Friday, August 31, 2012

Book Blogger Hop August 31st - September 6th: All Four of the Gaelic Games Have Fifteen Players to a Side

Book Blogger Hop

Jen at Crazy for Books has restarted her weekly Book Blogger Hop to help book bloggers connect with one another. The only requirements to participate in the Hop are to write and link a post answering the weekly question and then visit other blogs that are also participating to see if you like their blog and would like to follow them. A complete explanation of the history and the rules of the Hop can be found here.

This week Jen asks: What is the one book or series you are dying to see turned into a movie or tv series?

There are two series that I'd like to see turned into movie or television series (probably a mini-series for both of them. Unfortunately, both have been previously made into a movie or miniseries, but both efforts were so atrociously awful that they both disappointed fans of the series' and might have poisoned the well for any further attempts. The first series:

Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain

Alexander's series was made into the execrable Disney movie The Black Cauldron, produced during a particularly weak period for the studio. The movie mashes together The Book of Three (read review) and The Black Cauldron (read review), eliminates most of the characters, eliminates the main villain of the series in favor of his short-lived henchman, and mangles the story into an unrecognizable mess. Needless to say, even as a sixteen year old, I thought it was a terrible movie. And I was the kind of kid who actually liked the Howard the Duck movie (mostly because it had Lea Thompson in her underwear, but even so).

As a young adult series, the Chronicles could be done as a five part miniseries, devoting two hours to each book, which should be sufficient to do each one justice. Each individual book has a self-contained story, and each contributes to the whole. Even some of the short stories from The Foundling (read review) could be worked in to the main narrative, adding depth and flavor to an already great narrative. Coupling a likable hero, a plucky heroine, an endearing sidekick, and a collection of quirky and interesting supporting characters with a series of beautiful, comic, and tragic stories, a well done version of this would be a joy to watch.

The other series that I'd like to see made into a movie or television series is:

Ursula K. LeGuin's Earthsea

While it may have been long enough since the awful film adaptation of The Black Cauldron to hope that some production company might pick up the series and turn out a decent screen adaptation, LeGuin's works were butchered too recently and too often for that the be a realistic option. In 2004 the SciFi Channel, continuing their barbaric assault upon all things genre-related, did a horrible hackjob of a miniseries titled Legend of Earthsea that the author publicly disavowed. The miniseries mangled the story so badly that it is almost impossible to describe the differences without writing a book length diatribe. Given that the miniseries inexplicably reversed the main character's use name and his true name (true names being a big deal in the series), one has to wonder if the screenwriter, producer, or director actually read even a single chapter from the books. In 2006, the animated movie Tales of Earthsea was made, and while its treatment was not a awful as the SciFi (now renamed to the STD-like name SyFy) miniseries, it didn't tell LeGuin's story, but rather snipped portions from here and there to tell what was essentially a collage of short fiction.

But LeGuin's Earthsea series deserves a serious, thoughtful, and well-done treatment: at least a three movie series, if not a full length television series. The series is a very different fantasy. Yes, it has wizards who carry staffs and fire breathing dragons, but Earthsea is a fantasy in which the main character almost never fights, and only kills a single person and a couple of baby dragons in the course of the series. The series would have to have a brave producer to take it on - the protagonist's most heroic moments are quiet, his greatest failures are often his most dramatic, the ingenue doesn't show up until the second book. The protagonist spends much of his time trying to figure things out. By the later parts of the series the main character has aged into dotage. And so on. But the story is so strong, and so well-crafted that if someone was brave enough to translate it to screen effectively, they would end up with a work of classic brilliance.

Go to previous Book Blogger Hop: My Son Is Fourteen Years Old
Go to subsequent Book Blogger Hop: There Are Sixteen Myers-Briggs Personality Types

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  1. I don't know either of the series you mentioned.

    I have seen so many new books with this great question.

    Stopping by from the HOP.

    Two giveaways going on at my blog if you want to stop by.

    Silver's Reviews

  2. @Elizabeth: Both series are really good, and I recommend them both.

  3. Hi!
    Stopping by from the Hop. I have not heard of either of these series, either. The Black Cauldron sounds familiar, though. I believe familiar from Disney.
    I'm in the 'Back to the Books' Giveaway Hop! 2 ebooks to give away! IF you're interested!

  4. @Laurie Carlson: Yes, The Black Cauldron was the name of the Disney adaptation of the first two books in the series. It was not a very good adaptation, or a very good movie.

  5. I am loving this weeks topic, I am finding so many new books! Stop by mine as well.

  6. @Vickieanne: I love these memes. I always have to think a lot to respond to the questions and I always learn so many interesting things from the responses of other bloggers.