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Added by badwolf on 7 Mar 2013 08:37
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Unfilmable

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Also Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King. And yes, I'm aware that Ralph Bakshi's version exists as well.

The book (1954-55): A trilogy by JRR Tolkien of sprawling high fantasy, in which a foreign world of might and magic is filled with multiple factions, characters and crossing storylines.

How did they film it (2001-2003): With a crazy industry outsider Peter Jackson at helm. Jackson first started developing the project as one or two films, just like many before him (including Ralph Bakshi's animated version). However, based on a suggestion and backing by New Line Cinema CEO and film producer Robert Shaye, the project was extended into a trilogy thousands of fans adore today.
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People who added this item 1285 Average listal rating (739 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.5
Cloud Atlas (2012)
The book (2004): David Mitchell's grand narrative works around themes rather than a single linear narrative, covering six stories, all in different genres, with only minor connections between said stories, and all separated by decades or even centuries. The book tells each of its stories in two parts, starting with the one taking place furthest in the past, moves forward chronologically, and then comes back in a reversed story order (in other words, the order of the stories is 1-2-3-4-5-6-5-4-3-2-1).

How did they film it (2012): With three directors and very powerful film editing. Actress Natalie Portman introduced the book to the Wachowski siblings while filming V for Vendetta. After the Wachowskis failed to secure a complete studio backing from Hollywood, the production was moved to Germany, where it became one of the most expensive indie films ever put together. Tom Tykwer also came aboard.

One of the most crucial changes the film has compared to the book is amping up the amount of transitions between the six stories. The film continuously jumps between different stories in order to highlight the recurring themes and character relationships, which might have been difficult to grasp otherwise. Also, a lot of unessential stuff had to be removed completly, but the result was still hugely impressive.
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People who added this item 3084 Average listal rating (1820 ratings) 7.4 IMDB Rating 7.7
The book (1971): Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is gonzo-journalist Hunter S. Thompson's most famous book, a drug-fueled drilling to the heart of American dream. Blending fact and fiction, Thompson's novel lacks a proper coherent narrative, instead describing a series of lurid hallucinogenic trips which leads the two main characters to a rampage through Las Vegas while handling the failings of the counterculture movement of the 1960s.

How did they film it (1998): Oliver Stone couldn't do it, Martin Scorsese couldn't do it, even Ralph Bakshi's animated magic couldn't do it, so the project was handed to Terry Gilliam, a director famous for his lurid fantasy trips. An obvious choice, when you think about it.
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People who added this item 3297 Average listal rating (2219 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.6
Watchmen (2009)
The book (1986-87): Published as a 12-part limited series comic book, Watchmen along with Frank Miller's The Dark Knight Returns is considered the beginnin of so-called "dark age" in American superhero comic books, incorporating much darker themes than which the comic-reading audience was used to. Alan Moore's and Dave Gibbons' Watchmen explored a darker side of superheroes by examining them through failures, not only those of their own but those of society in general. Taking place in an alternate timeline where the existence of superheroes has shaped the world into much darker place to live in, Moore and Gibbons used a nine-panel grid for each page to build atmosphere in a way only a comic book could. Oh, and the whole mess in non-linear.

How did they film it (2009): Well, Alan Moore, who's not happy with a single film adaptation based on his work, snarking constantly is not a huge problem, but when Terry Gilliam out of all people considers the project unfilmable and suggests to turn into a five-hour miniseries, it sounds like that you're kinda fucked. But after many years of reconstruction attemps the just deciced to film the bloody thing as it was. Yes, they still had to trim away some stuff because Watchmen the comic is pretty huge, but considering the task the film faced the result is phenomenal.
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People who added this item 1918 Average listal rating (941 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.6
Lolita (1962)
The book (1955): Like the previous entries on this list, Lolita the book was an unconventional in its narrative and writing style, since author Vladimir Nabokov uses a lot of puns and other lingustic tricks. The main problem, though, would be the subject matter: a middle-aged professor becoming a step-father to a 12-year-old girl and then becoming sexually obsessed about her. The subject-matter generated a flood of controversy around the book, including a ban in France. Is it any wonder the Stanley Kubrick movie from 1962 used a bewildered question "How did they ever make a movie out of Lolita?" as its tagline?

How did they film it (1962): Did I already mention Stanley Kubrick? I did? Good - saves me a lot of trouble. Also, Nabokov wrote the screenplay.

Oh, and not did it film it once, they filmed in twice: another version saw the light of day in 1997 directed by Adrian Lyne based on a screenplay that was even more loyal to the novel than that of Kubrick's film - yes, even though the novelist himself wrote the screenplay for that one.
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People who added this item 161 Average listal rating (75 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7
The book (1969): Kurt Vonnegut most well-known novel is about a man who comes unstuck in time - and yes, this means it's non-linear as all hell. The main character lives through the Dresden bombing in WWII, his post-war life as a optometrist in idyllic America (described as dull and meaningless) and the abduction by aliens to a far-away planet of Tralfamadore, all at the same time. The book deals with the nature of time, the age-old juxtapositioning between fate and free will, and the inevitability and irrational nature of war. The American soldiers in war don't respect anything, the post-war life is dull and meaningless, and from the aliens' point of view free will is an absurd joke.

At the time of publication, the post-war babyboomers had started their rebellion against their parents, the USA was getting stuck in a long and wearing war in Vietnam, so maybe it's understandable that the book's view of life was too pessimistic for many. The book has been removed from several US school libraries as un-American and anti-Christian until this very day, a subject matter that has even been discussed in the Supreme Court.

How did they film it (1972): With big balls, and editing that brings up the contrast between different stories visited, so that the shifts between time and space aren't too jarring. Also, it was the 70s, the decade considered by many to be either the greatest decade or the last great decade in American cinema.

Vonnegut continues to adore the film to this day. So at least for once, the author of the source material was and has remainined very enthusiastic about a film adaptation of his work.
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People who added this item 1111 Average listal rating (581 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.1
Naked Lunch (1991)
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People who added this item 47 Average listal rating (32 ratings) 4.5 IMDB Rating 5.7
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People who added this item 1683 Average listal rating (993 ratings) 6.8 IMDB Rating 6.8
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People who added this item 9 Average listal rating (4 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.6
Ulysses (1967)
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People who added this item 1254 Average listal rating (773 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 6.6
Dune (1984)
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People who added this item 600 Average listal rating (254 ratings) 6.2 IMDB Rating 6.1
On the Road (2012)
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People who added this item 1615 Average listal rating (1057 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 7.9
Life Of Pi (2012)
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People who added this item 323 Average listal rating (152 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 7.2
Catch-22 (1970)
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People who added this item 1956 Average listal rating (1172 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.7
Adaptation (2002)
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A list of films that were based on applauded and famous books considered unfilmable ... at least until some lunatic actually made the bloody film (for better or worse).

List under construction.

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Comments

Posted: 2 years, 8 months ago at Jul 9 15:17
it is an interesting list, too bad it has never been finished.
Posted: 2 years, 8 months ago at Jul 10 16:12
I agree. The list is unfinished. I would especially like to read about the David Lynch version of Dune that turned out to be a meandering, unintellegable mess (even for Lynch)although it had some great special effects and cinematography. Lynch had not read the book and appeared to have made his own interpretation of it.

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