8 December, 2021

LitStaff Pick: Film Adaptations We Love and Those We Hate

Best movie Adaptation –The Lord of the RingsFrodo

Peter Jackson’s adaptation of Tolkien’s classic was light years away from the goofy cartoon fans of the series had to endure in 1977. Rumor has it that Tolkien was appalled by the animated incarnation of The Hobbit and, really, can anyone blame him?

But Jackson’s magnum opus, with its gorgeous landscapes, lush imagery and haunting performances completely encapsulated what decades of fans had waited for: a properly beautifully film that honored all that Tolkien envisioned when he first set pen to paper.

Worst movie Adaptation –Spawn

You have to understand. Todd McFarlane‘s Spawn was one of the first comics I picked up. Of course, I came to the genre very late in life (by comic fan standards), but I loved Spawn and fanned through my husband’s collection like a woman possessed. You can imagine my disappointment when I saw the film. I’m going to let Rotten Tomatoes sum up why it was such a hot mess:

This hopelessly redundant action gross-out aspires to a form of hip vacuousness—and may achieve it. John Leguizamo, continuing the extended fart joke he began a series of roles ago, is verbally spry as usual, stealing attention from the rest of the cast with more than just his gooey prosthetics. The usual superhero’s etiology gives birth to Spawn, a former assassin (Michael Jai White) who’s double-crossed by politician Martin Sheen in a typically villainous attempt at world domination. Some soul selling that takes place in the cliched underworld is supposed to account for all the high-tech transmogrification various characters undergo as they flex their powers, but only the poetic unfurling of Spawn’s flowing red cape is eye-catching enough to merit the screen time and energy. With nothing up its sleeve but the kind of self-reference that’s supposed to be funny just because it exists, this movie actually cuts to an impassive close-up of Sheen when Leguizamo mentions something about an “apocalypse—now.”

Yeah. What she said.


-TS Tate

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