will say that for him.

[ Parent ]
A few thoughts (4.62 / 8) (#40)
by jabber on Wed May 29, 2002 at 08:40:28 PM EST

  • Movies can stand up or fall down on their own. They don't need to be measured against the books on which they are based.
  • Propaganda is very important in volatile times. The pump is still primed for Muslim-scourges in the US. Nazis are a spectre EVERYONE can agree on. This builds up Patriotism, without making it a 'U.S. vs Them" issue. Is it fair? Who said things are fair? What's 'fair' mean?
  • Most film-makers are in it for the money. Hiring Affleck makes it (partly) a chick-flick, and date movies make more money than thought-provoking geek-flicks.
  • The best laid plans of mouse and man are easily torn asunder by a man with a plan. Ever read the Foundation Trilogy? Bin Laden is a Mule. And all it takes to set the old mutual distruction reflex in motion is one free radical no one counted on. Yes, in this respect, the Sum of All Fears is reactionary mutually assured destruction, precipitated by the private agenda of some small fringe group virtually nobody cares about and no one at all expects. In this respect, it sounds that the movie it true to the spirit of the book, even if it does try hard to sell itself to the public in a pallatable manner.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"

Propaganda and patriotism (4.00 / 6) (#43)
by acceleriter on Wed May 29, 2002 at 09:17:01 PM EST

Propaganda is very important in volatile times. The pump is still primed for Muslim-scourges in the US. Nazis are a spectre EVERYONE can agree on. This builds up Patriotism, without making it a 'U.S. vs Them" issue. Is it fair? Who said things are fair? What's 'fair' mean?

I can do without patriotism if it comes at the expense of the truth.

[ Parent ]

You just might have to. (4.33 / 3) (#44)
by jabber on Wed May 29, 2002 at 09:27:17 PM EST

Seeing as virtually all Patriotism is a matter of opinion, and "opinion" is not "truth". Ask the Brits about "The Revolutionary War" some time. But when you do, call it "The Colonial Insurrection" or something more appropriate to their sense of Patriotism. Or, talk to a deep-fried Southerner about "The War of Northern Aggression".

Patriotism is about as elusive a term as Liberty. This does not mean they're not worth dying for. It just means you have to be unshakable in your convictions before you take the bullet.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

I'm probably splitting hairs (4.33 / 3) (#47)
by acceleriter on Wed May 29, 2002 at 09:57:19 PM EST

on something too abstract to nail down, but I think you might be describing a combination of Jingoism and willful ignorance as patriotism. I believe that one can love and be loyal to one's nation without believing everything its government says.

With regard to the upstart colonials, I doubt the man on the street in the U.K. thinks that way today. Apparently, a good number of those in Parliament at the time didn't, either. I heartily recommend _The_Long_Fuse_ by Don Cook, which I was turned on to some time ago by a K5 story.

[ Parent ]

Nazis didn't fly planes into the WTC center (3.66 / 6) (#58)
by Demiurge on Wed May 29, 2002 at 11:51:23 PM EST

As painful as it may be for the unbelievably politically correct, Arabs were responsible for the 9/11 attacks.  One of the(if not the) greatest foreign threat to America is Islamic extremists.  The Third Reich has ceased to be a problem.


Since Muslim extremists, often of Arab ethnicity, are responsible for many terrorist attacks in the world today, how is it racist or intolerant for a film to portray some terrorists as Arabic?  It's not as if Sum of All Fears is subtitled "The Muslim Threat to the Great White Race".  The book in no way implied that all Arabs or all Muslims were violent or dangerous.  

[ Parent ]
"Arab ethnicity" (4.50 / 2) (#76)
by streetlawyer on Thu May 30, 2002 at 04:07:03 AM EST

Since Muslim extremists, often of Arab ethnicity, are responsible for many terrorist attacks in the world today

Make that always of Arab ethnicity, unless there are substantial Islamic Malaysian or Indonesian terrorist groups I'm unaware of (spare me the lecture on Timor; the Indonesian Army are bastards right enough, but they're not terrorists). In fact, non-Muslim Arabs are much more likely to be dangerous to the West than non-Arab Muslims (Saddam Hussein's right hand man is a Christian, for example).

The entire problem of the Middle East is one of the West's treatment of the Arab world, and politically correct refusals to acknowledge that this has very little to do with Islam at base are a big part of the obstacle to a solution.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

What about Richard Reid, shoe bomber? (4.50 / 2) (#97)
by georgeha on Thu May 30, 2002 at 09:42:58 AM EST

He wasn't Arab, was he? OR is he the exception that proves the link?

Plus, there's John Walker, and I'm going to guess that there will be a numerous fuzzy minded college kids attempting to make Osama the Che of their generation.

[ Parent ]

hmmm well (4.00 / 1) (#104)
by streetlawyer on Thu May 30, 2002 at 10:16:22 AM EST

True, but these guys were fellow travellers linked to groups which are intrinsically Arab. I suppose another example would be the Pakistanis in Kashmir, who aren't Arabs, but I don't know enough about Kashmir to know whether they are really terrorists or not, plus their grievance appears to be nationalistic at base rather than anything to do with Islam.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]
Iranians funding Hamas? (4.00 / 1) (#112)
by georgeha on Thu May 30, 2002 at 11:59:46 AM EST

If there is enough truth to that rumor, you have non-Arabs giving money to Arab terrorists.

[ Parent ]
"giving money" (4.50 / 2) (#114)
by streetlawyer on Thu May 30, 2002 at 12:29:54 PM EST

Perhaps so, but again it all comes down to the Arabs; all sorts of people with a grudge against Israel and/or/and therefore the USA might chuck a few quid in the direction of anti-US terrorists, but for the last thirty years, the vast majority of the world's active international terrorists have been linked to Arab causes.

This isn't a theory of racial biology, by the way; it's a point about the fact that the Arab nations have more of a legitimate historic grievance against the West than almost any other group in the world.

--
Just because things have been nonergodic so far, doesn't mean that they'll be nonergodic forever
[ Parent ]

Richard Reid (2.00 / 2) (#165)
by PenguinWrangler on Fri May 31, 2002 at 12:25:46 PM EST

No, he was a mentally deficient arsehole who was easily led by nutters.
"Information wants to be paid"
[ Parent ]
Some other international terrorists (4.50 / 2) (#148)
by samth on Fri May 31, 2002 at 12:33:10 AM EST

Of the Muslim variety:
Aby Sayyaf (Phillipines)

Of the non-Muslim variety
The PKK (now non-violent, I think)

Given a choice between Libertarianism and ravenous martian spores, I ask you, do I look good in this Bernaise sauce? -- eLuddite
[ Parent ]

McVeigh and Kaczynski would disagree (4.50 / 2) (#100)
by jabber on Thu May 30, 2002 at 09:52:55 AM EST

I'm not saying that portraying terrorists as predominantly Arabs is untrue. I'm saying that given the current state of things, and the already considerable non-Arab animosity towards Arabs in general because the WTC terrorists (and most others) are in fact Arabs, would just fuel the fear of Arabs that most non-Arabs, especially in the US, have.

Nazis make a good target because they're less scary right now. The whole world agrees that Nazis = Bad, so most of the world also thinks that anyone who continues in that (Nazi) thinking is kooky and crazy. Showing Arab terrorists might cause people to see the relationship backwards: Most terrorists are Arabs, so most Arabs are terrorists.

This would be a bad thing.

[TINK5C] |"Is K5 my kapusta intellectual teddy bear?"| "Yes"
[ Parent ]

Twisting the truth (3.33 / 3) (#139)
by Demiurge on Thu May 30, 2002 at 05:27:58 PM EST

Why do so many K5ers seem to loathe it when government and big media twist the facts to say, portray marijuana as the Devil, but completely endorse it when they're trying to be PC?

[ Parent ]
Hmm. (4.66 / 3) (#145)
by vectro on Thu May 30, 2002 at 06:43:13 PM EST

Perhaps its because there's more than one person on K5 and they don't all share the same attitude, perception, position, or personality?

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Something that happens all the time (3.50 / 2) (#50)
by WhiteBandit on Wed May 29, 2002 at 10:21:27 PM EST

Unfortunately, Hollywood does have a nasty habit of butchering *any* movie based on a book. I guess one theory goes that "people don't have a long enough attention span for a movie to encompass everything in  a book." Kinda makes sense, I heard that the average movie length is something like 98 minutes now? (I need to verify that figure, pardon me if it's wrong).

But this book burning really isn't a novel idea. I mean just in the past few years you have movies adapted from books:
Jurassic Park, English Patient, Talented Mr. Ripley, LotR, Harry Potter, Blackhawk Down, A Perfect Storm, Time Machine, Contact, Any of the Clancy Movies :).

I try not to let it get to me when I see a movie coming out based on a book I read. But if you're a huge fan, you can't help to draw comparisons and (usually) be disappointed.

An upcoming movie I want to see is the Bourne Identity. Undoubtably it will also be butchered though. I've read all three books in that series by Robert Ludlum (Bourne Identity, Bourne Supremacy, Bourne Ultimatum) and totally enjoyed them. I saw the trailor for it and thought that was "AWESOME!" until I noticed that Matt Damon plays Jason Bourne. Not who I would have pictured to play an assasin. . . (of course my g/f and I rented the Talented Mr. Ripley the other night, on second thought, maybe he could play a crazy man well :)

Unavoidable (4.00 / 1) (#66)
by Pseudonym on Thu May 30, 2002 at 12:58:44 AM EST

It has nothing to do with attention span. It comes down to this: Great books make terrible movies.

The main reason why is the problems of narrative devices. In a book, you can describe, you can get inside a character's head, you can go into detail on back story (Victor Hugo was notorious for it) and so on. In movies, the dictum is show, don't tell. (After all, a movie which relies too heavily on words is what we call a play. Television relies more on dialogue than visuals, too.)

William Goldman went into the problem at length in his classic Adventures in the Screen Trade and its sequel Which Lie Did I Tell?, in case you're curious.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
You bring yourself to a book (3.00 / 1) (#154)
by 0xA on Fri May 31, 2002 at 04:50:36 AM EST

There are serveral fundamental differences between how you enjoy a book and a movie. I think that when a person really enjoys abook they are using thier imagination to help fill in the gaps and extend the universe of the book. For every person the way that a character looks or behaves is based in thier own reality, they bring themsleves together with the story. This doesn't happen with a movie the same way, most especially with Hollywood movies. A character from a book you loved somehow morphs into "Funny Black Sidekick #4".

For me, Jack Ryan will always look more like Alec Baldwin than the other two. He'll also be a bit fatter, wear a goatee and drink English beer. Gates McFadden can stay pretty much the same though.

I try to avoid movies made from books that I really enjoy, it's always disapointing. I share your hopes and fear with The Bourne Identity, this one I will go see. I hope it turns out okay but that book has some pretty subtle shading to the the plot, pretty ambitious for a movie I think.

[ Parent ]

Where to begin? (4.42 / 7) (#53)
by gbd on Wed May 29, 2002 at 11:13:17 PM EST

  • As others have mentioned, if this is the first time that you have seen a less-than-faithful movie translation of a book, you need to get out more (or perhaps stay in more and watch more television.)  Stephen King and the late Stanley Kubrick had a few thoughts on this issue.

  • Principal photography for The Sum of All Fears finished well before September 11th, so your implied allegation that a "politically correct" Hollywood is trying to whitewash the image of extreme Islam is pretty weak.  You could have at least mentioned this in your article.  The fact that you didn't indicates that you were either unaware of this fact, or you chose to ignore it.  This, in turn, makes portions of your story either poorly-researched or deliberately misleading, respectively, which is why I voted to abstain (even though I think this could generate some interesting discussion.)

  • Movies (and, in particular, action/suspense movies like this) are made to serve a specific purpose: escapist entertainment.  Everybody with more than three functioning brain cells knows the severe threat that religious fundamentalism (Islamic fundamentalism in particular) poses to Western society.  We know this regardless of the villains that Ben Affleck happens to be battling in the latest action flick. For the love of God, when I plop down nine dollars for a ticket to a movie, I want to escape from reality for a couple of hours... I don't want to sit through a grim reminder of it! All a person has to do if they want that is turn on the news.

  • Since when has Hollywood shied away from portraying East German Communists as villains?  Haven't you ever seen any James Bond films, for God's sake?  And do you really find it hard to believe that a stylized Hollywood version of Black Hawk Down would replace a rope accident with a much more exciting RPG attack?

  • Harry Potter is the last name that you should bring up in a story entitled "Book Burning."  Furthermore, the name of the book and the movie (outside of the US) is Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone.  Finally, the reason that it was so faithfully-translated is because the secret atheist / Communist / homosexual / Catholic / Jewish / racial minority / etc. Hollywood conspiracy wanted to maximize the Satanic effect of High Priestess Rowling's work in order to expedite the enslavement of the minds of American children and turn them into an army of robots who hate the Lord and vote Democratic.
That was a joke, son.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
The Bond films rarely portrayed Communists... (4.25 / 4) (#55)
by leviramsey on Wed May 29, 2002 at 11:41:10 PM EST

..as villains.

[This is somewhat in contrast to Ian Fleming's Bond, but that's a whole other post.]

Yes there have been at least a couple of Russian generals/colonels involved in the villainy. However, it was generally made clear that these were rogue officers.

The first instance is in From Russia With Love, where one of the main villains is Rosa Klebb, a KGB colonel who is a mole for SPECTRE.

In Octopussy, a Russian general, working through an agent in the employ of the KGB plans to smuggle a small tactical nuke onto an American airbase (Darmstadt, I believe). The explosion will be considered an accidental detonation of an American weapon stored there, resulting in the removal of American nukes from Western Europe. After this, the general's plan was to begin an armored invasion of Western Europe, using Soviet numerical superiority. However, the general is machine-gunned by the KGB as he tries to cross the East/West border.

In The Living Daylights, General Koskov of the KGB has been tasked with buying Western arms from an arms dealer for use in Afghanistan. He and the arms dealer hatch a plan to make some extra money on the side by converting the money into diamonds and buying opium from the mujahadin in Afghanistan, smuggling the opium into the US and selling it at a tantastic profit, with part of the profits funding the weapons purchase. Koskov's superior at the KGB, General Pushkin, gets suspicious, so Koskov fakes a defection to the West. While interrogated by the British, he reveals that Pushkin has revived Smiert Spionam, Stalin's program of assassinations of Western spies. Koskov is then kidnapped (the West presumes, by the KGB). Bond is assigned to kill Pushkin, but has some problems with the assignment, and is ultimately convinced by Pushkin that Koskov is the villain. Again, a rogue KGB officer is the villain, and may even be considered a secondary villain to the arms dealer.



[ Parent ]
Forgot one... (4.25 / 4) (#60)
by leviramsey on Thu May 30, 2002 at 12:01:15 AM EST

In Goldeneye, a Soviet colonel (in the mid-1980s) "kills" agent 006 in a British raid on a chemical weapons facility. After the fall of the USSR, the colonel has been promoted to general is also in the employ of a Russian mafioso.



[ Parent ]
Your first causes are off. (5.00 / 1) (#63)
by avocadia on Thu May 30, 2002 at 12:25:20 AM EST

Principal photography for The Sum of All Fears finished well before September 11th, so your implied allegation that a "politically correct" Hollywood is trying to whitewash the image of extreme Islam is pretty weak.

It has been pointed out in other pieces on this movie (This one from Slate, for example) that it isn't necessarily altruistic self-censorship that is behind the change from German Communists and Palestinian terrorists in the book to neo-nazis in the movie. It is in fact pressure from Arab-American lobby groups, the same groups that decried True Lies and The Siege, the latter a movie whose sentiment you would think they have approved.



[ Parent ]
Oh, I don't doubt .. (4.50 / 2) (#65)
by gbd on Thu May 30, 2002 at 12:50:35 AM EST

.. that lobbying from special interest groups affects the content of movies that come out of Hollywood.  That's how a free society with laws that protect free speech and free association works, after all.  I just don't see that this is the only force at work here.  After all, the effect that Arab-American groups would have on the monetary bottom line of an American movie studio (which is, after all, what it's all about) is miniscule at best.

If Jim Zogby of the Arab-American Institute came out and expressed a desire for people to boycott (Insert Arbitrary Movie Here), I doubt that it would have a discernible effect on that movie's opening weekend gross.  Note: This is not to say that I don't value Mr. Zogby's opinion; I only mean to point out that this group's opinions do not carry a significant amount of weight with the average American moviegoer, the vast majority of which are not Arab-American.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
[ Parent ]

Quite the opposite (4.50 / 2) (#131)
by thelizman on Thu May 30, 2002 at 02:11:38 PM EST

If Jim Zogby of the Arab-American Institute came out and expressed a desire for people to boycott (Insert Arbitrary Movie Here), I doubt that it would have a discernible effect on that movie's opening weekend gross.
Quite the opposite, this would generate publicity that would likely increase ticket sales. I wouldn't have ever gone to see "Dogma" if it weren't for all the highly enraged Catholics making a big stink out of it. Rather, I would have been browsing the video store a few years later and thought to myself "Hey, there's another movie with Jay & Silent Bob...gotta watch that".
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Try Not Beginning At All.... (3.33 / 3) (#130)
by thelizman on Thu May 30, 2002 at 02:08:04 PM EST

As others have mentioned,
If others have mentioned it, then why join the chorus? If others jump off a bridge, can I count on you to join them?
if this is the first time that you have seen a less-than-faithful movie translation of a book, you need to get out more
You apparently did'nt read the article much before being incited to respond. This movie has absolutely nothing in common with the book aside from a few names and the title.
Principal photography for The Sum of All Fears finished well before September 11th, so your implied allegation that a "politically correct" Hollywood is trying to whitewash the image of extreme Islam is pretty weak.
I never mentioned 9/11, that is your assumption. My "implied allegation" (it wasn't implied, I directly said it) has more to do with Hollywood liberals being more comfortable with blaming the white devil for this than racially profiling and stereotyping a number of groups.
Movies (and, in particular, action/suspense movies like this) are made to serve a specific purpose: escapist entertainment. [snip] And do you really find it hard to believe that a stylized Hollywood version of Black Hawk Down would replace a rope accident with a much more exciting RPG attack?
Believing isn't the problem. The fact that it happened at all is the problem. The book in and of itself was a fine - if mediocrely written - story that did'nt need any hollywood rewrites. Even if we, as a society, are slack enough to accept some rewrites and omissions (which as I pointed out is necessary in many cases), this movie is a complete an utter overhaul so muchso that it is a completely different story with the same characters.


--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Hrm (5.00 / 3) (#140)
by gbd on Thu May 30, 2002 at 05:31:03 PM EST

You apparently did'nt [sic] read the article much before being incited to respond. This movie has absolutely nothing in common with the book aside from a few names and the title.
And again I ask... so what? This happens all the time. The specific example that I used was Stanley Kubrick's film version of The Shining, which was a novel by Stephen King.  The book and the film both featured an old hotel that was being looked after by a family of three, and some of the situations were similar, but they diverged to the point where the stories were completely different.  Most of the film's most memorable moments and events (the hedge maze, the elevators filled with blood, "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy", etc.) were products of Kubrick and had nothing to do with the book.

King was furious about the movie; he was not at all happy about the way that Kubrick portrayed the Jack Nicholson character.  In the book, Jack ended up being much more sympathetic and the "main villain" was the haunted hotel itself.  In the movie (and particularly its ending, which nowhere near resembles the ending of the book) the emphasis is on Jack's psychosis.  Now, personally, I liked both the movie and the book.  They were vastly different stories, but each of them stand on their own merits.  And it is for this reason that the opening credits state that the film is Based on a Novel by Stephen King.  It doesn't say Written by Stephen King.  I would imagine that the credits of TSOAF say the same thing about Tom Clancy.

My "implied allegation" (it wasn't implied, I directly said it) has more to do with Hollywood liberals being more comfortable with blaming the white devil for this than racially profiling and stereotyping a number of groups.
"Blaming" the "white devil?" Blaming them for what?  It's a movie, for crying out loud. None of the events of the book or the movie actually happened. You're acting like the original Clancy book is some kind of a historical narrative and that the screenwriters are a bunch of revisionists who want to rewrite the history books. And what does race have to do with this? I thought the villains were supposed to be neo-Nazis and fascists, not the "white devil." The fact that neo-Nazis and fascists tend to be white has very little to do with Hollywood, as near as I can tell.  Are you suggesting that white people are all fascists, or that Hollywood is trying to suggest this?

Here's the bottom line. The United States of America is a free country, and the liberties that are extended to its citizens via the Constitution apply to filmmakers as well. We are also a capitalist society. What this means is that if a studio thinks it can make more money on a film that hearkens back to the "good old days" of the Cold War than they can on a film that depicts carnage at the hands of Islamic terrorists, then they have a right to act in their own financial best interest.

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
[ Parent ]

What the hell are you arguing for.... (1.00 / 2) (#142)
by thelizman on Thu May 30, 2002 at 06:06:41 PM EST

I don't really have time to go in circles because you're too lazy to read. This is an OP ED where I expoused that it was unacceptable to have this level of rewrite, yet maintain a connection to a literary work it has little in common with. What the hell are you arguing about, or do you even know.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Eh? (3.00 / 2) (#144)
by gbd on Thu May 30, 2002 at 06:35:01 PM EST

I don't really have time to go in circles because you're too lazy to read. This is an OP ED where I expoused [sic] that it was unacceptable to have this level of rewrite, yet maintain a connection to a literary work it has little in common with. What the hell are you arguing about, or do you even know. [sic]
Er, I'm arguing that
  • it is acceptable
  • it happens all the time
  • this is not the vast conspiracy that you seem convinced it is
I could go back and verify that I've not said anything to the contrary, but I'm "too lazy to read."

--
Gunter glieben glauchen globen.
[ Parent ]
Nice review, but (4.00 / 2) (#54)
by Spork on Wed May 29, 2002 at 11:26:04 PM EST

Doesn't that "unaccounted for nuke" strike you like a pretty terrible plothole? I mean, the Israelis know how to count to 100, and their country isn't so huge that they couldn't have successfully found a downed plane... It seems to me like pretty lazy plotwriting. In any case, I would never pay to see a movie like this, so I don't mind reading the spoilers. From what you said, it doesn't seem like I'll be missing much.

It's been a few years since I read it... (3.50 / 2) (#56)
by leviramsey on Wed May 29, 2002 at 11:43:09 PM EST

... but the unarmed bomb separeted from the plane before crashing and landed in an area with a high background radiation level (plutonium isn't that radioactive).



[ Parent ]
Still seems silly! (3.00 / 1) (#79)
by Spork on Thu May 30, 2002 at 04:57:00 AM EST

I mean, if it separated then they knew roughly (within a radius of 20km) where the thing would be. A squad of soliders combing the area with metal detectors would be in for about a month of work, maximum.

I know this is a bit of a lame gripe, I mean, it's fiction after all. Still, I would have preferred a more plausible "bomb acquisition" scenario--you know, with people on the "inside" somewhere replacing a warhead with a dummy and disguising the real one in a van or a boat... I don't know.

Anyway, thanks for the extra info.

[ Parent ]

In the book (4.00 / 1) (#86)
by wiredog on Thu May 30, 2002 at 07:53:49 AM EST

It's somewhere in the Syrian part of the Golan Hieghts. They don't look for it for fear of tipping off the Syrians, leading to the Syrians finding it first.

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
[ Parent ]
Thread more interesting than book (4.50 / 2) (#116)
by ekeko on Thu May 30, 2002 at 12:40:06 PM EST

Hmm, this thread is turning out to have better plot that the book...

[ Parent ]
You might think that... (5.00 / 1) (#164)
by Mr.Mustard on Fri May 31, 2002 at 11:23:23 AM EST

But the US has lost at least 11 nukes without recovery, several of which were on american soil.

One has been missing for over 40 years.

Mr.Mustard [ fnord ]
[ Parent ]

I'm Not Clancy (none / 0) (#127)
by thelizman on Thu May 30, 2002 at 01:58:19 PM EST

As you read the book, the Israeli's knew what happenned after an investigation, but the bomb fell well within Syria's border in an area whose background radiatoin made it beyond their technical means to pinpoint a precise location. The part I don't accept from clancey is that a country who send a flight of F-16's into Iraq to blow up a nuke plant would'nt have spared a few bombs at the end of a war to obliterate the nuke.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
You have to be kidding (3.50 / 4) (#62)
by andrewm on Thu May 30, 2002 at 12:11:58 AM EST

This is the very first time you've ever been to a movie based on a book? I thought everyone knew that movies based on books are almost always significantly different to the book.

When hollyword makes it illegal to own or read a book after the movie has been made, then you can tell us how evil they are. Til then, try to remember that this is perfectly normal, and noone cares anymore. If it bothers you, just don't go to movies that are based on books.

Books after movies... (2.00 / 1) (#109)
by Elkor on Thu May 30, 2002 at 10:50:59 AM EST

When hollyword makes it illegal to own or read a book after the movie has been made

SHHH!!!!

You don't want to give them that idea. *shudders* It is a truly terrifying thought that at some point Time Warner will purchase some publishing houses (if they haven't already) and do just that, stop publication of a book after the movie has been made.

Or rewrite the book to match the script.

Regards,
Elkor


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
[ Parent ]
Already been done (none / 0) (#182)
by andrewm on Sun Jun 16, 2002 at 03:52:47 PM EST

Or rewrite the book to match the script.
Running Man the original book, Running Man the movie, and Running Man the book of the movie. (Apparantly it's now also a game show, only without all the dead people.)

[ Parent ]
The Point Your Were Aiming For But Missed Is (3.50 / 2) (#126)
by thelizman on Thu May 30, 2002 at 01:56:02 PM EST

The book and the movie are the same in name only. The resemble each other as much as The Lord of the Rings Resembles Dragon Slayer. I've seen plenty of butcherings, but this is the first time I've seen a movie "based on a book" that really had damn little to do with anything in the book.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Worst Movie from book Ever (3.00 / 1) (#167)
by Mitheral on Fri May 31, 2002 at 01:30:42 PM EST

You obviously never read Starship Troopers and then saw the movie. I commented that Starship Troopers (the movie) was based not on the book itself but instead loosely based on the blurb on the back cover of the book.

[ Parent ]
Starship Troopers (none / 0) (#185)
by yooden on Sat Jun 29, 2002 at 05:14:07 AM EST

The movie is the best movie based on a bad novel ever, without even changing the plot much.

[ Parent ]
Quality of book not important. (none / 0) (#186)
by Mitheral on Tue Jul 02, 2002 at 06:53:14 PM EST

How good the book was is irrelevent. Good or bad the book was barely recognisable in the movie. If it wasn't for the title, say the producers called the movie SpaceBattle or GetTheBugs, I'd bet most people, who had read the book, would never guess the movie had anything to do with the book.

[ Parent ]
Another Book (none / 0) (#187)
by yooden on Wed Jul 03, 2002 at 02:34:17 AM EST

You obviously read another book. Please name some major discrepancies.

[ Parent ]
ST Book verses movie (none / 0) (#188)
by Mitheral on Tue Jul 09, 2002 at 06:00:10 PM EST

OK, here goes:

To sum up:
The book is about Rico, his training and life changing experiences during a war.  Two thirds of the book is spent in basic training. Its like 10 minutes in the movie, mostly to get the shower scene in.

The movie is about the war with minimal character development.  And they didn't even get the war bits right.

Major material differences:

Right off the top no powered armour.  Power armour is half of the M in Mobile Infantry.  Most MI grunts were dropped in pods from orbit wearing nothing but their power armour.  Said grunts were each equiped with more fire power than a WWII company and were able to, among other things, jump to the roofs of buildings.  They were equiped with everything from hand held flamers to tactical nuclear missles.   The movie grunts get machine guns and total useless ones at that.

In the book Rico's father doesn't die in the attack on BA.  He later joins MI and confirms the correctness of Rico's decision to try for Citizenship.

Carmen and Rico's relationship plays important roles in the book that the movie doesn't even mention.

I can't remember, did they even read the automatic discharge list in the movie?

Philosophical Differences:
To begin with, while the Terran Federation in the book is specifically stated to be a epresentative democracy, in the movie the goverment is fascist.  

Second, the book was very multi racial, the movie looks like it was cast in hispanic-whitey ville.  Many of the core characters, including Rico whose first language is Tagalog, had English as a second language.  Seargent Zim didn't even speak English when he started basic training.

The MI in the movie abandons the the motto of never leaving anyone behind.  No where in the book does anyone just shoot the injured!

Zim was disciplined but fair task master in the book.  In the movie he was just cruel.  EG: They replaced a well stated monologue on the purpose of war and the reasons goverments use force with that stupid knife through the hand scene.

--

I could go on and on but I'd have to watch the movie to refresh the details and I wouldn't wish that on anyone.

[ Parent ]

Two things: (4.12 / 8) (#67)
by medham on Thu May 30, 2002 at 01:04:18 AM EST

Or actually three:

  1. The lobbying power of the following groups is at an all-time high:
    • Arabs
    • East German Communists
    • Native American Radical Enviornmentalists
  2. This political correctness is the most insidious we've yet seen.
  3. You should boycott the movie until they do a re-release with filthy Arab communists as the real terrorists. I mean Nazis, come on? As John Kenneth Galbraith writes in Name Dropping, we had to lie to ourselves about the Nazis to make them seem like worthy adversaries. The leadership was composed of ineffectual degenerates, down to a man.

The real 'medham' has userid 6831.

Ray Bradbury and Fahr. 451 (4.57 / 7) (#70)
by rts on Thu May 30, 2002 at 01:34:59 AM EST

I was reminded of the following, from the "Coda" of my edition of Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury:
Fire-Captain Beatty, in my novel Fahrenheit 451, described how the books were burned first by minorities, each ripping a page or a paragraph from this book, then that, until the day came when the books were empty and the minds shut and the libraries closed forever. ...

For it is a mad world and it will get madder if we allow the minorities, be they dwarf or giant, orangutan or dolphin, nuclear-head or water-conservationist, pro-computerologist or Neo-Luddite, simpleton or sage, to interfere with aesthetics.

That's just a selection from the entire Coda; it is well worth the read if you can lay your hands on an edition that contains it.


Ryan T. Sammartino
Ancora imparo.

Sensationalism in Journalism. (4.20 / 5) (#82)
by keith on Thu May 30, 2002 at 07:05:03 AM EST

You make one valid point. "The Sum of All Fears" the movie will probably be bad in large part due to the changes made in the story and characters.

The rest of this article is poorly thought out sensationalism. To compare the adaptation of a novel to "burning books" is ridiculous.

You show no understanding of the inherent difficulties of adapting a novel into a screenplay. This would be a good starting point. Things work in a novel that do not work in film. It's that simple. It's the same problems you would encounter adapting a novel into a play or a novel into an opera. You are switching media, and you need to make major changes, including changes to story.

Even when authors adapt their own novels, they still make massive changes. Take a look at some of William Goldman's work on "The Princess Bride" and "Marathon Man". Both of these films have major differences from their source material. And they're written by the same person!

I'll leave with a quotation from the article I linked to previously:
As the story goes, someone said to James M. Cain that "Hollywood ruined your books." "No," he is reported to have answered, "There they are right there, sitting on my shelf."



- keith

Yeah, save the tix, buy LOTR video instead (3.75 / 4) (#83)
by MickLinux on Thu May 30, 2002 at 07:44:12 AM EST

I have to say -- I am not exactly a Clancey fan.  His earlier Ryan books were good, but the later ones turned into a pipe dream.  

Nonetheless, I have to agree:  the movie would have been fine if they hadn't named it after the book.  To do that is to gut the book, to take what is not theirs as credit.  To me, not everything can be rightfully sold.

So my thought is... spend the money on a video of LOTR (or an additional screening), for which the producers *wanted* to change the material, but decided not to based on the hue and cry that was raised by Tolkien fans.

Or get out and have a walk in the park.  Since when did we depend on Hollywood for our lives, anyhow?

But sure, I'll vote this +1 section.

I make a call to grace, for the alternative is more broken than you can imagine.

Sun of All Fears, the book (5.00 / 1) (#87)
by wiredog on Thu May 30, 2002 at 08:00:40 AM EST

There is a decent thriller desperately straining to extricate itself from the elephantine bulk of that book. Clancy is in serious need of an editor. If he dropped 200 pages it would be much better. Ditto for all his later work. "Red October" is an excellent book, for its genre, probably his best. Also his smallest.

"one masturbation reference per 13 K5ers" --Rusty
Too Much Book (5.00 / 2) (#124)
by thelizman on Thu May 30, 2002 at 01:48:26 PM EST

I personally saw 4, and I hated not seeing Clark and Chavez get more play. That's the downside of Clancy; He's too longwinded. Alot of his stories could be told better in fewer pages. The whole submarine story could have been easily left out, as could the character of Marvin Russel (unless Clancy really had a beef with the American Indian Movement).
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Syria (2.33 / 3) (#102)
by wji on Thu May 30, 2002 at 10:07:03 AM EST

Syria didn't invade Israel in '67. Israel pre-emptively attacked Egypt, then Jordan, and then Syria just for the hell of it ("the Syrians...were not a threat to us" -- then commander of the IDF). The book, IIRC, had the bomb coming from the '73 war where Egypt took back the territory taken in '67, and Israel almost started a nuclear war over it.

Now, nuclear weapons almost were used in 67, by the US against Egypt because Israel attacked the USS Liberty. No, makes no sense to me either.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.

Same story at Slate... (2.00 / 1) (#103)
by jmzero on Thu May 30, 2002 at 10:12:30 AM EST

Similar article over at Slate by Reihan Salam.

What a fortuitous alignment of great minds....
.
"Let's not stir that bag of worms." - my lovely wife

Those Bastards... (1.00 / 1) (#123)
by thelizman on Thu May 30, 2002 at 01:34:49 PM EST

...can I sue : )
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Unavoidable (4.00 / 4) (#106)
by Rainy on Thu May 30, 2002 at 10:30:17 AM EST

This sort of thing is unavoidable for pulp fiction type of work. Hell, it happens to the best books out there - Dostoevsky's Crime & Punshment, for instance, absolutely perverted the very heart of that book. Back in the time in Russia there were new west-influenced nihilists, nitzchean super-men (tongue-in-cheek) who argued with traditional orthodox christians and such. Raskolnikov killed the old woman in an attempt to affirm his power and freedom to do as he sees right, whether popular morality approves or not. In the movie, which I didn't see so I could be a bit off, but from the reviews I gather that the girl killed an abusive relative or whoever in a fit of anger or self-defence.

That you can call book burning. With your Clancy novel, someone took a pop culture book and slightly changed the boogey man. Sound the alarms! Red alert! :-).
--
Rainy "Collect all zero" Day

I'm not a fan (3.00 / 1) (#110)
by danny on Thu May 30, 2002 at 11:07:52 AM EST

My brief review of Clear and Present Danger used to generate more negative email than anything except my Eddings review...

I even received email about it from Tom Clancy himself - and he probably ranks with Douglas Adams and Richard Stallman among the most famous people I've corresponded with.

Danny.
[900 book reviews and other stuff]

what did Clancy say? (nt) (2.00 / 1) (#138)
by jacob on Thu May 30, 2002 at 05:17:20 PM EST



--
"it's not rocket science" right right insofar as rocket science is boring

--Iced_Up

[ Parent ]
ethics of reviewing (3.00 / 1) (#150)
by danny on Fri May 31, 2002 at 03:07:32 AM EST

He tried to convince me it was unethical to review a book without having read it all. I argued that if I pointed out how much of it I'd read up front, that was very different to pretending I'd read the whole book.

Danny.
[900 book reviews and other stuff]
[ Parent ]

offtopic (2.00 / 1) (#151)
by linca on Fri May 31, 2002 at 04:01:58 AM EST

You can update your site, you're #1 on google's book review query. :)

[ Parent ]
so I am (2.00 / 1) (#156)
by danny on Fri May 31, 2002 at 07:57:07 AM EST

The last Google index rebuild (usually the last weekend of each month) has put me back on top. Just shows the power of Kuro5hin .sigs!

Danny.
[900 book reviews and other stuff]
[ Parent ]

Well Hollywood get one thing right (4.50 / 2) (#113)
by SIGFPE on Thu May 30, 2002 at 12:28:06 PM EST

It takes less than two hours to see the movie but actually reading a Tom Clancy book would probably take dozens of hours and feel like a lot longer.
SIGFPE
Looooooooong (4.50 / 2) (#122)
by thelizman on Thu May 30, 2002 at 01:31:21 PM EST

I was thinking when I bought the book at the airport a few weeks ago "Hmm...this isn't as horrendously thick as "Rainbow Six" or "The Bear and the Dragon", should'nt take that long".

WROOONG!
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Cannot resist the urge to pun (3.00 / 2) (#118)
by carbon on Thu May 30, 2002 at 12:49:19 PM EST

In real life, Private Blackburn fell because he wasn't experienced in doing fast-ropes, and not because the helicopter had to dodge an RPG.

"Holy shit! Phantasy Star Online off the starboard bow! Take cover!" *FOOM*



Wasn't Dr. Claus the bad guy on Inspector Gadget? - dirvish
How about 'book burying?' (4.50 / 4) (#135)
by mingofmongo on Thu May 30, 2002 at 03:51:02 PM EST

Arthur Conan Doyle (the Sherlock Holmes guy) wrote a book called 'The Lost World' about an isolated plateau in Africa where some dinosaurs had survived the extinction. A really good, compelling early fantasy/sci-fi book.

A few years ago, Michael Crichton wrote a poor sequel to a mediocre novel, which due to the public's general lack of taste became a huge seller and a big movie. It was called 'The Lost World.'

Now how many people will ever know there even WAS a great old book by that name? I wonder how many other great books have been buried like that. I wonder what great books I don't know about...

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion

I liked Jurassic Park (4.33 / 3) (#152)
by 0xA on Fri May 31, 2002 at 04:29:25 AM EST

A few years ago, Michael Crichton wrote a poor sequel to a mediocre novel

I thought Jurassic park was a pretty good novel, I really enjoyed it. I never read The Lost World, I was so put off by the movie adapataion of Jurassic Park that it ruined it for me. I can't even read the original novel without remembering the movie and all the hype and BS that came with, not to mention the crappy movie itself. That is really unfortunate.

O/T - Have you noticed that Crichton's books tend to make poor movies? Rising Sun was pretty good but Disclosure, Congo and Shpere were all pretty disapointing.

[ Parent ]

The good books made good movies (4.50 / 2) (#168)
by mingofmongo on Fri May 31, 2002 at 03:04:46 PM EST

of course his only good books were The Andromeda Strain, and Eaters of the Dead

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion
[ Parent ]

Re: How about 'book burying?' (4.00 / 3) (#161)
by equus707 on Fri May 31, 2002 at 10:30:47 AM EST

It was a low point for Crichton. It fell into the trap of many sequels, which is just to rehash the original plot, even to the extent of having another two irritating kids in the plot to appeal to the younger audience. His subsequent novels, though, e.g. Timeline and Airframe, are back up to his usual standard.

[ Parent ]
Timeline - Bleahhhh! (4.50 / 2) (#169)
by mingofmongo on Fri May 31, 2002 at 03:08:17 PM EST

Airframe didn't totally suck, but Timeline which was supposed to be historical science fiction, was terrible history, ridiculous science and very trite fiction. Crichton is pretty much a one hit wondder that kept swinging anyway.

"What they don't seem to get is that the key to living the good life is to avoid that brass ring like the fucking plague."
--The Onion
[ Parent ]

FYI: There *is* an adaptation of Doyle's work (4.00 / 1) (#177)
by cthugha on Sat Jun 01, 2002 at 08:22:27 AM EST

The BBC made a mini-series version of The Lost World featuring Bob Hoskins that recently aired on ABC TV here in Oz. I didn't get a chance to see it, unfortunately, so I can't comment on the quality.

[ Parent ]
Bah. What's worse is Hollywood's history burning (4.60 / 5) (#136)
by Kasreyn on Thu May 30, 2002 at 04:41:03 PM EST

With movies like Pearl Harbor to distort popular perception of the past. We've gone past book burning to the next level.

But this is nothing new. Lord knows the only thing America is good at is war, so that's what all our movies are about. We're the world's champions at patting oneself on the back, if nothing else...


-Kasreyn

P.S. A bomb hidden in an unsuspecting city? How many times has that been done, hmm?


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
The Sum of All Dumb Presidents (5.00 / 3) (#141)
by quasipalm on Thu May 30, 2002 at 06:06:18 PM EST

I find it ironic that (according to the Drudge Report, not necessarily a reliable source) Bush is annoyed that this movie is coming out right now. Evidently, he thinks it might scare the American public about terrorism. Of course, his thirty and some odd "alerts" since 9/11 are different. Those are necessary to protect the public. Or at least they're necessary in case something horrible happens, so Bush can say, "I told you so."

By the way, did everyone hear Warren Buffett's comment about a nuclear attack on the U.S.? ""It will happen," he said, "Whether it will happen in 10 years or 10 minutes or 50 years... it's virtually a certainty." He went off on this because of his stake in the insurance biz (his company is no longer going to cover several acts of terrorism). Meanwhile, Bush is mad at Hollywood for making people nervous.

(hi)
Total Fucking Misrepresentation Just For W Bashing (5.00 / 2) (#174)
by thelizman on Fri May 31, 2002 at 07:05:24 PM EST

An "anonymous white house source" says "he's not all that happy about it", and you take the liberty to ascertain Bush's entire feeling towards the movie. Fucking brilliant. Any wonder I hate dubya bashers with a passion.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Breath, my friend, breath. (5.00 / 1) (#175)
by quasipalm on Fri May 31, 2002 at 07:36:15 PM EST

Here's the story. I don't see what I misrepresented, so feel free to point it out to me. Also, I called Drudge "not necessarily a reliable source," so don't act like I didn't say it could all be false.

"After what we've all been through the past year, how can Hollywood so casually roll out a movie which shows Marines pulling a bleeding president from his motorcade?" questions the official, who said he's privately spoken with President Bush about the film.

"The president, of course, will let Hollywood be Hollywood, he will not publicly comment on this... but I can tell you he is not enthusiastic. I, myself, have serious, serious reservations... how it may alarm the public? How it very well may lead to a numbing-down of actual warnings that are issued."

(hi)
[ Parent ]
Irresponsible (5.00 / 2) (#176)
by thelizman on Fri May 31, 2002 at 07:47:02 PM EST

"Bush is annoyed that this movie is coming out right now. Evidently, he thinks it might scare the American public about terrorism. "

"Meanwhile, Bush is mad at Hollywood for making people nervous."

None of those three assumptions can be reasonably drawn from an "anonymous source" on, of all places, The Drudge Report. You totally and blatently misrepresented not only the content of the article, but the intentions of the President of the United States. At least the mainstream (albeit, liberally biased) media has more integrity to go off on the leaps drudge does, or you did.


--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
I think (3.00 / 2) (#147)
by delmoi on Thu May 30, 2002 at 08:27:52 PM EST

I'll read this artical after I see the movie...
--
"'argumentation' is not a word, idiot." -- thelizman
Books, Hollywood.... (4.50 / 2) (#153)
by stpna5 on Fri May 31, 2002 at 04:39:00 AM EST

Speaking of political correctness: The director Elia Kazan (yes, I know he's not considered cool except by Reaganites now)said in his autobiography that he didn't appreciate the total warp that happens from novel to film script until he eventually directed a film from his own book. Nobody seems less pleased with the rendering of an author's book in film than do fans of the book. Except perhaps the author himself! This seems to have become a part films when sound did. And it is in part due to tons of peripheral deals in between acquiring film rights and greenlighting a picture, and it has its own ever-changing cast of players, if not special effects. An excellent read if this topic is of interest is John Gregory Dunne's "Monster". It is first hand non-fiction and about the Frankenstein-like manner in which a story/book/novel becomes a script, which of course become transmogrified again into a film.

Quite shocking... (4.00 / 4) (#155)
by Mr Tom on Fri May 31, 2002 at 06:10:03 AM EST

... The number of americans that believe that an American boat captured the naval Enigma machine in the second world war. (U571)...

Course, that's just historical inaccuracy, protrayed as fact under the guise of "Based on a true story", which is the biggest bullshitism in the world. Witness total bullshit films like the above, and "Michael Collins", where history can be grotesquely re-written to appeal to an American audience.

Now, /that/ is a lot more concerning than Hollywood moguls chopping some flaky spy novel into bits to make it more palatable - they've been doing that ever since Brocolli put James Bond on celluloid. (With the exception of Dr. No, and From Russia with Love, which were fairly faithful) The alcoholic speed-freak that Bond readers know is totally different to the Bond on the screen. (Sorry, bit of a rant there...)

Oh - and for an example of a film that is just as good as the book, if not better. Try "The Cement Garden" (Book by Ian McEwan, but I forget who was responsible for the film) It rocks.


-- Mr_Tom<at>gmx.co.uk

I am a consultant. My job is to make your job redundant.

We did... (none / 0) (#173)
by thelizman on Fri May 31, 2002 at 07:02:50 PM EST

Actually, we did capture an enigma decoder and several documents, well after the British captured a machine, a few weeks after the French resistance produced the code book, and a few days before code breakers in England cracked enigma. Not that the movie wasn't complete bullshit, nor was the book it was based on not complete bullshit.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Ok, I hope someone has pointed this out already... (5.00 / 3) (#159)
by toganet on Fri May 31, 2002 at 09:28:38 AM EST

But I didn't see it immediately, so:

Blackhawk Down is about the Battle of Mogadishu.  Mogadishu is in Somalia, very far from the Black Sea.

Carry on.

Johnson's law: Systems resemble the organizations that create them.


Battle of the Black Sea (5.00 / 3) (#166)
by djkivi on Fri May 31, 2002 at 12:36:25 PM EST

If I remember from the book, Black Sea was the neighborhood in Mogadishu where much of the fighting took place.

[ Parent ]
Correct (5.00 / 3) (#172)
by thelizman on Fri May 31, 2002 at 07:00:30 PM EST

I went all the way out to my car, thumbed around the pages that weren't trying to fall out, and finally found the reference.
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Thanks for the info (5.00 / 2) (#178)
by toganet on Sat Jun 01, 2002 at 11:29:57 AM EST

I didn't know that -- I'd only heard of it as the Battle of Mogadishu.

Thank you, I have learned something today, and can now go back to wasting time on k5.

Johnson's law: Systems resemble the organizations that create them.


[ Parent ]
Can't Believe I Did'nt See that When I Wrote It... (5.00 / 1) (#171)
by thelizman on Fri May 31, 2002 at 06:58:13 PM EST

Red Sea, Black See, excuse me for not being racially sensitive : P
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
Sorceror's Stone (5.00 / 4) (#160)
by Khendon on Fri May 31, 2002 at 10:08:22 AM EST

There's an example of a situation where a book has been mutilated before it's even made into a movie. *Sorceror's* stone? Who the frig ever heard of a legend about the Sorceror's stone? If I was an American I'd be *deeply* offended by the assumptions those filmmakers were making about the average intelligence and education of Americans.

Just for clarity.... (4.00 / 6) (#163)
by stinkwrinkle on Fri May 31, 2002 at 10:41:20 AM EST

Does "politically correct" have any meaning outside of "some assholes don't like it?"

Nope (4.00 / 1) (#170)
by thelizman on Fri May 31, 2002 at 06:57:11 PM EST

That's precisely the meaning, in words I can appeciate as well.

"There's always some limp dick that gets offended"
--

"Our language is sufficiently clumsy enough to allow us to believe foolish things." - George Orwell
[ Parent ]
actually, yes (none / 0) (#180)
by gregholmes on Mon Jun 03, 2002 at 05:47:54 AM EST

The term was originally used on U.S. college campuses (campii?) with a straight face. If what you were saying met the usual requirements (friendly to the Earth, multi-culturalists, etc.) it was politically correct. If not, it wasn't.

Of course, when normal society got wind of it, it became a term of derision, used only ironically. And I have heard it applied in odd ways (I think some people use it almost in reverse now). But in either the original sense, or the original ironic sense, I think the article author is using it correctly. The real plot of the book would be "offensive", so we substitute neo-nazis for the villains of the book (taking a brave stand against neo-nazis won't offend anyone who matters).



[ Parent ]
Dead Horse of Nazism (none / 0) (#179)
by nomoreh1b on Mon Jun 03, 2002 at 12:54:49 AM EST

Instead, Neo-Nazi Fascists longing for the days of the cold war buy a pair of nukes, using one on Chechnya and the other on the Super Bowl

This sort of stuff is just plain boring. What are Nazi's capable of these days other that shouting Seig Heil and an occaisional street fight? Seriously there are lots of nutcases running around with nukes and other weapons of mass destruction(like those folks in the middle east that each claim some fairy tale "god" gave "them" that land). Worrying about Nazism in that context is just escapism.

Book Burning: Hollywood Style | 188 comments (112 topical, 76 editorial, 0 hidden)
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