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Space Trilogy Movies?

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Space Trilogy Movies?

Postby Sylvia Lee » 22 Jul 2004, 02:06

Okay, so I know there's been some talk about this going on in the Chap. 22 thread, but I didn't want to clutter the thread by continuing the tangent.

So, what if someone (or some several) decided to make movies of the Space Trilogy? My take on that idea is this: There _might_ be enough in OSP to make a full-length feature film, but how do you handle Perelandra? THS, of course, would make an awesome movie all by itself. What if, instead of three separate movies, the entire trilogy were made into a single movie called That Hideous Strength, with the important points of the first two books chronicled in a prologue? Or do OSP separate, then integrate Perelandra into the second movie which would be THS. Because I'm having a really hard time seeing Perelandra making it as a film on its own.

Just some thoughts.
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Re: Space Trilogy Movies?

Postby Guest » 22 Jul 2004, 18:09

Sylvia Lee wrote:Okay, so I know there's been some talk about this going on in the Chap. 22 thread, but I didn't want to clutter the thread by continuing the tangent.

So, what if someone (or some several) decided to make movies of the Space Trilogy? My take on that idea is this: There _might_ be enough in OSP to make a full-length feature film, but how do you handle Perelandra? THS, of course, would make an awesome movie all by itself. What if, instead of three separate movies, the entire trilogy were made into a single movie called That Hideous Strength, with the important points of the first two books chronicled in a prologue? Or do OSP separate, then integrate Perelandra into the second movie which would be THS. Because I'm having a really hard time seeing Perelandra making it as a film on its own.

Just some thoughts.


Well, the problem is basically the funding. It would be better if the movies are made as animation because live-action is too limited. The best way to gain full control over a planet as complex as Perelandra is with Animation.

If all else fails, you could always try and find that opera-version of Perelandra composed by Donald Swann.
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Re: Space Trilogy Movies?

Postby Stanley Anderson » 22 Jul 2004, 19:12

[from Sylvia]:
>Because I'm having a really hard time seeing Perelandra making
>it as a film on its own.

That's part of what makes the idea so enticing. Too much of our mainstream "popular" movie arena has been narrowly constrained to what is "cinematic", the word "cinematic" being the culprit here. Part of its perception is that there must be an MTV-like "pacing" for the manufactured short attention span of our current culture, with explosions, chases, and action (read "shock") of ever intense levels, with no room (or very, very little) for acting, dialogue and atmosphere unless "atmosphere" is likewise defined in very narrow terms.

Take a movie like "My Dinner with Andre". The whole movie consists of two people having a conversation over dinner at a restaurant. How could this possibly be an interesting movie? When I first heard of it, I too was pretty skeptical. But it is fascinating. Somehow they were able to take this bizarre, potentially boring, bland idea and turn it into an interesting artistic experience of a moive.

That is the challenge -- take something odd, and instead of manipulating it into the "same old thing" of the type of blockbuster movie that comes out every month or so from Hollywood (with variations on the same old car chases, explosions and supposedly snappy comeback lines of dialogue), try doing something different and adventurous and challenging with it. (this is but one of the [many] reasons I so dislike the LotR movies -- as filled as they are with incredible special effects, those effects and action sequences -- that are the primary focus of all three movies -- are often nearly the same things we can see in any old Spiderman or Terminator or Star Wars or Bad Boys xx movie twice or more a month)

Yes, Perelandra would be a challenge. But what a fascinating challenge! The only problem is that Hollywood has so constricted what is considered possible for a movie -- especially a large budget movie -- that they have actually conditioned people to not expect anything more than the basest of emotional roller coasters or visual 1.4 second cuts from 5 different angles of a slow motion explosion. And with that conditioning, that means they don't dare risk the millions of dollars on something different. The box office receipts dictate how the movie will be filmed, not aesthetics.

(sorry to vent, epecially since you are new-ish to these forums, but perhaps it is a good introduction. Welcome!:-)
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Re: Space Trilogy Movies?

Postby Sylvia Lee » 22 Jul 2004, 19:19

Thanks for that, Stanley. I see what you mean.

I have one more scruple about making Perelandra into a movie, though: I'm afraid I'd get really nauseous just watching all those waves and rolling land...
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Re: Resistance to Formulae?

Postby Guest » 22 Jul 2004, 19:21

Hey, Stan.

(Do you know, we've never seen My Dinner with Andre? ... but there are other movies we've seen which are essentially two or three characters, in many cases what is now a screenplay was originally a play for the stage ... not the case with Perelandra, I know ....)

You didn't like the LotR movies? Thank you! I start out with a disinclination to see them, simply to preserve the faces and voices I have in my imagination; but I consider that friends (who are possibly as proprietary about Tolkien as I) have seen the movies, and (with caveats) feel that they are about the best that can be expected, and do accomplish great things; but every time we see a clip, it confirms us in our aesthetic cautions.

(And I don't think I could ever really forgive Jackson for the "dwarf-tossing" wheeze.)

Ah, well ....
~Karl
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Re: Resistance to Formulae?

Postby Stanley Anderson » 22 Jul 2004, 19:29

[from Karl]:
>You didn't like the LotR movies?

My, you haven't been around here long enough!:-) (or at least you left for a long time during which the movies came out). In imitation of the title of the movie "Kill Bill", I suppose around here I might be considered president of some kind of "Delete Pete" (ie Peter Jackson) club, at least as regards his LotR movies. But as you said, there are many LotR fans who love the movies, so I am not particularly representative of Tolkien fans in connection with the movies. And by the way, if you were to hear Angelee on the subject, you would think I was a super Jackson fan in comparison!:-)

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Re: Resistance to Formulae?

Postby Guest » 22 Jul 2004, 19:35

Stanley Anderson wrote:... And by the way, if you were to hear Angelee on the subject, you would think I was a super Jackson fan in comparison!


Cherish her, Stan, cherish her! :-)
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Re: Resistance to Formulae?

Postby Guest » 22 Jul 2004, 19:42

Once upon a midnight dreary I liked the movies, and I still liked them, but they do not have the same atmosphere as the books. The movies do a good job with filming the book, but it still doesn't come close to the book.

Kubrick was right when he called Lord of the Rings unfilmable. (aack! I'm agreeing with Kubrick!)

(Note; I've only read the books about once)
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Re: Space Trilogy Movies?

Postby Bill » 04 Aug 2004, 22:32

I think that there is always a risk when someone decides to make a film of a well loved book. Sometimes it is a success but very often disappointing to the book lover though probably quite acceptable to one who has not read the book in question. My main concern if someone decided to make a film of one or other of the space trilogy would be that being science fiction it would most likely be brought 'uptodate' with sophisicated special effects etc. This in my opinion would completely ruin the atmosphere of the story. Fantasy often fares better in film making and for this reason 'That Hideous Strength' might make a better film than the other two. I think that on balance I would prefer to keep Malacandra and Perelandra firmly locked in my imagination.
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Re: Space Trilogy Movies?

Postby Guest » 09 Nov 2004, 04:17

Out of the Silent Planet was actually announced as a movie back when I was in college (about '97 or so). Nothing ever came of it.

I've liked the idea of seeing The Space Trilogy as movies, ever since reading them for the first time, but there are several potential roadblocks.

In the first place, Lewis wrote them as H.G. Wells-like travelogues. He's very interested in capturing the sense of the scene and the atmosphere, not so much with moving the story forward. That works well in a book, but it can be deadly for a film.

That doesn't mean it can't be done, or be done well. But it certainly does make a very difficult challenge for the filmmakers, so much so that this is likely why the film never got made.

Keep in mind that Ransom doesn't speak to another soul for about half the book, and when he does, it's an alien, and much of the story is just about Ransom learning to speak the language. Again, great for a book, not so much for a film.

Someone I knew once explained it to me this way: Books are what people think; plays are about what people say; films are about what people do.

A story can make a successful leap from one medium to the other if it has enough of the other appropriate elements in it. (I think the CoN, with their visuals and action, stand a very good chance of making this leap well.)

Of course, maybe that wasn't the problem at all. It may have been just that the filmmakers wanted to remove any Christian elements from the storyline, and Walden Media wouldn't have it. Who knows?

Re: LOTR movies --

The movies are handsomely filmed with truly ingenious special effects, and the fact that Peter Jackson was able to capture such an epic story with any success is impressive enough in itself. Howard Shore's score is fantastic; I play it all the time. And there are parts of the movie, particularly the first half of Fellowship of the Ring, that are just perfect.

However -- and this is a big however -- Jackson largely missed the themes and the emotion that have resonated so strongly with readers for 50 years. When asked by one interviewer what the films were about, Jackson shrugged and said, "I dunno. Environmentalism, maybe?" When further asked if he was interested in preserving the Christian themes that Tolkien put in the novels, Jackson replied, "Not a shred."

Of course, this is frustrating from a Christian's perspective. But let's take a perspective of just people who liked the books, Christian or not: how can a man spend 7 years of his life making essentially one long 12-hour film and have absolutely no idea what the story meant, even for him personally? Why even bother, then?

The acting was wooden, particularly from the elves. The noble Gimli was reduced to being the butt of numerous mean-spirited "short person" jokes. And I'm not even going to get into all of the character inconsistences and "moving around" of the plot, because I understand that the filmed version must be different from the literature version (for the reasons mentioned above), though I disagreed with nearly all of his changes.

Lastly, Jackson's idea of "a touching ending" seems to be one slow-motion hugging scene after another. How long that did go on in Return of the King, anyway? 25 minutes? A friend of mine reported that at the showing he saw, people kept getting up and leaving, thinking the movie was over. Finally, the audience began laughing at the supposed "emotional climax" of the movie!

I had been waiting for a sci-fi/fantasy film to finally win Best Picture, but ironically, when Return of the King swept the Oscars, I was disgusted! I can't think of a nominated sci-fi/fantasy film that was less deserving than Return.

(Nominated sci-fi/fantasy films from previous years included Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T., Disney's Beauty and the Beast, etc. These were good stories, well acted, well filmed, with a good sense of theme and an emotional connection for the audience. These films didn't win any major awards, and in fact only won awards for music or special effects -- ironically, the only things that LoTR did really well.)

Whew. OK, I'm done ranting for now. ;)
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Re: Space Trilogy Movies?

Postby Stanley Anderson » 09 Nov 2004, 16:13

[from Sir Linus the True]:
>Out of the Silent Planet was actually announced as a movie back when I
>was in college (about '97 or so). Nothing ever came of it.

I actually have a newspaper clipping from many years ago (I'm thinking maybe the 80's) about Martin Rosen who produced Watership Down, doing an animated OSP. Unfortunately nothing ever came of it.

>In the first place, Lewis wrote them as H.G. Wells-like travelogues. He's
>very interested in capturing the sense of the scene and the atmosphere,
>not so much with moving the story forward. That works well in a book,
>but it can be deadly for a film.

Or it can be perfectly wonderful in a film. Depends on whether one can get rid of the conditioning we have been subjected to in thinking films have to be a certain way.

>Keep in mind that Ransom doesn't speak to another soul for about half
>the book, and when he does, it's an alien, and much of the story is just
>about Ransom learning to speak the language. Again, great for a book,
>not so much for a film.

Ever seen The Black Stallion? The first section on the island where not a single word is spoken the whole time is a wonderful example of this very thing. It is the highlight of the movie and perhaps the thing people remember most about the movie with great fondness. It CAN be done -- and it can be done magnificently -- perhaps moreso than the currently popular "action" movies that pervade the theatres if given a chance. Think outside the can:-)

--Stanley
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Re: Space Trilogy Movies?

Postby Guest » 29 Nov 2004, 00:52

I'm not knocking silence or slow moving moments in a movie in general. Think of the first half hour of E.T. It's just very, very difficult and challenging to pull it off right. I'd like to see a good movie version of Out of the Silent Planet--but I can see why it stymied the screenwriters.

In Lord of the Rings' case, you also have the fact that it's very easily sellable under modern action-movie descriptions--a powerful weapon that can destroy the world! The one young man who can destroy it! Swords! Monsters! etc.--and then if the audience came and saw it, and it was a bunch of long scenes of people talking and singing songs...

I may have come off too harsh the first time around. I do actually like LOTR; it's just that so many people call it the "greatest film series ever" or something similar that it just pricks something in me that says, "Hey, now, wait a minute..."
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Re: Space Trilogy Movies?

Postby Stanley Anderson » 29 Nov 2004, 04:06

[from True]:
>I may have come off too harsh the first time around. I do actually like
>LOTR; it's just that so many people call it the "greatest film series ever"
>or something similar that it just pricks something in me that says, "Hey,
>now, wait a minute..."

You certainly don't have to defend that sort of position with me. In fact, most people here will recognize that I think you're being way too generous about the film:-)

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Re: Space Trilogy Movies?

Postby Guest » 29 Nov 2004, 14:31

:-)
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Re: Space Trilogy Movies?

Postby Guest » 24 Feb 2005, 15:59

I think the Space Trilogy would be a little harder to bring to the screen -especially given the popular world veiw these days which would make Weston and Devine the "heros".
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