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Confused? Read the Book! 
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Burning Godzilla
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The discussion of the "cheat sheets" that were given to the audience when Dune first came out got me thinking. Are there any other movies where a lack of familiarity with the original written source would lead to a state of bewilderment? Any other films which might benefit the general audience with a cheat sheet?

Maybe if you had no knowledge of the futuristic slang "nadsat" in A Clockwork Orange you might have trouble following the dialogue in Kubrick's film, and a list of some of the words might come in handy. (My edition of the novel included a glossary at the back.)

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Thu Jun 23, 2016 12:24 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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I brought my wife, brother, and sister-in-law to see The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, giddy with anticipation having read the books cover to cover a zillion times. I left the theater spouting gibberish (to their ears) about all the little in-jokes and references. They just found it confusing. They were able to follow it in general, but it wasn't anywhere near the immersive experience that I had as a fan with knowledge of the books. It was just a weird sci-fi comedy to them. My brother took a shot at the books and has become more and more a fan of the movie as the years have passed. My wife and sister-in-law just sigh and leave the room whenever one of us is sitting down to watch it on cable again.

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Thu Jun 23, 2016 2:19 pm
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Minya

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Cloud Atlas - having enjoyed both the book and the movie (in that order), I can't see how anyone could follow the movie at all without having read the book (or being given a short cheat sheet outlining it's overall arc); yet outside of hiring six different directors to make six different short films and then physically splicing them all together in the book's nested structure, I can't see how else a director could approach the novel without taking drastic liberties.


Thu Jun 23, 2016 4:46 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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My reaction to the Hitchhiker's Guide movie was disappointing because, though I had never read the books or watched the TV series, I still already knew all the jokes. Plus, whenever I see a clip from the TV version, it's funnier than the movie version.

It's not nearly as bad as Lynch's Dune, but I'd bet that one movie which gets a big assist from familiarity with the book is Watchmen.

There are aspects of the LOTR films which can lose people who haven't read the books. I know some people who, for instance, were utterly confused by the mystery of wtf a hobbit is.

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Thu Jun 23, 2016 6:37 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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supersonic man wrote:
There are aspects of the LOTR films which can lose people who haven't read the books. I know some people who, for instance, were utterly confused by the mystery of wtf a hobbit is.

Heh. Not sure reading the books would have helped those folks...

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Fri Jun 24, 2016 1:06 pm
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supersonic man wrote:

There are aspects of the LOTR films which can lose people who haven't read the books. I know some people who, for instance, were utterly confused by the mystery of wtf a hobbit is.

I had to watch the LOTR movies with subtitles. I was never sure if they were talking about a person, place or thing.

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Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:17 pm
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One strong wish I had when watching Fellowship with non-LOTR-reading friends was that the actors speaking all these exotic names would  EN NUN CI ATE   CLEAR LY  dammit.

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Fri Jun 24, 2016 6:44 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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The end of 2001: A Space Odyssey is completely baffling until you read the book. For that matter, so is the beginning.

And speaking of Kubrick, there were just a few moments in The Shining that I didn't get at all until I read the book.

And I know this isn't the speed of most people at BMMB, but if you haven't read Jeremy Pudney's book, the movie version of The Snowtown Murders is flat-out impossible to follow. I watched it without reading, on the strength of a recommendation of a friend who said it would still make sense. She lied. Hey, I could barely follow the book, which had a chart in the front explaining who everyone was and their relationships to each other. All I knew for sure was that you got a free kangaroo whisk with every purchase.

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Fri Jun 24, 2016 10:40 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Cronenberg's adaptation of Naked Lunch. An adaptation of the unadaptable. A strange film adapting an even stranger novel.

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Mon Jun 27, 2016 5:31 pm
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I'm sure many of those Chinese wuxia films, what with their dozens of supporting characters and sub-plots crammed into 90-100 minutes, could benefit from a reading of the source material...Kung Fu Cult Master (aka Lord of Wu Tang), I'm looking at you.

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Tue Jun 28, 2016 4:19 pm
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This is a minor version, I suppose, but Jaws: The Revenge, the movie, no doubt leaves people asking things like, "Why is no one getting eaten? Why doesn't Carla take that blowtorch to Michael already? Why is Hoagie here, and why did Ellen start in with him when it seems like Martin's not been dead that long? How did the shark travel thousands of miles in two or three days? How the hell is it monkeywrenching psychic!? And why the monkeywrenching monkeywrench did it explode when it was impaled?!?"

Well, if you read the novel, you'll find out...

-Quite a few more people get eaten in the book, but they're either not connected to anyone important, or they and their subplot were entirely erased from the screenplay.
-Michael isn't quite the noxious asshat he is in the movie.
-Hoagie had a part in an erased subplot, and Martin's explicitly been dead for some time.
-The novel has the shark taking weeks to get to the Caribbean, not days, and it fights a sperm whale on the way which should've been in the movie, dammit. Oh, and also...
-Voodoo. No, I'm serious. It's a voodoo shark that an angry houngan sics on the Brodies because of an issue with Michael. This also explains why it's always going after Brodies and how it knows when and where to attack. They should've just kept it that way; not only is it more fun, it's much more plausible than a shark that just happens to create a telepathic bond with Ellen.
-Ummm....okay, you're on your own with this one, because it's not the way in the novel. Or in that other version of the movie, come to think of it.

I read the novel many years before I saw the movie, and yes, I was highly disappointed that it wasn't a voodoo shark anymore.




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Thu Jan 12, 2017 4:55 am
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Burning Godzilla
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Charnelhouse wrote:
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you: Cronenberg's adaptation of Naked Lunch. An adaptation of the unadaptable. A strange film adapting an even stranger novel.


Yes, but even fewer would know that an understanding of Cronenberg's Naked Lunch requires not just a reading of the source novel, but also of his better novel, Junky which establishes much of the late 50s/early 60s beatnik underbelly before the concept and terminology became fashionable.

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Thu Jan 12, 2017 2:15 pm
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Burning Godzilla
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supersonic man wrote:
My reaction to the Hitchhiker's Guide movie was disappointing because, though I had never read the books or watched the TV series, I still already knew all the jokes. Plus, whenever I see a clip from the TV version, it's funnier than the movie version.


For those not familiar, an example to show how badly the film of HHG botched it. This is at the start of the film, when Arthur Dent is protesting the impending demolition of his house and is told that he had plenty of time to review the plans and contest them:
"But the plans WERE on display..."
"On display?!? I had to go down to the cellar!" (This is where the film version stops.)
"That's the display department."
"With a torch!"
"The lights must've gone out."
"So had the stairs."
"But the plans were there."
"Yes, in the bottom drawer of a locked filing cabinet in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying 'Beward the Leopard'!"

Now, tell me, which one is funnier?

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Thu Jan 12, 2017 6:19 pm
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Don't the Star Wars prequels require knowledge of the SW Expanded Universe? Like, where the hell did General Grievous come from?

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Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:51 am
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Charnelhouse wrote:
Don't the Star Wars prequels require knowledge of the SW Expanded Universe? Like, where the hell did General Grievous come from?


The video games and the clone war cartoons all filter down to the sequels. General Grievous is introduced in the first Clone Wars cartoons between Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith. You learn a bit more about the deal between Count Dooku and Jango Fett (and more about the identity of the assassin whose attempt to murder Amidala is foiled) in Attack of the Clones if you play the Star Wars video game Bounty Hunter and watch the cut scenes. But none of them are absolutely necessary to follow the prequels.

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Fri Jan 13, 2017 2:44 pm
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