Monday, March 17, 2008

Romance books to movies - should it be done?

I just read a lovely review of Lavryle Spencer's Morning Glory by guest reviewer Aztec Lady at Dear Author. It was mentioned that it was made into a movie (way back in 1993 - Yikes!)
I had read the book a few years before that and adored it. So when I heard it was being made into a movie, I did a little happy dance. My first rumblings of discontent though came when I heard who had been cast into the role of Will Parker. Christopher Reeve was to play this most heartbreaking of heroes. Not that there was anything wrong with him - but when I imagined Will, he wasn't anything like Mr. Reeve. After waiting for what seemed like forever for the movie, by the end I was terribly disappointed. I don't remember a lot of it now - we are talking 17 years ago - Yikes Again! - but I do know they changed the ending so that it was pretty unrecognizable from the book. So not only was it miscast IMO, the movie ending changed the characters of Ellie and Will. Even the real murderer was different.

Then a number of years later, I caught the movie Sanctuary starring Melissa Gilbert and based on a book by Nora Roberts. Again I was very disappointed. I really enjoyed the book, but in the movie they even somehow managed to lose a sister!
With those two disappointments in mind, I've become quite apprehensive when I hear they are making a movie out of a well-loved book.

Sometimes they manage to get it right. The one that stands out most clearly is The Outsider by Penelope Williamson. Although there is quite a bit in the book that isn't in the movie, still I think they did a pretty decent job of it.
A real oldie but goodie is a book to movie Katie blogged about not long ago. Tim by Colleen McCullough was not to shabby and the movie stuck very close to the book. And Mel Gibson was nice too - this being long before his 'lost it' days.
Then there are the English movie adaptations of books. I haven't seen/read that many.
But according to Katie who has both seen the series and read the book, North and South is a bit different in some areas. There is no train station in the book.
And then there are the Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, Little Women etc adaptations. I can't say too much because I haven't both read the book and seen the movies well enough to compare them.

I have seen three adaptations of the book Wuthering Heights - and I've read the book a few times. I wouldn't call it a romance though. It's more a a tragedy really - but very compelling! While I love the Merle Oberon/Lawrence Olivier movie when I was young, I think the one with Ralph Finnes captured the book better.

Then there are those ones I've missed completely. I haven't either read The Notebook by Nicolas Sparks or seen the movie. So I can't really comment on them.

But overall, I think I'm more disappointed in romance books made into movies. They seldom get the characters the way I picture them, they feel the need to change is somehow - as if the book weren't quite good enough. They apparently did Quite A Bit of changing in the movie version of For The Roses by Julie Garwood. I didn't see the Hallmark presentation, but from what I've heard that is a Good Thing.

So while part of me is a tad disappointed that at the moment, I don't think there are any plans to bring Eve and Roarke to life, the bigger side of me is glad. I hate when they ruin a good book!

Any thoughts? And rec's? Any you think have been spoiled by being made into a movie?

And in other news completely unrelated to the above topic - today is my day off and I went out this morning and bought myself a new fridge, stove, kitchen table & chairs and a couple of bar chairs. My kitchen is done now but I still have a few things to do. I have to put up curtains, get the stuff I bought today in and a few nick nacks.
You see - my current fridge and stove are about 15 years old and almond in colour whereas my new kitchen is blue and white. I have a white dishwasher and microwave and the fridge and stove in there now look terrible as well as being somewhat beat up. Plus the fridge opens on the wrong side. The new one which I will be getting will be reversible so I can have it open on the other side. And the stove has one of those flat surfaces!!! I've always loved the look of them but they seemed too expensive. But the salesman is the husband of one of the women I've been helping to train so he gave me a Really Good Deal on everything. Still - I'm so not used to spending that kind of money!
But I can hardly wait until it's all done so I can post pics.


Jenster said...

I love it when they make movies from books. As long as I haven't read the book first. LOL

BTW - My 13-year-old and I watched North and South last night. Couldn't help but think of you. Katie squealed with delight during the train station scene. It was priceless!

sula said...

I remember watching that Garwood adaptation. Oh lordy, was it awful. I tend to think that I'd rather just avoid the made-from-a-book TV movies. As much as I'd love to see a GOOD movie version of a favorite like Outlander, there is just no way they could ever do justice to the wonderfulness that is that story. Just as an example. So yeah, not a fan. Unless it's a book I haven't read. lol.

Can't wait to see the finished kitchen pics!

azteclady said...

Hi, Kristie *grin*

As I said over at DA, I am very leery of any favorite books that are made into movies. First there's the casting, then the direction, then what if they cut a character or event I really like ('cause you know there are time constraints even with miniseries).

Ack, too much worry for me!

ReneeW said...

I'm usually stay away from any movie based on a book I have loved... except for P&P, most of them are a disappointment. I happened to watch one of those made-for-TV movies by Lifetime TV based on Nora Roberts books last night and it was surprisingly good. There are three others: Carolina Moon, Angels Fall, and Montana Sky. CM and AF were god-awful - the acting was incredibly bad (Heather Locklear was mis-cast as the heroine in AF). MS was tolerable but the best one is definitely Blue Smoke. The hero played by Matthew Settle was the best part. What a cutie and well-played. He stole the show as far as I'm concerned.

I think I may have seen The Outsider but it was probably a long time ago. I'll see if they have it on Blockbuster and watch it again.

Stacy~ said...

There are few exceptions (P&P, N&S - which I liked much better than the book) but most of them have been just awful. "For The Roses" was a huge trainwreck, and I really loved that book.

I remember several years ago one network (was it Oxygen) who remade romance novels into 1/2 hr or hour-long shows. Also awful because they were so cheesy and lost most of the wonderful emotion and strength of the characters. They were just plain silly. So unless it can be done well, I don't want to see any of my favorite books re-made. Can you imagine if they totally screwed up "Devil in Winter" or "Dreaming of You" - can you imagine the horror of ruining Sebastian or Derek???? Too scary to think about...

Kristie (J) said...

Stacy: If they made a movie of Dreaming of You I think the only way I would watch is is say Richard Armitage was cast as Derek. Anyone else *shudder* And I've seen all kinds of suggestions for Roarke. None of them seem quite right to me if they ever did the In Death books to movies. I've seen a couple of those Harlequin book/movies and I thought they were all yuck.

Renee: Oh you must see if you can get The Outsider! Tim Daly made quite a fine Johnny! And I thought Naomi Watts was very good too. And I caught part of one of the Lifetime movies - Montanna Sky. And I saw most of Carolina Moon. I didn't mind it - it was still much better then Sanctuary. Somehow I missed the other ones though.

AztecLady: I'm with you. I think they would get them all wrong a LOT more than they would get them right.

Sula: I heard that about For the Roses - so I made a point never to see it!!
And I can't wait to post the kitchen pics - specially the before and after ones. WHAT A DIFFERENCE.

Jenster: I saw that you are your niece watched N&S - And I did a very loooonnnggg winded post *gulp*.