Survival of the Fittest for Movie Genres

People often complain that movies are never like the book. The movie cuts too much or adds unneeded scenes. Most of this is due to the fact that people don’t understand that movies are alive. Yes, alive. At least in the sense of survival of the fittest.

Movies are created by producers who pump money into an idea. The producers aren’t parents, yearning for their filmic offspring to go onto glory. Awards and accolades are added benefits. No, movie producers want one simple thing: to make money.

Viewed from this perceptive, books adapted into movies make sense. The goal isn’t to transform the vision of the text to film. (The director or the actors or screenwriters might strive for that.) No, producers only want to transform the readers of the book into watchers of the movie. If that means they have to adhere to the story, fine. But mostly, movie producers take liberties because the readers will still flock to the film and see it.


Why this long tirade about books and films? Mostly the Hobbit. I love the book, but wasn’t wowed by the film. I understand all the additions and changes as it made its way toward film. Ultimately did the film make money? Yes. Will more like it be made? Yes. It’s like evolution in film. If a certain type of film makes money, then more will be made.

Parker Movie Free

Another adaptation is Parker with Jason Statham. The original book, written by Donald E. Westlake, is nothing like the film. (For a more in depth view of the book, check out the Weekly Rot.) The protagonist is unlikable and repugnant. However, the genre of action-movies states that the led be likable and somewhat honorable. Thus the Statham Parker says: “I don’t steal from people who can’t afford it, and I don’t hurt people that don’t deserve it.” There’s little to distinguish this film from the many other Statham action films.

Parker was expected to make money by following the genre formula, yet in this one fumbled.

In the future, when you complain about movie adaptations, consider this: If people refused to see it, then that genre would wither and die.

Tim Kane

The Year of the Archer

In March we saw Katniss Everdeen skewer a pig in front of the game makers. Her archery abilities weren’t just a throwaway  skill. The bow and arrow were the focal point of the novel. She hunted for game to support her family. Her high score in the Hunger Games made her a target. Likewise, she destroyed the careers’ food with a well placed shot.

Then there’s The Avengers. Joss Whedon skillfully built up Hawkeye’s character from nearly nothing to a character on par with the other heavies of the film. His trick? Make the archer the bad guy for most of the film. Then his skills are forefront for much of the screen time.

A month later we’ll have Pixar’s Brave, featuring a young maiden quite skilled with the bow. I can’t discern the plot yet, but her archery  abilities seem to dominate the trailers.

Then, in December, we have the original super archer: Legolas. Okay, not the actual arrow-slinging elf, but The Hobbit will feature Legolas’s dad. Rumors abound the Orlando Bloom will cameo as Legolas. Perhaps firing a few arrows.

I think archery ranges will be full this year. Prepare for plenty of bows and arrows come Halloween. Nock ’em back if you got ’em.

Tim Kane