Friday, June 21, 2013

Guest Post: Book To Film ~ When They Get It Right!!

Having always been an avid reader and very much a massive movie fan, the concept of turning some of my favourite books to movies has been a somewhat tricky subject. How many times have we sat with our friends, neighbours or family and debated the subject of “Yeah it was good, But did you read the book”? Often it can prove to be a swift kick to the nether regions when you watch the absolute nonsense that passes for an adaptation. Then other times they go way too far and make about 9 films that, to be fair, even the trailers looked boring as hell *cough* The Lord Of The Rings *cough*. Don’t get me wrong, they were decent enough films but my god boooooring. I think Peter Jackson was just way too anal when it came to getting that right.

Every now and then however, you get a movie adaptation that just embodies everything the writer strived to convey and the movie encapsulates the complete spirit of the words. Today I would like to talk about one such example that, in my eyes, does the book justice. The book that sprang immediately to mind would have to be Fight Club from Chuck Palahniuk. This man is a great writer and I seriously love his stuff; it is dark, dirty and holds a mirror up to society. He shows us in no uncertain terms who we are right now and where we are headed. Fight Club is no exception.

“If our Fathers are our models for God and our Fathers have bailed then what does that tell us about God” – Tyler Durden

The book tells us the story of Jack or The Narrator. Jack seems to have lost his way and is feeling like he is simply existing; never really awake and never really asleep. He travels from state to state, never really taking a moment and hoping that there will be a mid air collision just to end the numbness of it all plus “Life insurance pays triple if you die in a plane crash.” Until he meets Tyler Durden. 

Tyler is everything that our humble Narrator is not; cool, cocky, confident and above all else…. FREE. Through him Jack learns how to let go. The two men quickly bond and inadvertently start a car park Fight Club: a group session for men if you will. Here you can forget everything you were supposed to be and become everything you want to be.… A MAN. The basement where they stage their “group therapy sessions” soon re-locates to a house and there the Fight Club evolves into Project Mayhem. The intention being to show the world that no longer will they sit back and eat the crap forced upon them. 

Palahniuk has stated that this story is for the lonely soul, showing that as a society in 1996 we had become scared of confrontation of any kind. We had become victim to the perfection we as humans strived for. As far as I’m concerned this is truer today than back then.

"We're designed to be hunters and we're in a society of shopping. There's nothing to kill anymore, there's nothing to fight, nothing to overcome, nothing to explore. In that societal emasculation this everyman [The Narrator] is created."
               David Fincher[3]

In 1999 visionary director David Fincher was man enough to take this book and adapt it to the screen and my Christ what a job the man did! The movie had that same dark and gritty feel to it and served the book incredibly well. He changed only a couple of key scenes from the book and managed to say everything Palahniuk intended with his book. Edward Norton took on the role of The Narrator. Doing so he delivered one hell of a voice over throughout the movie, telling us his tale and his acting was superb as Ed Norton always is. Brad Pitt put in, what I consider to be, the best role he has ever played as Tyler Durden; this guy was cooler than cool. He is one of my all time favourite movie characters, from start to finish and Pitt is excellent. Both of these men play their respective roles so well that when you come to the almost unbelievable twist in the third act you genuinely buy it as realistic.

Combining both of these actors and Fincher at the helm made this one of my all time top 10 movies and it is perfectly accompanied by one hell of a book. Commercially this movie was considered a flop. Maybe due to the harsh criticism that the movie was nothing more than a “violent portrayal of man’s urge to destroy things.” In my opinion this is completely wrong however; there is so much more to Fight Club than that. Critically it put these three men on the map. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for one of Palahniuk’s other books, Choke, when it was adapted into a Sam Rockwell movie.

This is just one example of many movies that totally got it right but for me. It is the one movie that, upon getting it right, really hit a note inside me and almost every male. It shone a light on what we, as a society, had become: an angry generation. Case and point: the London Riots of 2011. As I said, “still completely relevant.”

Other Chuck Palahniuk books I would recommend are Survivor, Choke and Lullaby. As for Fincher, you have to check out Panic Room, Se7en and The Game.

I am currently reading Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, a movie I refuse to watch until I have finished the book.  My god it’s one of the most intense reading experiences I have ever had. Gripping like you wouldn’t believe!

- Haldon365

I suppose I little about me…. What is there to say, I am a work to pay the bills by day and as of late outside my work I am working hard at becoming a Mark Kermode type (with more integrity). My site is still in its baby stages but the three of us just love doing what we doing. Feel free to stop by and see what we are about.

For the Fanboys From A Fanboy

Haldon365's Walking Dead/Game of Thrones post

Haldon365's Silver Linings Playbook post

Haldon 365's Zathura review

The Host movie review by CHUNK at

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