Here are three examples of adaptations that did justice to the source material. These are just the opinion of one person, but dammit if these films weren’t fantastic. Give the people what they want. More Tom Hanks! (And Friends)
Make no bones about it, this movies is gritty, gory, dark and really awesome. Karl Urban plays Judge Dredd to perfection, no inconsistencies, no emotion, just a man who does all he can for a city desperately in need for order. He is the law and he is a bonafide badass. When I first heard that they were remaking Dredd I thought this had to be a mistake. 1995’s Judge Dredd was such a poorly made film that it was practically a parody of the source material, a large part of this was due to a very campy performance by Sylvester Stallone and a miscast Rob Schneider. This movie makes up for every mistake its predecessor had in spades.
While many had problems with the ultra gory and dark premise, many praised that it was true to the characters nature. I feel that if the 1995 version wasn’t such a disappointment, this movie would’ve had more of a chance at the box office. Luckily, Dredd is going to get a chance at becoming a television series in the near future. Mega City will be a fascinating venue to discover when the series finally releases. If it maintains it’s dark humor and uncompromising depiction of violence, I’m all for it.
A History of Violence
While John Wagner is famous for the Judge Dredd graphic novels, he is also known for writing A History of Violence, a graphic novel that followed the life of a former mobster trying to remain incognito in a small town. Strangely enough, the little known graphic novel received a silver screen adaptation in 2005. Featuring graphic violence, a tight compact narrative with a lean pace, this movie leaned heavily on the consequences of ones past regardless of the intent. This movie was one that fell under the radar but received considerable critical praise and ended up being a moderate box office success. While liberties were taken with the plot, the movie maintained the same gritty atmosphere the graphic novel was praised for.
When I first heard of the movie I was instantly intrigued, primarily because Viggo Mortensen is pitch perfect as your everyday Joe, but when his violent nature kicks in, it’s a complete shock to the viewer. I didn’t expect for him to be that ruthlessly efficient but he is and I couldn’t help but be engrossed by his character arc. While I feel that every character is well depicted by their respective thespian, Viggo is the main draw as Tom, and after the first 20 minutes you’re waiting to see what layers will be revealed next.
Road to Perdition
A personal favorite of mine, Road to Perdition is a fantastic film that deals with the consequences of living a violent life and the relationship between a father and son on the run. Tom Hanks is center stage as Mike Sullivan, also known in various crime circles as the Angel of Death. He was a mob enforcer that is forced to cut ties as his son unfortunately was witness to the brash actions of Connor, the son of the head of the Irish Mob. While on the road, Mike and his son are tracked by the cold and ruthless assassin Harlen, played brilliantly by Jude Law. Directed by Sam Mendes, this movie is breathtakingly beautiful and its ensemble cast helped bring the early 1930’s back to life.
While this movie is a loose adaptation, the central theme of family remains the prevelant and in some respects this film is better than the source material it is based upon. With sweeping visuals, a poignant and personal story, Road to Perdition shows that you don’t need to be completely faithful to the source to create a great film.