This week’s weekly geeks is about movie adaptations. "Worst movie adaptations: The recent release of Watchmen based on the graphic novel by Alan Moore got me thinking about what I thought were the worst movie adaptations of books. What book or books did a director or directors completely ruin in the adaptation(s) that you wish you could "unsee," and why in your opinion, what made it or them so bad in contrast to the book or books?"
Right, I usually don’t feel very strongly about movies made from books. If I don’t like them I don’t like them, but that’s it. I can’t remember one that I’d care to elaborate about. I did mention "Needful things" (after the book by Stephen King) the other day over on Book Blogs, but it’s years I’ve seen the film and even longer that I’ve read the book, so I couldn’t even say much about it, other than that the film could never capture the complex and detailed plot and ramifications of the book.
So I decided to go and talk about "True Blood" instead. It’s not exactly a movie adaptation, but rather a TV series they made from the first book of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series, "Dead until Dark", and I have plenty to complain about. If you have never read the books or watched the series, just ignore me. If you plan on watching it or reading the books, beware! Spoilers ahead.
The series does have a few good points that I want to get out of the way first.
- Great title song by Jace Everett. Fits perfectly, conveys the right atmosphere.
- Nice opening credits. Well, maybe not nice, but appropriate.
- Stephen Moyer as Bill, Sookie’s vampire lover. I liked him a lot.
- Nelson Ellis as Lafayette. OMG, he was wonderful
Now the not so good points.
- Eric. WTF did they do to Eric? They picked a handsome Swede, Alexander Skarsgard, to play Eric, a highly attractive Norse vampire leader who can have any girl he wants, for authenticity, and then they take him and turn him into a greasy inconspicuous bloke who hides behind a curtain of even greasier hair. Not good. His character? Totally wrong. They completely failed to portray his relationship with Sookie in a correct way. The fact that they made Bill instead of Eric kill Longshadow (probably to make Bill shine, since he is a rather boring figure otherwise) makes me wonder how they will come round to set Sookie and Eric off eventually. Sookie and Eric have no kind of interaction in the show that is worth mentioning. Why Sookie would call Eric to accompany her to the orgy in the next book and how that no mark would ever turn up in a spandex suit (was it purple? I don’t remember) I can’t see. Book 4 which revolves around Sookie and Eric will never come to pass in that show.
- Jason, the man slut. Jason is a slut, but never as explicitly as he was in the show. You will know if you read my reviews that I love erotica and never object to a love scene, but not here, please. The books are not explicit, and since they are written from Sookie’s POV we only hear from Jason’s seedy escapades through hearsay. What they are showing us with Jason is nothing but dirty, cheap and nasty.
- Jason joining the Fellowship of the Sun? What for, for Pete’s sake. Oh, well, it might be all for the better, since that way he will be put out of his misery soon. Undoubtedly, once he turns into a were ("Dead as a doornail", book 5), he will be shot with a silver bullet by his overzealous fellow brethren.
- Amy. What is this self-righteous, would-be spiritual bitch doing there? Never was in the book, didn’t have a place in the show either. She so got on my nerves that I actually rooted for the murderer when he finally came around to kill her. He deserved a pardon just for finishing her off alone.
- Tara. She was never even mentioned in book 1, and didn’t play a bigger part until much later. They way she talked and her obnoxious attitude were so aggravating that she should have been next on Rene’s list.
- The vampire court. Never happened in the book. Since Bill never killed Longshadow in the first place, there was no reason for it. And Eric never got prosecuted either for the killing. He paid a compensation and that was it. But, of course, without that ridiculous Magister Bill wouldn’t have had to turn that whining Jessica who then turned out to be some nutcase with newly found freedom. Maybe she will be the substitute object of desire for Eric, since the thing with Sookie won’t happen. But even that TV Eric can’t be that desperate. The girl is a pain in the ass.
- Bill coming out of his grave during daylight to rescue Sookie, who doesn’t need rescuing by him, and getting burnt in the process. Please, can it get any more dramatic? Totally ridiculous and redundant.
MaryAnn or the exorcist woman cum saleslady in a drugstore and her vodoo trailer? I won’t even go into them…. I can see the problems with a series where all the input is provided by the POV of one person, but do they have to add such crap? If they couldn’t handle it properly they could have chosen from other series that are quite successful, too, and turn them into a series. The fans of the Black Dagger Brotherhood books would be certainly more than happy to see a TV series made from them. Those books would have provided enough plot and sub-plots and there would have been no need to invent idiotic stuff at will.