And You Thought The Lord of the Rings Movies Were Long

Wait until the Covenant Chronicles movies come out. There are seven big books available now, with two more on the way. Each of which is as big as The Lord of the Rings is in its entirety. Yikes.

From a movie perspective, I really don’t see these books as making good movies. Covenant is not a ‘hero’ throughout most of the books and their subject matter is challenging and not necessarily cut-out for being a summer blockbuster film. I don’t see these movies being a hit with the general public and I certainly don’t see Hollywood being able to adapt them for film without completely destroying them.

20 thoughts on “And You Thought The Lord of the Rings Movies Were Long”

  1. “But he’s the bearer of a magical talisman and is enlisted to help save the Land from Saturn and his representatives, the trade paper reported.”

    From Saturn? What the heck? I guess I missed that part from the books.

    Anyway, I agree with your position: the Chronicles won’t make a good movie. They’re too dark, too introspective. The themes handled in the series are not easy to realize in visual terms — some even impossible. Stephen Donadlson agrees, by the way, as he said many times in his official site.

    So I don’t think I will ever see the movies if they ever come out. They probably will be so frustrating that I prefer to not run the risk to spoil the poetry of Donaldson’s writings.

  2. Yes I noticed the Saturn reference in the news item. My guess was that they had intended to put Satan since Lord Foul is essentially a Satan equivalent.

    I’m pretty dubious about these films, but I’m also curious.

  3. Come on, people. Are you seriously discounting the movie before you’ve even had a chance see it for yourself? It’s all too easy to dismiss a film adaptation of a book given that the film version is sure to differ from the original; maybe even more so if you hold the book near and dear to your hearts. (Remember the I, Robot fluff?) But excluding it from your list of movies you want to see may be a bit premature. So what if it’s different? What’s the difference if it does not contain every single one of the elements that you found to be so likable in the book? The movie could stand quite well on its own merits. Additionally, it could introduce new readers to Donaldson or genre fiction in general. By openly discounting it, you are potentially closing the doors of genre fiction to them. And aren?t you even the least bit curious how it turned out?

  4. Ah ha! John hasn’t read the books so he doesn’t know how complex and challenging they are (particularly the second 3). There is no way one movie can be made to cover the existing 2 trilogies. In fact, making one movie just to cover the first trilogy can’t be done. My comparison is that Lord Foul’s Bane is as long as The Lord of the Rings and there is no way any studio is going to make a movie that is 12 hours long and no way it will be filmed then released as three movies ala LotR. Second point: the books are no where near as accessible as LotR. Not even close. I’m not saying they aren’t as good, they are, but they are challenging to read, not the least because Covenant is such an @$$-clown throughout. So yeah, I’m discounting the movie(s) before they’re made. I’m not saying they are going to suck rocks, but they won’t be Covenant. They can’t be and have any hope to be even semi-successful. And John should RTFT.

  5. Whether or not I have read the books is irrelevant. I take issue with dismissing a movie adaptation simply because it will be different than the book on which it was based. With few exceptions (LOTR comes to mind), it will most certainly differ. I am sure you are correct in your assessment that the scope, story and themes in this book cannot be duplicated. So what, I say. See the movie anyway and then pass judgment.

  6. Much like the His Dark Materials film, I don’t believe you can just change the themes, etc. and have it still be the same film. In this case, why not just make the movie you want to make and call it something else, because it won’t be the Covenant Chronicles. Much like I, Robot, it’ll be something only tangentially related to the source material.

    To which I say: Meh.

  7. Well, I’m dismissing the movie because I’m interested in seeing something that actually reflects what I like in the books. The Lord of the Rings movies, despite all their differences from the books, did just that. So I agree with JP, that, unless the movies are filmed in parts, they won’t work at all and alienate fans and non-fans alike.

    Donaldson said he talked with the people writing the script and that they favorably impressed him. Apparently, they are trying to find good funding and all that to make a nice movie. But everybody knows how Hollywood works…

    I, for one, hated “I, Robot”. It detracted from everything the old man held dear about the robots and failed to impress in any level. But I see you point. I just don’t believe it will happen that way with the Chronicles.

  8. For an interesting ‘review’ of I, Robot, see today’s Bleat by James Lileks. Says it all really. Shows why you can’t trust Hollywood to make a decent adaptation, LotR being an exception where, from what I gather, the studio kept a hands-off approach to the film. Oh, skip past the first half about the bloody nose…

  9. Ass clown?? my, aren’t we the vulgarian this morning (or last night…whichever..I digress) however I have to agree with your point. It’s going to be really tough to get hollywood to make a hero character that rapes a young girl, abandons his wife, and is filled with enough self loathing (leper, unclean) to make Roseanna Barr (whatever her last name is…) go “dude, seek some help”. And if you take that out, you miss the point of the eventual conversion of him to a for real good guy. Add in Donaldson’s metaphysical mental wandering about the nature of good/evil god/satan the universe and it’s right up there as a movie with battlefield earth… And we all know how well THAT did…

    doug

  10. Sorry Fred, I meant each book is roughly the same size, page-wise, as LotR. Each book is also more challenging to read.

    What’s wrong with @$$-clown? I censored myself didn’t I? ;)

  11. Hmm…guess you missed the fish called wanda reference…(as in “You’re the vulgarian you f%$^. Now apologize.” see? otherwise, it doesn’t bother me at all (of course you know how hard it is to offend me verbally (evil grin)… I sometimes you a#$-clown, that or a@#-hat or nice words to use in a pinch…at any rate, my point in my original post was that you could just get a roomful of drunken monkeys to write a script that would be just as good as any film adaptation of the covenant (ur-lord) books.. it just aint gonna be any good..n’est pa?

    Doug (the vulgarian)

  12. The convent Books where really great (I waited 6 months for my local libray to inport them from Kent as they where out of print) but I feel I have to agree with JP, I don’t see how they will make them into a film as the issues and depth is too hard for a film to capture. Maybe I just lack faith in the medium of film? :-$

    Good luck to them, and if they pull it off I’ll go and see it.

  13. lord was there a sentence in there? What was ‘too long and as far as [you] understand too boring’? The Covenant series? I think you should form your own opinion rather than relying on the views of others either way – read one then decide if its boring or not.

  14. Although I am a tad bit afriad of what might happen if the books are adapted to the screen, I also can’t wait to see the movies (should ther appear). I have been a huge fan of this series ever since my father shoved it under my nose to read and even if the movie tanks (which I pray it won’t) I would go to the theatre to see it and then later go to the store to buy it. Thomas Covenant is amazing and my personal favorite antihero.

  15. ha, Saturn…… any chance it can be edited please cos now im worried. im happy with the idea of film adaptian but as what has been said…. ITS GOING TO BE A LONG FILM… still confused as what they are going to be doing. is it an adaptian of the first chronicles or all three? hmmmm.

  16. I was only wishing for a Lord Foul’s Bane movie to display the Unbeliever’s supremecy in comparison to Lord of the Rings.

    The fact that Lord Foul’s Bane has “challenging subject matter,” would of course force Hollywood to make it a “thinker.” Which, as far as I’m concerned, would make it much better than the “THERE’S THE ORCS! GET THEM!” we saw in all three LOTR movies.

    I was very disappointed to read the latest news on the Lord Foul movie on Donaldson’s site.

  17. I was wondering what Ian was talking about, so I searched Donaldson’s site and found…

    “The producers who optioned “Lord Foul’s Bane” have tried everything they could think of, without success. Now their option has expired, and they have declined to renew it. Bury it now, folks, ’cause it’s dead.” (01/29/07)

    A web search doesn’t turn up anything for the company mentioned in some of his postings, “Revelstone Development”. As he points out, they had the ideas, etc., but did not have money, a studio, etc. Looks like Lord of the Rings may have killed Lord Foul’s Bane!

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