Hello and welcome to The Demise of Film. I'm your host RJ Cusyk and I'm going to rant heavily about the film 20th Century Boys Part 1. I'm going to compare it to those shitty Harry Potter movies all with the hope of getting you to read my long winded article. Yes, we're Vox now.
I recently started reading the manga titled 20th Century Boys. If you haven't read this manga, I highly recommend it. Do I recommend it more than Monster? Probably not, but I've also been reading Monster a lot longer. I finished the first of the perfect editions and found out there are three movies dedicated to this series. The first one was listed for free on YouTube so I figured that I'd check it out. The first hour basically summed up the first book, so I figured that the second hour would be the second book. While watching it, I discovered that the second hour is actually based on books 3 and 4. As someone who, at the time of this viewing, had not read books 3 and 4, I was extremely lost. There was a lot of guesswork involved which made me start thinking of this as not a movie, but a book companion piece.
"What the hell is a book companion piece?" You're probably thinking. It's a term that I like to think I made up and with a one page DuckDuckGo search, I can't find anything to prove me wrong. What I call a book companion piece is a movie that only functions with prior knowledge of the source material. The Harry Potter films are some of the best examples of this. The movies do not function as films without the books. I haven't seen all the movies but I have read all the books. I'm just going to break down the movies that I have seen with my thoughts on when I watched them. I know that I'm going to catch a lot of flack for mentioning Harry Potter, so I might as well say this now and get flack for valid reasons.
If you are over the age of 18 and still think that no book is ever going to be better than Harry Potter, you're basic.
There, I said it. Anyway, here is my recollection of the Harry Potter movies that I did see.
This is why Harry Potter will never be as good as Lord of the Rings. Sure, I wish they included a lot of stuff from the books in the LOTR movies but I felt the movies could exist without needing the books. Harry Potter seems to have started a horrible trend of these movies. I find myself longing for the days where I complain how a scene was dropped from the book. Nowadays it feels like entire plots are dropped and the people who have read the source material are like "ha, you'd understand that if you read the book, you illiterate moron." I didn't even bother to see The Dark Tower because I was afraid of encountering that. It turns out that movie didn't make sense even if I did read the books. I'm just going to blame the theatrical cut of The Big Sleep.
For those who don't know, The Big Sleep is a 1946 movie that was completed in 1945. It sat on a shelf so Warner Brothers could release a bunch of their war movies while the war was still relevant. During that time, Bogart and Bacall became an onscreen sensation so The Big Sleep had a bunch of reshoots done and now the film doesn't make any fucking sense. However, people just wanted to see Bogie and Bacall and cheered about them appearing together more in the movie. Even Roger Ebert said that the theatrical cut is better. Is everyone high? I've watched both cuts of the movie and read the book. The 1945 cut is a better movie and it tells a cohesive narrative. I had to remember the fact that I read the book when I watched the 1946 theatrical cut. As much as I hate Cinema Sins, I agree that the books do not matter. A film should be able to stand on its own, knowing the source material should just enrich the experience. Am I upset about the Project Mayhem stuff cut from Fight Club? Of course! Do I wish I could see the boner zombie in Let the Right One In? Absolutely.
However, I still enjoy those films without reading the books. That is what should define if a movie is good, not if I read the book before I saw it.