Saturday, May 16, 2009

10 Favorite Movie Characters: Adaptation Edition

Siskoid started it this time. Since we both limited our original 10 Favorite Movie Characters lists to characters who'd originated in movies, he thought it would be fun to do a separate list of characters adapted from other media. And so did I.

I didn't start off with extra rules for myself this time, but in order to trim my list down to 10 (from an original 23) I decided that the final cut would be made up only of characters where I actually prefer the movie version to the original. I'll list the other 13 at the end without much in the way of additional comments.

Incidentally, I'm glad I waited to read Siskoid's list until after I finished my own. His would have heavily influenced mine since I also love - amongst others - Michael Caine's Alfred and JK Simmons' Jonah Jameson.

1. Robin Hood (Robin Hood)

I didn't see Errol Flynn's version of Robin Hood until I was an adult, so my childhood image of the character was shaped mostly by Howard Pyle's thorough, but mostly dry accounts of his exploits. As a result, I loved the idea of Robin Hood, but didn't truly fall in love with the character until Disney turned him into a dashing, cunning, swashbuckling fox (whom I still prefer to Errol Flynn, by the way).

2. Henry V (Henry V)

Kenneth Branagh is single-handedly responsible for making me fall in love with Shakespeare. His performance in Henry V is what did it. Until then I thought Shakespeare's history plays were pretty dull, dry stuff (I'd never seen one performed at that point), but Branagh brought it to life. He made it exciting to watch young, foolish Prince Hal transform himself into a competent and inspirational leader.

3. Gomez Addams (Addams Family, Addams Family Values)

Let's face it: Gomez Addams in Charles Addams' cartoons doesn't have a lot of personality. And though John Astin is funny and charming as the character, he doesn't equal the hilarious, manic insanity of Raul Julia's performance. Julia made me want to be Gomez. (Though Angelica Huston as Morticia didn't make the fantasy any less appealing either.)

4. Hawkeye (The Last of the Mohicans)

I couldn't make it all the way through James Fenimore Cooper's famous novel. Conversely, I can't stop watching the Michael Mann movie. One of my favorite things to do is watch Daniel Day Lewis play dapper, stuffy Cecil in A Room with a View and then immediately watch him as the iconically rugged Hawkeye. His range as an actor blows my mind.

5. Porthos (The Three Musketeers)

The literary Porthos is okay, but he's also an arrogant, vain blowhard. Platt's version, on the other hand, is a dashing pirate. I wish this production would've spent some money on costumes, because other than that it's my favorite adaptation of The Three Musketeers.

6. Rogue (X-Men)

I've always been a big fan of Rogue and by all rights I should have hated the changes they made to her in X-Men. But Anna Paquin made me love her all over again as a completely different character by combining the least annoying parts of Kitty Pride with the pathos of Rogue. And Paquin is such a talented actress that I root for her so much harder than I root for the comics version (who, frankly, can be infuriating at times).

7. Boromir (The Fellowship of the Ring)

I hate Boromir in Tolkien's Fellowship of the Ring. He's a whiny, deluded, backstabbing bastard. I get that we're supposed to think he's more than that, but we're not given any reason to see him as more. Not until Sean Bean came along we're not. Thanks to him and Peter Jackson's script, Boromir becomes a tragic character that I deeply wish could've come to a different end.

8. Susan Pevensie (The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe)

I saw the Narnia films before I read CS Lewis' series and wow was I ever disappointed in Susan as Lewis wrote her. The film version of Susan is the most hesitant of the Pevensie siblings, but she eventually comes around and her early reluctance makes her final acceptance that much more sweet and powerful. I like her much more than Lucy who seems to come to faith so easily. Susan's more relatable because she has to work so hard. Unfortunately, Lewis' Susan never overcomes and becomes a symbol of lost faith. What a rip off.

9. Tony Stark (Iron Man)

Comics Tony Stark: Rich jerk who's only interesting when he's making me hate him for killing Captain America.

Movie Tony Stark
: "I'm sorry. This is the fun-vee. The humdrum-vee is back there."

10. Scotty (Star Trek)

Absolutely no disrespect intended to James Doohan who eventually turned Scotty into a sweet, lovable character, but his young Scotty wasn't sweet and lovable. Maybe I'm missing the point (and let me know if I am), but as far as I can tell he was mostly there to fix the ship, run the transporters, and occasionally make us chuckle. Simon Pegg's Scotty, on the other hand, was the brightest spot in an already fun, bright movie.

Characters I like about the same as the versions they're adapted from:
  • Ebenezer Scrooge (pretty much every version of A Christmas Carol)
  • James Bond (as played in Doctor No, From Russia with Love, Thunderball, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, For Your Eyes Only, The Living Daylights, Goldeneye, Casino Royale, and Quantum of Solace)
  • Frankenstein's Monster (as played in Bride of Frankenstein)
  • Captain Blood (as played by Errol Flynn in Captain Blood)
  • Jayne (Serenity, which is kind of cheating since it was the same actor playing the same character from Firefly, but still...)

Adapted characters I like, but have never seen or read about the original version:
  • Lucy Honeychurch (A Room with a View)
  • Amos Starkadder (Cold Comfort Farm)
  • Mouse Alexander (Devil in a Blue Dress)
  • Severus Snape (the Harry Potter films)
  • John Rambo (First Blood)
  • Cal McAffrey (State of Play)
  • Mr. Knightley (Emma)
  • V (V for Vendetta)


Wings1295 said...

Very interesting lists you have their. I am sure I would change some here and there, but you have pretty much covered a lot of the good ones!

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

Great list. Cold Comfort Farm is one of those lost gems that almost no one has seen but its a real satisfying movie. The way Kate B gives EVERYONE just what they need to be happy is a joy to watch unfold.

Michael May said...

Yeah, I was tempted to pick Kate's character, but Ian McKellen's sermon to the Quivering Brethren and his coveting of the "Ford van" nudged him into the lead.

Cal's Canadian Cave of Coolness said...

oh and one more thing..."STAY ALIVE...I WILL FIND YOU!"..I abuse that line WAY WAY WAY too often. I have to admit that of all the characters in Cold Comfort Farm that I had to go with Rufus Sewell's Seth for the sheer way he just OWNS that guy.

Michael May said...

Yup. He's another favorite. That movie made me a Rufus Sewell fan.

Siskoid said...

Boromir almost made my list, and Rogue was considered. Heck, your picks are all excellent (those I've seen, at any rate).

Oliver Platt is just the bomb.

Siskoid said...

My tv one is done. You've officially been tagged.

Oh and check Hero Press today for some pirate content.

Cross-blogging Siskoid

Anonymous said...

very much enjoyed this


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