Dear Andrew Adamson et al,
Today I am going to rationally explain to you why I'm upset with you, and why you'd better take your cue from Peter Jackson & Co. when you make Voyage of the Dawn Treader
, rather than from David Heyman, Steve Kloves, and the rest of the Harry Potter
crew. Granted, I'm not a hardcore Lord of the Rings
fan, but I read the books, and I understand why the hardcore LotR fans are upset with Jackson, and I think that, even so, he and his team did a damn good job adapting Tolkien's masterpiece. You could learn a couple things from them.
First, let me just say that I do actually get that book and film are different mediums, and that some things that work in a book just don't work in a film, and visa versa. Notice that I say some
things, not everything
. I'm sure that it must be hard to adapt a book of which about a quarter is backstory, and at least another quarter features people walking back and forth across a forest and bickering with each other. (Oh, Harry Potter
crew, you are going to have so much fun with Book Seven!) That said, just because it's hard, it doesn't mean you should just give up and change the whole plot! That's just lazy, and that's not okay. Yeah, you might have to make a few changes to keep up the pace of the film. I get that. But you shouldn't change everything
. You need to make changes intelligently, and you need to make sure they aid and add to the story. You didn't do that. When asked why you put in the part where Caspian's troops try to invade the castle (or 'the night raid sequence', as you call it), you answered with this
:"Director Andrew Adamson felt that the concept of mythological creatures attacking a medieval castle was quite an interesting visual, and one that had never been seen before."
In other words, you decided to put in the night raid sequence because you thought it would be kind of cool (in much the same way I suspect the HP people decided to put in an attack on the Burrow in HBP because they thought it would be cool). Frankly, that's not a good enough reason. This is one of the things where I completely agree with the LotR fans' indignation. You see, in the film The Two Towers
, there's a scene where the people of Rohan are going to Helm's Deep and they get attacked by orcs on wargs. To be honest, this scene is pretty awesome and probably one of my favourites in the film, but it pisses off Rings
book fans because it didn't happen in the book. As a hardcore fan of certain books myself, I can say with no reservations that hardcore fans will never be satisfied. But in this case I think the fans have every right to be upset, because Peter Jackson actually came out and said that the reason he decided to put it in the film is because he thought it would be cool, and that's really not a good reason to mess with canon. I forgive Jackson, however, because he did what you and the Harry Potter
do: he made sure that his 'cool' scene added to the story, rather than just being in there for the sake of being in there. Also, I respect that he had the balls to be honest, rather than making up crap to appease the fans. (I'm not even going to get into the crap 'logic' you used to justify the night raid sequence because I'm trying to be calm, and that pisses me off too much.) Doesn't make what he did right, but still.
Jackson made another change in TTT, and it was actually pretty huge. I am, of course, referring to the change in the character of Faramir. In the book, Faramir isn't even tempted
by the Ring; in the film, Faramir is
tempted, and he's also kind of an asshole. This also pisses off LotR book fans, which I get, and it upset me at first as well because Faramir is my favourite character in the trilogy. However, getting past my initial emotional reaction, I do understand how "I would not take this thing even if I found it on the wayside and Gondor were falling and only I could save her" works in a book in a way it could never really work in a three hour film. When you have everyone in the story tempted by this object of evil, and then you get someone that immune, it's really going to throw the pacing off. I get that, and Jackson & Co. got that, and that's why they changed Faramir's character; but they didn't do it lightly, and they did it right
. They realized that having film-Faramir start out as book-Faramir would throw off the films, so they had film-Faramir evolve
into book-Faramir. They didn't give Faramir a complete personality transplant; he just started out a little less developed than book-Faramir. So in a bizarre way, his OOC-ness actually made him in
character. That's the correct way to do OOC-ness (pay attention Harry Potter
Look, I get that making Peter bitter about leaving Narnia the first time could make the film more interesting. I get that having Peter and Caspian get along from the start could throw off the pacing. I even get how the whole Susan hating fighting thing could make battle sequences difficult. Changing one of those things is okay; but you changed all
of them. The thing is, if you need to change a character to keep the pacing of the film, that's okay; but you'd better make sure it's the correct character to take the hit, you'd better make sure the character evolves into being in character by the end of film, and you'd better make damn
sure you work three times as hard to keep all the other characters in character! You may even need to change two characters to keep the pacing (e.g. Arwen); that's still okay. But if you have to change most of the characters, well, then you need to ask yourself why you think making this book into a film is a good idea. And no, 'money' isn't a good enough answer. If every character has to be out of character to make the film work, then this probably isn't a book that can translate to film. That's okay. There are plenty of other books that can work as films. Just adapt one of those.
Honestly, I don't think Prince Caspian
is a book that can't translate to film. I don't think every character had to be changed to keep the pacing. I just think you were lazy and you didn't care enough. And if you don't care enough to work at adapting the book correctly, then you aren't the right person to be adapting that book. So stop. Plenty of people actually care. Plenty of people want to do it right. The Peter Jackson of Narnia
is out there. Leave it for them.