Awesome Adaptations: An Awesomely Action Packed Adaptation
Awesome Adaptations is a weekly bookish meme, hosted at Alisa Selene’s books blog, Picturemereading.
Each week I will be writing about an adaptation of a book that I think is worth seeing and I have challenged myself to come up with suggestions to match a category. Any format (television series, film, web series, etc.) is acceptable as long as it is based in some form on a book. If you’re playing along, just mention this blog in your post. Let us know what adaptation you’d pick and why it is worth watching. Oh, and don’t forget to share the link to your own post in the comments for that week’s challenge so that everyone can read your thoughts!
If you don’t have a blog yet though you can still play along, just leave your answer in the comments thread for each week’s challenge.
This week’s challenge is to name: An Awesomely Action Packed Adaptation
Title: Jurassic Park
Adapted From: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
This was a tricky one for me because I tend to not read or watch that many action movies, though I do like comic book adaptations. However the first book and author that came to mind were Michael Crichton and Jurassic Park. This movie came out in 1993 when I was about 14 years old and I remember being completely awed by it. This was back in the olden days before computer animation really began it’s heyday and it was the first full featured film to really use entirely CGI characters in it. I am still amazed how lifelike they managed to make the dinosaurs in this film, down to the skin textures they used in animating them.
As an adaptation it stuck pretty close to the original with some small changes including how and when characters die in the story. Also it made some characters more positive and other characters more negative. I definitely think it is well acted with a fun performances by Sam Neil as Dr. Alan Grant and Laura Dern as Dr. Ellie Sattler. However the scene stealer is Jeff Goldblum as Dr. Ian Malcolm, he is very funny and charming. The actions sequences are terrifying and exciting! The idea of the characters being chased around by dinosaurs was thrilling as a kid and still is re-watching it as an adult.
Title: True Grit (2010)
Adapted From: True Grit by Clinton Portis
The appeal of Portis’ novel comes from the wonderful narration provided by his main character, Mattie Ross. Her narration is coming many years after the fact and is written in a wonderfully rich dialect, full of wry observations and strong opinions about the people around her.
While Kim Darby had been quite good in the role in the 1970s adaptation that starred John Wayne, the latter had inevitably become the focus of that picture. What the Coen brothers managed to do in their version was place her back in the heart of the story, allowing the character’s voice to come through and making her character’s journey central to their film. In doing so they were able to really bring out the humor and toughness of the character making it much closer to the source material.
Hailee Steinfeld turned out to be perfectly cast in the part, seeming tough and resolute in the face of some enormous odds, and she really ends up stealing the show. An impressive feat when you’re playing opposite seasoned actors like Jeff Bridges and Matt Damon (both of whom are also excellent here!).
As for the film’s action sequences, they are really quite restrained. There is always the threat of violence in the background, adding tension to the characters’ quest, but when we do get action sequences they exist to serve the plot or to develop the relationships between the three central characters. More often than not, both. And in the end it is the film’s strong focus on the characters and the celebration of Portis’ wonderful use of language that makes it an Awesome Adaptation.
So those are our choices, how about yours? Link to your blog post in the comments below and let us know what you’d pick.
Next week we’ll pick an Awesome Adaptation with Puppets! Check out the schedule for the rest of the year here.