Let me tell you all about my history with films being made out of books I love – almost every single one of them has sucked. Badly. Whether they be films where they missed the point, or ones where they throw what made the books so good in the first place right out the freakin’ window, every time I hear that a book or book series that I loved or love is being made into a movie, I am immediately skeptical. Admit it – you all are too. Now, I have learned today that another book series that I love is having a film made. As you can imagine, I am beyond skeptical. Let me give you a little background on a bunch of crap and maybe you’ll understand why.
First, let’s talk about how Hollywood has butt-fucked books I love. I remember when I saw the preview for The Golden Compass. A book that was, quite-directly, making light of corruption in the Catholic church. That book wasn’t even mildly subtle about it. But that was fine with me. The years when I read that were when I my lack of belief in God was taking shape. I had never really believed before then. This book was helping me understand why. They decided to turn it into a movie, and what did I think? I think that it was the most dull and uninspired fantasy story that I have ever seen. They took out all the religious elements, and it was basically just a boring story about some nebulous evil and some heroic character. The religious element is what made the story work!
Then there are the adaptations that just fall so short. Like my thoughts on the Harry Potter films. I genuinely don’t like them. Why? Two major things. First – they ruined one of my favorite characters! In the books, Luna Lovegood is an almost-mystic character. The one who sees clarity when it is needed. She is also loyal, and as I have said in another post, almost-certainly gay (don’t bring up that crap with the book that came out where it is in their future. Way I see it, that book doesn’t exist. Rowling has been trying to red-con her lore for years now). It’s what made her so interesting, to me. But the films, she’s just a quirky nerd who gets picks on for…I don’t know. Reasons. Second – the films all ruin the big reveals of each book. The best part of each book is the climax, when you find out what it was all for. That moment when all the build-up has a payoff and you are stuck feeling so psyched about what is going to happen. In the films, all those scenes were so rushed! The worst one was the third film. The reveal of Sirius Black is one of the greatest scenes in the entire series, and that film passed over it so fast that it might as well have not happened at all.
However, the book adaptation that took the biggest dump on something I truly love was the film version of World War Z. I fucking hate that movie with such bitter passion. It took all the brilliant social commentary and awesome perspectives of the book and basically tossed that out, with the whole movie just being Brad Pitt being a stereotypical super-dad cliche. I hate that movie so much, but I’ve already talked in long detail about how much I hate it. Thank the Spirits that Max Brooks made sure that people knew that this had nothing to do with his book. The only thing that his book and that movie have in common was the title.
So yeah, Hollywood ruins a lot of the books that I love. Now, they are taking a crack at another franchise that I am absolutely in love with – Animorphs. This was my favorite book series, growing up. It was so far ahead of its time in looking at some incredibly dark themes about war, innocence, death, the cost of living, and what it means to be human, and it was a book for pre-teens and early teens. That is fucking amazing. If it weren’t for the fact that the series has an ending so bad that I choose to believe that it never happened, it would be one of the greatest series ever told.
It tells the story of five young people, who, by sheer chance, end up in a construction site together. They are there when an alien ship crashes, and they find out that the sole occupant, Elfangor, is dying. He implores them to take a special weapon called the Morphing Cube, and to use it to help defend their world from an alien force that is invading called the Yeerks. These are creatures that exist as slug, can invade a person’s brain through the ear canal and then take over your mind, essentially making you a slave. They are slowly taking over the planet, and these five youth, along with later on an alien friend named Aximili Esgarrouth Isthill (just Ax, for short) are all the stands between them and dominating the entire planet.
The series was dark as all get-out. Each book is from a different character’s perspective, and each one looks at their own life and how they deal with certain elements. Whether it be their leader, Jake, and him having to lead a guerrilla war and live a normal life (with his brother Tom being a high-ranking Yeerk Controller), Tobias adjusting to living his life as nothlit (a person who gets stuck in morph), Ax trying to find a place among people who find him alien and a world that he finds alien as well, or Marco and living with a single dad, knowing that his mother is alive and a Controller who is leading to invasion of Earth. Every character has their own sides. There is also my favorite – Rachel. She goes from an adrenaline junkie to being addicted to the violence by the end of the series. Part of why I hate the end of the series so much is that it was done deliberately to gloss over that part of the story.
Another thing – these books were violent as fuck! They were gory, grotesque, and didn’t shy away from what was happening. Actual people died because of what these kids were doing. They were aware of it too. Having five youth bearing the weight of countless lives being lost in their effort to save all of humanity. Man is that not something that I can see translating easily to film. And that’s the long and short of my problem with this film. They won’t want to look at the harsh stuff. This is modern Hollywood, remember. These people hate stuff that makes people uncomfortable like Donald Trump hates a hard question that he can’t turn into a joke. Will this film (or films) be able to make this into what it was meant to be – a story telling a rather depressing story about six youths who are trying in what seems like a hopeless battle at first? Or will they water it down as fuck, in order to sell it to people? My money is on the latter. There is too much history for me to think otherwise.
So, here we have Hollywood taking something else I grew up with and loved, and ruining it. It’s almost a guarantee, and I am so disappointed. Oh well, I guess…
Until next time, a quote,
“For a long time, I have regarded Rachel as representing one end of the continuum of human behavior. What all humans would become if the war went on long enough. That perception has guided many of my decisions. An entire human race of Rachels – angry, merciless, aggressive, armed with Yeerk and Andalite technology. It was a terrifying specter.
But perhaps…perhaps I had been wrong. Perhaps the real menace lay at the other end of the continuum – represented by Cassie. Humans who were kinder, softer, well-meaning.
And ironically – infinitely more dangerous.” -Ax, Animorphs