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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got back from the film, had dinner, and after thinking about it, I give two big thumbs up to this movie.


I have read and enjoyed all of Tom Clancy's novels, and sampled the Op Center and Netforce series (I decided not to read those as they were inferior to Clancy's own works). I have seen the three prior Jack Ryan movies and enjoyed all of them. My favorite movie remains The Hunt for Red October, and now my next favorite is The Sum of All Fears even though that is my least favorite Jack Ryan book, after the truely awfull Rainbow Six (which is not a Ryan novel, rather it is the second John Clark novel).


The rest of you are going to have to get over Alec Baldwin and Harrison Ford - although they are both better actors than Ben Affleck. You may as well quit resenting the fact that the plot changed between the book and the film, as the changes made for a better film, and were ultimately required because the media are very different. Heck, the reason Red October is the best film is that the book is a third the size of Clancy's later works, and thus lost the least detail in the transformation to film.


Much has been said about the fact that the villians in this film were changed from Muslim extremeists to Neo-Fascists, and I believe the plot suffered because of it. However, Clancy as Executive Producer has to have been the one that made such a change - it's his film, and must be the way he wanted it to be, although there are now but a few superficial resemblances between book and film. For the record, I don't care for this change, but think it makes little difference in the end.


The plot is tight, the acting and directing and photography are very good, and it's an extremely suspensefull film. However, the months-long plot of the novel has been condensed down to a few days which get summarized in two hours, but it works. I sat in my usual seat near the front, and noticed some film grain that's probably going to be visible in the DVD, it was so pronounced. Unfortunately I didn't see it in my favorite theater, instead I saw it in a theater I don't much respect for sound quality and focus (cylindrical screen not a torus, as well). So I will refrain from saying much about sound and focus, other than there were no obvious flaws.


The special effects are some excellant miniatures work - and aside from an anemic nuclear mushroom cloud, are pretty good.


Now for a bit of an unplesant topic. Prior to the movie's debut, many different movie reviews were published, and a great many of these were bogus, written by people who had read the book but not seen the film. After viewing the film, you'll understand why this is obviously true. My point being, don't be discouraged by such negative reviews from people who had not seen the film.


Give this film a chance - it deserves a visit to the theater.


Gary
 

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Quote:
Much has been said about the fact that the villians in this film were changed from Muslim extremeists to Neo-Fascists, and I believe the plot suffered because of it. However, Clancy as Executive Producer has to have been the one that made such a change - it's his film, and must be the way he wanted it to be , although there are now but a few superficial resemblances between book and film. For the record, I don't care for this change, but think it makes little difference in the end.
I find it very hard to believe that Tom Clancy would want such a change. I don't know what he really wanted and may never know, but the change seems preposterous given our current situation. This doesn't say anything about the quality of the film, just the bizarre world view of those who made the changes.
 

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Quote:
Much has been said about the fact that the villians in this film were changed from Muslim extremeists to Neo-Fascists, and I believe the plot suffered because of it. However, Clancy as Executive Producer has to have been the one that made such a change - it's his film, and must be the way he wanted it to be, although there are now but a few superficial resemblances between book and film.
Clancy absolutely did not want that change. Blame Harrison Ford, who told Paramount to make the bad guys "Right Wing Militia types." That then evolved into Neo Nazi's, since no one would be offended and Paramount would not be accused of being racist (remember the ridiculous attacks against James Cameron and FOX for True Lies making Muslims look to be terrorists).


Well low and behold, 9-11 happens and Paramount must be kicking themselves. Hollywood's PC bent is ridiculous. They think nothing of trashing white males and religious figures, but everything else is now taboo. :rolleyes:


For the record, I liked the novel. It was too thick, but still quite good. CLEAR & PRESENT DANGER is Clancy's best work and one of the most enjoyable novels I have ever read. The film version is a complete *******ization, a steaming pile of ****e, a hack job and a half, a revolting, well, you get the point. :mad:
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
But my real point is that it is absolutely, positively, without any doubt whatsoever, ALWAYS INCORRECT to compare the book to the movie. Necessary changes must occur, these are entirely different forms of media.


If you look at The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, A Clear and Present Danger, and The Sum of All Fears as films, all are above average action/suspense films. If, however, you look at these films as a lover of the book that inspired the movie, they will always be wanting. IMHO, no filmmaker can match the images that form in your head while reading - because reading is superior entertainment. But books are not at all the same as film. Therefore, they must be judged seperately - and I believe we are talking about four superior books, and four superior films, and that's that.


While reading the last few Clancy novels, I found it necessary to use sticky notes whenever I identified the beginning of one of his numerous subplots. This was so I could go back and quickly refresh my memory of these subplots. This was in turn necessary because it takes me several weeks to read a Clancy novel (because I have a life). Few people are willing to invest so much time and effort (although obviously Matt and Larry are among those few).


Books of this size normally get turned into miniseries (Shogun and The Winds of War come to mind). However, I do not believe that Clancy's elaborate novels are suitable fodder for mini-series. There is always one central plotline involving the main character Jack Ryan - that's the one that deserves to be a film, with minimal supporting scenes, after having pruned off the other subplots. Which just about describes what happened to all four films, compared to the novels that inspired them.


So like I said before, to truely appreciate The Sum of All Fears as a superior film, one just has to get over the fact that the film is not the same as the book, couldn't be made to more resemble to book without being a much lesser film, and could not be produced as a successfull mini-series either. But if you've read the book, made such a major investment by spending days or weeks at it, and enjoyed it - why not spend just two more hours and far less cash on the film?


Lastly, Clancy WAS Executive Producer, provided a major portion of the funding to make the film, and made all the important calls. In spite of the fact that Harrison Ford was interviewed several times, he was not associated at all with the last film in any capacity.


Edit: I believe the villians being Neo-Fascists has more to do with the fact that Ahnold's vehicle True Lies went so far over the top with regard to Muslim extremests as to offend most audience members. Heck, you have to practically be a conservative right-winger like Ahnold (or me) to see the humor in it. Before 9/11, when the important plotline decisions were made for the film The Sum of All Fears, we had one example of a right-wing militia type blowing up a building with a large loss of life, and one feeble first attempt at the World Trade Center. Try to imagine the consternation that 9/11 caused to the makers of this movie, after all the film was already shot. The only thing I wished they had had the courage to do is to be brave enough to offend anyone anywhere, rather than making the villians White South Africans - a political group that practically does not exist today, and a part of the world that does not represent much film revenues.


Gary
 

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I read the book and enjoyed the movie, despite the significant rewrite of the villain.

In the last 10 years I have avoided trying to make quality comparisons between books and movies.


Ben Affleck is a bit of a stiff, but that did not ruin the movie for me.


Hollywood is clearly indicating it will take no chances. We will have to leave the films that challenge the status quo to Sundance and the like for funding.
 

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On a lighter note...


Is it me or was the ending a rehash of Godfather?!
 

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An ok movie. I probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn't read the book.
 
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