Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Why IS the Mona Lisa Smiling?

I am not the first—and I certainly will not be the last—to complain about Hollywood’s uncanny ability in recent years to turn a good book into a bad motion picture.

Sure there are some exceptions to the movies-from-books-suck rule. Fight Club, overall, was well done; last year’s Big Fish was quite good. But most of the time we end up instead with something like The Bourne Identity, The Time Machine, or American Psycho. Even 2003’s Cat in the Hat was a letdown from the book.

So it is strange indeed that I find myself a bit optimistic as I await the release next year of a film derived from a popular novel. No, it is not because I am anticipating another massacre of a quality tome … quite the opposite.

This film really SHOULD be better than the book.

Coming to a theater near you in May 2006: The Da Vinci Code, based on Dan Brown’s mammoth-selling novel of the same name.

Maybe you have heard of it. Or maybe you have been trapped on a mysterious island with Charlie from Party of Five. Pick one or the other, there is no third option.

The book, quite simply, was a worldwide blockbuster.

But it just was not that good. The writing was wooden, the plot progression clunky.

So how can I be even cautiously positive?

Well, for starters, the book’s concept had more promise than Dan Brown delivered. I love the idea of a well-crafted story that combines suspense and action with legend and historical controversy. Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian, for example, does it well. Perhaps director Ron Howard can do better on the screen than Brown did on the page.

One good sign: The makers passed on Brown and instead had Akiva Goldsman pen the screenplay. Not that Batman Forever was the stuff of Oscars, but it is a step in the right direction.

Another: The makers got Jean Reno—the talented albeit overused as serious-and-gruff-yet-likeable middle-aged Frenchman—to play a key role. Reno shined in The Professional and Ronin; he even made the first Mission Impossible not totally suck.

And another: The early movie poster shows the Mona Lisa, not the lead actor. A nice trend, also used in War of the Worlds—which would be a rare good trend in the film industry if it gains momentum.

So, despite all the obvious reasons why this will be a Hollywood blockbuster with more flash than substance, I must remain hopeful. I just WANT this to be a better movie than it was a book. Please, can I have just this one favor?

The biggest obstacle in my way is Forrest Gump.

Yes, that is right—I said Forrest Gump. The lead role, the part of the egg-headed symbologist Robert Langdon, is handled by Tom Hanks.

I will admit that Hanks has performed admirably in several films, but I would have preferred Kevin Spacey.

Or even Jude Law. I've heard the screenplay, unlike the book, has Robert Langdon screwing a nanny.


At August 11, 2005 8:50 PM, Blogger Digger Jones replied to my musings ...

You're not bad. In fact, you're pretty good. But as I said, being a good writer and having good material isn't enough. Win the crowd.

One way NOT to win the crowd is to insert a link to yourself in a comment. Self-promote *here* on your own blog. When you leave a comment, there is a link that point to your profile and your blog. People will check you out. It's the only rule of blogging I can think of that should be adhered to.

There's a rash of spammers hitting blogs, and you don't want to be associated with them.

Win the crowd!

Feel free to delete this if you want, I just thought I'd drop by and give you a look. You look legit.

Leave funny, witty and flattering comments on as many blogs like yours as you can. Readers will come. Give them original, edgy material and they will love you for it. I'm rooting for you.

I *am* a condescending prick, aren't I?!?LOL!


At August 11, 2005 11:07 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

There is not a chance in hell I would delete your comment. You beautifully highlight the nature of the blogosphere. Condescending, perhaps--but community oriented, rooting for the guy who actually can write ... but just does not play by the "rules," such as they may be. Much appreciated.

Thanks for tuning in, there is more to come. And chances are, from time to time, you will continue to see references to previous posts despite your warning. Not to piss you off, mind you, but simply because I try not to repeat any word that necessity does not dictate. It is easier to refer a reader to another post, after all, than to attempt to summarize.

I will look for your writings as well. Until next time -- d.a.

At August 12, 2005 10:28 AM, Blogger The Pagan Temple replied to my musings ...

It's good to know I was not the only person greatly dissappointed by the DaVinci Code, in fact, if I wasn't so relatively computer illiterate, I would really piss Digger off by providing you with a link to my own musings on the suibject in ThePaganTemple. But hey, why pile on? You said it as well, actually, I'm afraid, better than I could hope to.

At August 13, 2005 7:47 AM, Blogger Digger Jones replied to my musings ...

Actually, I simply meant using the comments section of someone elses blog to blatantly promote your own. I have no idea why anyone would want to promote a cheesecake site on my blog.

If it's relevant to the post, linking to a related post of your own is okay and efficient and I'm all for it! Every comment you leave links back to your profile, which links to your blog. So that bit is just redundant, which we've agreed is just silly.

Good luck. My other blog has a similar flavor as this one, and it is much more difficult to sell it to readers for some reason.


At December 16, 2005 4:51 AM, Blogger DIVYANG replied to my musings ...

Time Machine was a good movie!I thought it had a lots of substance.Actually the name Time Machine was a farce,the picture had only a few similarities to the book.The director(who is the grandson of HG WELLS or something like that) inserted his own ideas in it.See the picture carefully once again.

At January 09, 2006 7:33 AM, Anonymous Carlton Mikkelsen replied to my musings ...

are you serious?

At January 09, 2006 12:59 PM, Blogger David Amulet replied to my musings ...

Is who serious?

If you are referring to Divyang's comment, I hope that he is NOT serious. I thought the recent remake of The Time Machine was quite bad.

If you are referring to something I said, then it depends ... I was serious about Fight Club and the promo poster for The Da Vinci Code. I most certainly was sarcastic about much else, including the Langdon-screwing-a-nanny screenplay. I just had to take a cheap shot at Jude Law!

-- david


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