Okay, so I saw a movie today. Can’t write the name inside today’s post, but it’s right up there^. (Or in my book report on the book, which I posted about a year ago.)
I wanted to be fond of the movie. Very fond, even. The effects work was great. The acting was good (though the younger brother is…uh…not written in such a way as to showcase if the kid can act…).
But the script was…not great. Very, very not great.
I knew going in, of course, that trying to make a movie of that book was pretty much not something that can be done. (Awkward phrasing…stupid Monday posts…) I knew that, and yet I kind of assumed that they had figured out the right way to do it. Or a good way to do it, anyway.
It is a tragedy that the way they decided on was “omit most of it.” (They even omitted the Murry twins Sandy and Dennys! Movie Meg has one brother instead of three!)
Even more so, given the time they dedicated to the portion on Earth, and the many, many memory-scenes of Meg’s father before he disappeared. Okay, yeah, so they wanted more time with Chris Pine to justify whatever overpriced pay he got. (Not that he was bad, mind you. Might have been the best performance I’ve seen from him. Or the best right after Wonder Woman.) And they may have thought that more time with him was what the audience wanted. (Who knows, maybe that is what most of the audience wanted.) But if they hadn’t wasted so much time on Earth, they’d have had the time they needed on Camazotz to do it right. Or to do it better, anyway. Much of what happened on the way to Camazotz was not suited to being adapted for the big screen, but the events on Camazotz were so suited. And they got omitted in favor of stuff that wasn’t even in the book.
Trying to set the Earth stuff in a big city in the present day was one of the worst decisions. In a tiny(ish) town in the 1960s, it was easy to see why Meg wasn’t in therapy over her father’s disappearance. In 2018, with her behavior? Of course she’d be in therapy. It beggars the mind that she isn’t. And her brother (who for some reason is now adopted) ought to have been written as a super high functioning autistic, as that’s rather how he reads. (Or rather, that’s what I thought when I read the book.) But no, he was just treated as a strange boy who can’t act ordinary except around his mom, sister, and three strange women from some mysterious dimension. (If their origin point came up in the book, I’ve forgotten. And the movie sure didn’t say.) So much of the Earth stuff doesn’t make sense in the new time and the new setting. And yet it got so much time devoted to it.
As my brother (who hasn’t read the book) said, trying to interpret my reaction: “I’m not mad, I’m just disappointed.”
I won’t go into anything about the bizarre choice of the unfortunate, distant orb being named after a Mayan bat god, because that comes straight out of the book. But it’s weird. Very weird.