I ran across both of these apologies this week.
I have no context for this first one, but it’s interesting all the same: The Writer of Dragonball Evolution Offers a Sincere Apology to Fans. My sum knowledge of Dragonball is approximately zero. From the Io9 analysis:
Not only is it rare for people in Hollywood to apologize, it’s even rarer for them to flat-out admit that they did something for the paycheck. True, the fact that he wasn’t a fan really, really showed—but it’s not always a requirement that someone involved in an adaptation be a huge fan. Sometimes that can lead to an inability to recognize what changes need to be made for the new project to succeed. On the other hand, it’s better if they have some familiarity, as well as respect for the material, which was certainly missing from Dragonball Evolution.
The second one cuts a bit closer to home for me. Gavin Scott on Wrestling with Ursula Le Guin:
The second problem stemmed from the fact that there were two books. On the face of it The Tombs of Atuan is a sequel to A Wizard of Earthsea but in fact they are two fairly self-contained novels. The first is principally about the young wizard Ged and his unleashing of a terrible shadow creature through overweening pride, and the second tells the story of a young priestess named Tenar who is the servant of a religious order which ultimately proves corrupt. Ged and Tenar are at first enemies and then allies in The Tombs of Atuan, but the first book is entirely about Ged and the second mainly about Tenar.
It’s not practical in a miniseries for the heroine not to appear till night two, so it was necessary to create at least a psychic link between Tenar and Ged from the beginning, and to start telling Tenar’s story much earlier. That was challenge number one.
Challenge number two was the fact that Ged defeats his main enemy, the shadow, at the end of A Wizard, leaving him little to do in the second book except be imprisoned by Tenar and search for the other half of a broken amulet. As Ged was our hero this obliged me to keep the threat of the shadow going until its defeat could be part of Ged and Tenar’s triumph on Atuan.
And, as you can imagine, this needed some re-rigging of the plot and reimagining of the action sequences as well.
I’m completely baffled why this line “in fact they are two fairly self-contained novels” didn’t lead to a pause. Why smush it together at all? If there’s such a thing as the opposite of a “fix-up”, this would be it. It’s like destruction instead of construction. And it just doesn’t make any sense.
My own theory is that Le Guin is a great writer, but it’s not a surprise that, despite a handful of adaptations, there hasn’t been some definitive/mind-blowing film or TV version of her stories. I like her works because they somehow have a timeless, classic feel to them – I mean, you could write a whitewashed miniseries full of action sequences, but that’s taking the work down at least two levels below where it started.
I’m trying to imagine what my ideal Le Guin adaptation would be, and I’m coming up blank. If I think of an ideal reading experience, it’s easy to think of myself sitting down and re-reading Lavinia or Earthsea (or Catwings to my kids). But her books don’t cross over to media (movies, TV, videogames, etc) in my mind, and I’m perfectly ok with that.