Recommend
7 
 Thumb up
 Hide
31 Posts
1 , 2  Next »   | 

BoardGameGeek» Forums » Everything Else » Chit Chat

Subject: Fantasy: Books vs Movies rss

Your Tags: Add tags
Popular Tags: [View All]
J Mathews
United States
Renton
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
So, I was on Rottentomatoes and I came across the following list of the top 10 wizards in the movies: http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/harry_potter_and_the_half_bl.... This list was pretty disappointing. After the top three, the obligatory mention of the Wizard of Oz because it's an old a classic movie and the addition of Tim, there just wasn't much.

This got me thinking, there are so many quality fantasy authors and fantasy books out there: Tolkien, Weis & Hickman, Robert Jordan, David Eddings, Melenie Rawn (finish the Exiles series already!), Terry Goodkind, Terry Brooks and on and on and on. Even in the young adult fantasy section you have great stories by Lloyd Alexander, Susan Cooper, Brian Jacques, and I guess we can throw JK Rowling on there due to popularity (if she only could develop characters...).

However, you start looking at fantasy movies, especially fantasy movies that aren't recent direct-from-the-book movies (I'm looking at you Harry Potter and LotR), there is just a lack of quality. So much of the genre seems to be campy, stereotypical movies that lack the same sort of depth of story that you get in books. The characters tend to be much less memorable. The quests tend to be cookie cutter. There is nothing that really makes one stand out from the other, which is why the HP and LotR movies are so striking- finally fantasy is getting some quality treatment at the movie theater.

Now, I am not looking for a list of good fantasy movies. I accept that there are some good fantasy movies out there, they just aren't the norm. I also accept that not all fantasy books are good. If someone would like to make the case that fantasy movies align with the quality of the books, or surpasses it, I would be interested in reading that.

I am just wondering why there is such a difference in the variety and quality of fantasy books and fantasy movies. The movies seem to be much more interested in conforming to the traditional fantasy stereotypes while book authors seem to look to push more boundries (check out Weis and Hickman's Rose of the Prophet trilogy for a fantasy series that does not conform to the stereotypical fantasy paradigm). I've got to think that there are quality screenwriters out there. Is there just no appetite from movie studios for quality fantasy that isn't based on a book? Any thoughts on this?
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
CHAPEL
United States
Round Rock
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
"that's a smith and wesson, and you've had your six"
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Isn't quality fantasy an oxymoron?..OH!

//SciFi forever!
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J Mathews
United States
Renton
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Honestly, I have the same issue with sci-fi. Once you get outside the Star Wars/Star Trek, there isn't much, although with movies like the Alien series, sci-fi has much more as far as movies go than fantasy has.
 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Loveland
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
MWChapel wrote:
Isn't quality fantasy an oxymoron?..OH!




EventHorizon wrote:
Once you get outside the Star Wars/Star Trek, there isn't much...




Two birds. One author.
4 
 Thumb up
0.01
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aloha!
United States
Kalamazoo
Michigan
flag msg tools
Meega, nala kwishta!
badge
AAGH! YOU'RE TOUCHING ME!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Wow, just wow... Chapel I had really thought better of you than that.

I will admit that in both Sci-Fi and Fantasy there is a lot of crap out there. With some pretty minimal effort thought there are some fantastic books to be found in both genres (have nothing at all to do with Star Wars/Terk).
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J Mathews
United States
Renton
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
cold_fuzion wrote:
Wow, just wow... Chapel I had really thought better of you than that.

I will admit that in both Sci-Fi and Fantasy there is a lot of crap out there. With some pretty minimal effort thought there are some fantastic books to be found in both genres (have nothing at all to do with Star Wars/Terk).

Totally agree with you on books. Why not movies though?
1 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aloha!
United States
Kalamazoo
Michigan
flag msg tools
Meega, nala kwishta!
badge
AAGH! YOU'RE TOUCHING ME!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
EventHorizon wrote:
cold_fuzion wrote:
Wow, just wow... Chapel I had really thought better of you than that.

I will admit that in both Sci-Fi and Fantasy there is a lot of crap out there. With some pretty minimal effort thought there are some fantastic books to be found in both genres (have nothing at all to do with Star Wars/Terk).

Totally agree with you on books. Why not movies though?
There's some darn good Sci-Fi movies, not too hard to find them really. Fantasy? The pickings get much, much slimmer. I don't know if there's just no market, or if nobody gets how to make a good fantasy movie.

Good fantasy (I can name off the top of my head):

Lord of the Rings trilogy
Princess Bride
Willow
4 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Manisha DS
Canada
North York
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
A major part of the problem is fantasy movies are treated as big action flicks with magical explosions, sword fights and cliched lines. The plot is thinned down, the characters become farcical and magic becomes the deus ex machina.

The everyday magic, the philosophy and politics of the world, the emotional journey of the characters, all become secondary to the special effects and costuming. The true 'cost' of magic is rarely explored and the worlds created are shallow and lifeless. Not enough effort is put into giving the characters a context of being, both emotionally and physically.

In some ways, I feel that fantasy novels may be better suited for TV miniseries because it allows the time to develop the characters and create more immersive worlds. Good fantasy includes mystery, drama, romance, adventure and war. If done well, it would reach a large audience.

G.R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire is currently being made into an HBO series. I'm curious to see how it turns out and if done well, it might pave the way for other good fantasy novels to see the light of TV screens.
6 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aloha!
United States
Kalamazoo
Michigan
flag msg tools
Meega, nala kwishta!
badge
AAGH! YOU'RE TOUCHING ME!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
NishaDS wrote:
G.R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire is currently being made into an HBO series. I'm curious to see how it turns out and if done well, it might pave the way for other good fantasy novels to see the light of TV screens.
I'm both incredibly eager and very frightened to see this. I'll be pissed if they ruin it, but then HBO has a good track record.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Destiny's got her hand way, way up in their puppets! It's an unpleasant tingling! The deepest of wriggles!
United States
Wichita
Kansas
flag msg tools
But my greatest power is this: When Destiny speaks, she speaks to me. She says hi, by the way.
badge
Oh! And I've been killing the bees!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Well, if you're willing to include animated stuff, there are...

The Nightmare Before Christmas
James and the Giant Peach
Coraline
The Corpse Bride
Shrek

and surely some others that I'm forgetting.

I also enjoyed Stardust.

Stuff like Babe, Charlotte's Web, etc., technically are fantasy, as well.

It really depends on your definition. If you mean simply high fantasy, then there is a real dearth of good movies (and books, frankly). If you mean general fantasy, then there is a lot of it.
8 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
United States
Loveland
Colorado
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb

The Dark Crystal
7 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aloha!
United States
Kalamazoo
Michigan
flag msg tools
Meega, nala kwishta!
badge
AAGH! YOU'RE TOUCHING ME!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mistermarino wrote:
Well, if you're willing to include animated stuff, there are...

The Nightmare Before Christmas
James and the Giant Peach
Coraline
The Corpse Bride
Shrek

and surely some others that I'm forgetting.

I also enjoyed Stardust.

Stuff like Babe, Charlotte's Web, etc., technically are fantasy, as well.

It really depends on your definition. If you mean simply high fantasy, then there is a real dearth of good movies (and books, frankly). If you mean general fantasy, then there is a lot of it.
Oh, I forgot Stardust. That was a lot of fun and Di Niro stole every scene he was in, stole it, bitch slapped every other actor on the set and stole their lunch money. A very fun movie.

If you want to add animated stuff, then the field opens up a lot, especially if you include anime. Record of Lodoss War for the win.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J Mathews
United States
Renton
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
mistermarino wrote:
Well, if you're willing to include animated stuff, there are...

The Nightmare Before Christmas
James and the Giant Peach
Coraline
The Corpse Bride
Shrek

and surely some others that I'm forgetting.

I also enjoyed Stardust.

Stuff like Babe, Charlotte's Web, etc., technically are fantasy, as well.

It really depends on your definition. If you mean simply high fantasy, then there is a real dearth of good movies (and books, frankly). If you mean general fantasy, then there is a lot of it.

Yeah, definately looking for high fantasy (again, depending on your definition). While Shrek and Nightmare Before Christmas are entertaining, they aren't Tolkien/Goodkind/etc. While I guess those and movies like Babe technically are fantasy, they aren't what I am talking about.

Anime is another beast entirely. I really enjoy many of the Miyazaki films. Much of the other stuff gets out there on the hypersexuality and hyperviolence and I lose interest (yes, over-generalization, but that's been my experience- great stories but the packaging is a bit much for my tastes).

I agree with the point about maybe a miniseries would be a better medium for bringing those books to life, which is great if that's your goal. The HBO series sounds good.

I guess what I am surprised about is the lack of movies based on original stories that are set in a fantasy world. There are tons of movies out there that were movies before books and are good movies in other genres. I can't really think of similar for high fantasy (Labrynth and Dark Crystal are kind of aimed at kids or young adults). There has to be some screenplays out there, right?

Again, look at that list in my OP of the greatest wizards in movies. I tried to figure out what were missing and I couldn't think of movies that were missed. Making a similar list from fantasy books would include Gandalf definately, Merlin and Dumbledore probably (I prefer Merlin from the Stephen Lawhead series), but other than that I think that a much better list could be made from books.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Wiles
United States
Macon
Georgia
flag msg tools
designer
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb


Legend

Time Bandits (Is that Fantasy or SciFi?)
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Jeff Jones
United States
Round Rock
Texas
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
cold_fuzion wrote:
NishaDS wrote:
G.R.R. Martin's Song of Ice and Fire is currently being made into an HBO series. I'm curious to see how it turns out and if done well, it might pave the way for other good fantasy novels to see the light of TV screens.
I'm both incredibly eager and very frightened to see this. I'll be pissed if they ruin it, but then HBO has a good track record.


I have hopes for it since Tom McCarthy (The Station Agent and The Visitor) is directing and he cast Peter Dinkledge as Tyrion.

2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
VA
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Plate of Shrimp.
badge
Here we are folks, the dream we all dream of.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Off the top of my head here are some fantasy movies I really like:
Conan the Barbarian
Excalibur
Careful
La belle et la bête (1946)
Time Bandits
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Lord of the Rings
Bill and Ted's Excelent Adventures
Legend
Reign of Fire
Krull
Princess Bride
Dark Crystal
Pan's Labyrinth
Hellboy
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Finnegans Rainbow
Beetlejuice
Scrooged
Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl
Clash of the Titans
Holy Grail
Jason and the Argonauts
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
Highlander
Zardoz
Something Wicked This Way Comes
Alice
The Bride with White Hair
Chinese Ghost Story

Plus there is a ton of great anime that would qualify, but I'm too lazy to list here


9 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Morgan Dontanville
United States
Charlottesville
VA
flag msg tools
designer
publisher
Plate of Shrimp.
badge
Here we are folks, the dream we all dream of.
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
cold_fuzion wrote:

Oh, I forgot Stardust. That was a lot of fun and Di Niro stole every scene he was in, stole it, bitch slapped every other actor on the set and stole their lunch money. A very fun movie.


The persistent unicorn ex machina bothered me, but not as much as Di Niro's power to wield gay magic. Apparently he has the power to make men's hair grow long, and in a couple hard nights teach a man full control of his "sword", yet isn't strong enough to teach a girl how to dance.

Lesson learned from this movie: If you are gay, you like to wear women's clothes.

Outside of that I thought it was fun.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Manisha DS
Canada
North York
Ontario
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
The Sword of Truth by Terry Goodkind is also a series now. They renamed it Legend of the Seeker. I personally could not get past the third book of the series so Goodkind is not really top of my fantasy list.

I think many fantasy authors are hesitant to have their books converted to film considering the dismal track record. The studios who buy the rights do not always allow author input and often change plots and characters drastically. The success of LOTR probably has many of them rethinking the possibility but it's still a risky and worrying proposition.

I wonder if it is a case of educating the general public as well. There are so many preconceptions about fantasy and perhaps the studios are simply pandering to those cliched expectations. Plus there is a tendency to think fantasy is only for kids/YA.

I'd love to see more fantasy done in a gritty manner, with magic as a minor player, with more fully realised characters and worlds.
5 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Aloha!
United States
Kalamazoo
Michigan
flag msg tools
Meega, nala kwishta!
badge
AAGH! YOU'RE TOUCHING ME!
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
sisteray wrote:
cold_fuzion wrote:

It really depends on your definition. If you mean simply high fantasy, then there is a real dearth of good movies (and books, frankly). If you mean general fantasy, then there is a lot of it.
Oh, I forgot Stardust. That was a lot of fun and Di Niro stole every scene he was in, stole it, bitch slapped every other actor on the set and stole their lunch money. A very fun movie.


The persistent unicorn ex machina bothered me, but not as much as Di Niro's power to wield gay magic. Apparently he has the power to make men's hair grow long, and in a couple hard nights teach a man full control of his "sword", yet isn't strong enough to teach a girl how to dance.

Lesson learned from this movie: If you are gay, you like to wear women's clothes.

Outside of that I thought it was fun.[/q]I'll agree the character was a horrible cliche, what I loved is this is the only movie I can think of that Di Niro did something different than he always does. He just had fun with it, who cares if it's cliche?
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
J Mathews
United States
Renton
Washington
flag msg tools
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
NishaDS wrote:
I'd love to see more fantasy done in a gritty manner, with magic as a minor player, with more fully realised characters and worlds.

+1

I wonder why the studios are hesitant to do that. Hopefully LotR and HP raised the bar and proved that movies like that could make money. I read somewhere that Wheel of Time had been picked up, but I don't see how that could be done without monopolizing actors and actresses for years, taking 2+ movies per book, and cutting multiple plot threads. But if done well, it would be great!
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Christychan
United States
Somerville
New Jersey
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
I agree with sisteray on:
Conan the Barbarian
Excalibur
The Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Legend
Reign of Fire
The Nightmare Before Christmas
Beetlejuice
Pirates of the Caribbean - The Curse of the Black Pearl
Clash of the Titans
Jason and the Argonauts
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
Highlander
(Not to say I don't like the other films, but not familiar with all of them, so I can't comment on them)


In addition I enjoyed:
Blade Runner
The Mad Max films
Constantine
The Mummy
Gattaca
X-Men
I am Legend
Michael
Aeon Flux


I also like many anime films, but consider them a separate category
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Andrew Brannan
United States
Rockville
Maryland
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
NishaDS wrote:
A major part of the problem is fantasy movies are treated as big action flicks with magical explosions, sword fights and cliched lines. The plot is thinned down, the characters become farcical and magic becomes the deus ex machina.

The everyday magic, the philosophy and politics of the world, the emotional journey of the characters, all become secondary to the special effects and costuming. The true 'cost' of magic is rarely explored and the worlds created are shallow and lifeless. Not enough effort is put into giving the characters a context of being, both emotionally and physically.



This. In spades. Hollywood uses the special effects of fantasy as a crutch to cover otherwise dismal stories. But it's changing. We're finally starting to get some character driven fantasy out there (Lost, BSG). Even a lot of the literature is starting to improve. The movies will come, but it'll be a slow process.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Nate Rethorn
United States
Perrysburg
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmb
Pan's Labyrinth has to be the best fantasy film in years.
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
Tony Ackroyd
United Kingdom
Brighton
E Sussex
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
Good timing....

Best Fantasy Films - Nominations Thread
2 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
George Kinney
United States
Bellefontaine
Ohio
flag msg tools
badge
Avatar
mbmbmbmbmb
EventHorizon wrote:
I am just wondering why there is such a difference in the variety and quality of fantasy books and fantasy movies.


Books are vasty cheaper to produce, thus there are more of them. Assuming that some percentage of any form of media is better than the rest, the bigger pile should have more 'good' items than the smaller ones would.

The other factor is that the written word is far more flexibly expressive than audio/visual world of film. Asimov was recently quoted in one of these forums pointing out that the easiest part of sci-fi to express on film was explosions, thus there are a lot of them in sci-fi movies.

Ditto the fantasy titles.
3 
 Thumb up
 tip
 Hide
  • [+] Dice rolls
1 , 2  Next »   | 
Front Page | Welcome | Contact | Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Advertise | Support BGG | Feeds RSS
Geekdo, BoardGameGeek, the Geekdo logo, and the BoardGameGeek logo are trademarks of BoardGameGeek, LLC.