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Robin Hood, a novelization by David B. CoeLast night marked the final chapter of my Robin Hood novelization experience:  Nancy and I finally saw the movie.  My reactions:

First, I liked it.  So did Nancy.  I honestly believe that many of the poor reviews were written by people who went to the theater expecting to see the conventional Robin Hood story.  This movie never claimed to be that.  It is a prequel of sorts to the legend, and is innovative and different -- good things both.  It is a darker story than one expects from a Robin Hood movie, but that too worked for me.

I love Cate Blanchett,and I think she did a fine job; her acting was excellent, as always.  Still, I'm just not certain that she was ideal for this role.  On the other hand, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed Russell Crowe's performance.  Again, I always expect excellent acting from him, and I wasn't disappointed this time.  I just hadn't been sure that I would like him as Robin.  I did.

A lot of what I saw matched up well with what I envisioned as I wrote the book from the movie script.  Still, there were scenes that I saw differently -- the opening siege sequences, for instance.  There were a few scenes and lines that must have been cut from the movie at the last minute, because they're in the book, but not in the film.  And there were a few scenes and lines that we were asked to cut, but that then found their way back into the movie (and I have to tell you THAT was a little annoying....).

Movies and books are utterly different media, and hard to compare.  I know that some of what I wrote in the book can't possibly have as much impact as the visuals one gets on the screen.  I also know, though, that there are elements of what I wrote in the book, especially some of the point of view work, that added to the narrative.  Eleanor of Aquitaine doesn't get enough screen time in the movie to be a fully developed character; being able to write scenes from her POV allowed me to bring her out a bit more in the book.  Same with Richard the Lionheart.

Robin Hood was a unique writing experience; I've said as much before.  Turns out, seeing the movie was a unique experience as well.  I felt like I was seeing a movie I'd watched many times before, and yet every visual offered some small surprise.  As Nancy said, it will probably be even stranger to see a movie that is based on one of my own books.  I hope to find out some day.

Comments

( 8 comments — Leave a comment )
sartorias
Jun. 20th, 2010 06:49 pm (UTC)
I had a similar experience when I did the novelization for the Borrowers movie. It was fun overall, and a learning experience.
davidbcoe
Jun. 20th, 2010 08:00 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen the Borrowers movie. Will have to check it out.
estellye
Jun. 20th, 2010 07:14 pm (UTC)
I have a hard time imagining what my reaction would be if I was in your shoes. What an unusual experience! I'm so glad you had the opportunity.

I'd be pleased to see any of your tales translated to screen, but only if they respected the material and involved you as much as possible (which is the way I believe all translations from books by living authors should be handled). What immediately springs to my mind is how intriguing the visual and cultural contrast between Tobyn-Ser and Lon-Ser would be for a film maker.
davidbcoe
Jun. 20th, 2010 08:01 pm (UTC)
I agree, Gina. I think the authors should have as much input in the process as possible. Of course, I might be biased....

I've often wondered which of my books would translate best to the screen. Right now I think the answer is "The two I've written that haven't been published yet." At some point you'll see what I mean. Thanks for the comment.
(Deleted comment)
davidbcoe
Jun. 21st, 2010 04:17 pm (UTC)
Rowena, it was fascinating and fun. I've never felt so connected to the characters of a movie. But I do wish I'd been allowed to see even a rough cut of the film while working on the novelization. I think the book would have been far better if the studio had allowed it.
(Deleted comment)
davidbcoe
Jun. 23rd, 2010 10:28 pm (UTC)
I took my shot of the Ghost Gum at Trephina Gorge, which, despite the flies, was one of my favorite places we visited during our year in Oz.
eleika
Jun. 21st, 2010 07:13 pm (UTC)
I'm married to an amateur movie critic, so we wound up not seeing it, but the book is on my shelf. In some ways I'm looking forward to waiting a bit to read/watch because that means the complainers will have hopefully found something else to whine about. I've had movies ruined by reading reviews before.
davidbcoe
Jun. 21st, 2010 09:18 pm (UTC)
>>I've had movies ruined by reading reviews before.<<

As have I. I do think the movie is worth seeing, if not in the theater, then certainly on DVD. And I hope you enjoy the book, too.
( 8 comments — Leave a comment )

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