Book to Movie to Book, and Other Matters

The deeper I get into writing, the less interest I have in watching movies. For someone with a library of a couple of hundred movies, that says a lot. The Road is the first DVD I’ve bought in a couple of years, and it took me a month or so to get around to watching it. Several years ago, I read the book the movie is based on and hadn’t liked it. Mostly because the writing style bothered me. But I’ve been thinking that might have been too much of a snap judgment, and maybe seeing the movie would inspire me to reread in a less critical mood. So I watched it last night, and pretty much hated it. There I am being critical again.

I don’t really remember anything about the book except the style. But I’m willing to bet that it’s nothing like the movie. Does Boy find another family at the end, as the movie shows? I’ll be reading the book again next month, just to find out. But all through the movie I had the feeling: this incident has been made up, or jacked up, in order to give the film a dramatic punch. And are there really flashbacks to the protag’s life with his lovely wife who just happens to be Charlize Theron? Can’t have the audience becoming progressively more bored and depressed. There has to be drama. Including ominous noises that seem to come from nowhere and have no relevance to anything happening on the screen. And a fire. A big fire. Apparently, the film makers couldn’t find any justification for an explosion, so they had to make do with a fire. And an earthquake.

More relevant to SF movies in general than to the book is the number of objects the characters found that were in perfect condition: canned and bagged foods, blankets, etc. No rotting fabrics despite the fact that the sun apparently never shines and it rains all the time, and this has been going on for years. No rats or mice in evidence anywhere. It reminded me of the  problem of there being no sound in outer space, no whooshing rockets, despite Hollywood’s penchant for irrelevant and unrealistic sound effects.

I’ll find out next month whether The Road will surpass Children of Men for a horribly filmized book. I’m betting on they’re being neck and neck.

In other “news”

It seems that I’ve committed myself to this year’s NaNoWriMo, though I reserve the right to change my mind at any time. I’ll be going (if I go) to the least developed idea of all those I might have chosen. For now, its title is A Bright World of Sorrows. A pair of aliens comes down to earth, alarmed at the apparent mental deterioration of one of their observers. They must decide what to do with their observer and about the inhabitants of the planet, which is in an advanced state of environmental deterioration, and embroiled in large and small wars.

Writing “slow” dystopias

To come soon, unless I get distracted by other subjects, the problems of writing believable dystopias. It takes research unless you’re planning to just do the thousandth iteration of Hunger Games, starring the thousandth version of the teen who saves everyone (and the world, while they’re at it).



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