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Holy Adaptations, Batman

Earlier this summer, Kathryn posted a rundown of some of the upcoming book-to-movie adaptations on the horizon. Well, since her post, there have been a few others, so I figured we should collate them and then make snarky predictions about them. You in?

Here goes, in chronological order based on release date*. Predictions at bottom, below the trailers.

Cloud Atlas, October 26
I hate to break it to you, but you’ve made a grievous error in judgment if you haven’t read this novel yet. It’s fantastic. If you’ve been putting it off  for any reason, don’t do so any longer. You need to read it. The film trailer looks gorgeous and compelling. There’s always a danger with a novel like this that the film adaptation will be dumbed down for what the studios think “general audiences” want, or that it will become overly sentimental. I really hope this one is good.
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Anna Karenina, November 16
British accents instead of Russian ones? Ain’t no thing.

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Life of Pi, November 21
I have to confess: I enjoyed Life of Pi until the end. If I remember right, the end suffered from one of those “was-it-all-a-dream” complexes that always feel cheap to me, and for a few years it seemed like all you had to do to win a Booker prize was slap on a huge twist at the end of your novel (I’m looking at you, Banville’s The Sea) and boom! piles of awards were heaped around you. But a lot of people really loved this book, and may be eagerly anticipating the film.
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Great Expectations, November 30 in the UK, TBD in the US
I hate to be reductive, but I don’t quite know what to make of this other than a) women are heartless bitches and b) Helena Bonham Carter is most comfortable when she’s all Tim Burton-ified. Anyone have any constructive commentary to offer?
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The Hobbit, December 13
News recently broke that there will now be three Hobbit films, which if you’re a giant LOTR nerd is the best news since Gandalf was reincarnated. Look, I trust Peter Jackson. Three films seems like a lot, but let’s just see how it goes.
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Les Miserables, December 14
Anne Hathaway strikes me as kind of a champ. I like her a lot, but I have this problem where I have trouble seeing her disappear into characters. I almost always see her as Anne Hathaway first, character second. I don’t quite know why, but I don’t think it’s because she’s a bad actress. I wonder if it’s because most of the characters she’s played have been modern women, usually pretty ones. Maybe this dark period piece where she’s playing someone destitute will help. Does anyone else have this problem?

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The Great Gatsby, Spring 2013
I’m into everything about this except a) 3D, which is a silly fad and b) the Kanye song at the beginning. But the first fifteen minutes of Moulin Rouge was an adjustment period for me as a viewer, and after that I was on board. Unrelated: I used to really like Tobey Maguire and now I wonder why. Do you have a read on that guy? Nick Carraway seems like a huge character for him to fill out. Sure he’s got the slightly-naive-idealist angle covered, as we’ve seen from him before, but will we see Carraway’s other layers? I hope so.

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Predictions:

Number of times you’ll see tightly corseted heaving breasts: 27

Number of times those breasts will belong to Keira Knightley: 9 (I counted at least three in the trailer alone, and every director she’s ever had has asked her to stride angrily toward the camera in a tight dress, so…)

Number of times you’ll become confused and wonder whether you’re watching Moulin Rouge:
5 during Karenina; 7 during Gatsby; 3 during Les Mis; +/- 3.

Number of times a woman will fall for/be attracted to a man mostly because he’s rich:
At least three, right? And we wonder why gender stereotypes persist across the ages.

Number of close-ups of characters smoking pensively: 10

Number of times a Tom Hanks character will say something earnest: 17. (He plays 2 or 3 4 characters, so come on. That’s not even an unreasonable number.)

Number of times a male character will get violent with a female character: 12

Number of times a female character will get violent with a male character: 1

Number of times letters will be used as a plot device: 6

Number of times a primary character will break out in song: 11? Nah, too low. I’m going 15.

Total body count: Ugh, where to start. Title characters are goners, obviously, except for Bilbo, and even if we don’t count potential battle scenes where nameless background characters die…what do you guys think? 15 characters who we know their names/they’re important to the main characters? 20?

We should make Bingo cards so we can all play along as we see these films. Feel free to add your predictions for these films, or to report back on how right/wrong I was.

* Like Kathryn, I’m including hobbits, wizards and dwarves but ignoring glittery vampires who date virginal girls, almost kill them, then have sex with one  girl which almost kills her and then get her pregnant so she can birth demon babies that also almost kill her. (I know very little about these books/movies; please excuse any snarky inaccuracies.) You’ll have to write your own blog post about glittery vampire births/deaths/sexual encounters.

21 Responses to “Holy Adaptations, Batman”

  1. Sam Ligon says:

    Is Tom Hanks going to ruin Cloud Atlas? I’m looking forward to that one, but wish he wasn’t in it.

    • Melissa says:

      I don’t think you should worry about Tom Hanks ruining it. It’s not “his” movie in the sense that most of his other films are. (P.S. Do you hate AMERICA?! Tom Hanks? Really?)

      I think you’ll be more amused to know that the film is a German venture, and that the German media are supposedly calling it “the first attempt at a German blockbuster.”

    • jason says:

      i’m totally with sam on this one. i got nervous when i saw tom hanks in the trailer.

      also: germans?

  2. Kathryn says:

    I want the bingo cards. Seriously.

  3. Katrina says:

    Hahahaha. “Number times you’ll see tightly corseted heaving breasts: 27″

    I also like the pensive smoking shots line, too. I’d say your predictions are spot on, Melissa.

  4. Pete Sheehy says:

    The phrase “German Blockbuster” makes me uncomfortable.

  5. Scott says:

    I thought that “Great Expectations” trailer would be a lot better.

  6. Kmac says:

    I love all these predictions and, most especially, I love the title of your post.

  7. Fitz says:

    Rather than making me really want to see any of these movies (except maybe the first one), I’ve just added more books to my infinite summer reading list (primarily The Cloud Atlas, which I’d never heard of, and Great Expectations). Thanks a lot.
    :)

  8. Christina Huggins says:

    I am going to need to borrow all of these from you, stat!

  9. Why, why, why, do people feel the need to remake classic movies based on classic books only to feature current hot actors? Do we really need another Anna Karenina and another Great Gatsby?

    I am looking forward to The Hobbit (but really, 3 movies?) and Cloud Atlas. I’m also really enjoying saying “Cloud Atlas” in a fake German accent.

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