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Dick Flicks [Sep. 7th, 2005|01:08 am]

This is what I miss about being up late.. seeing odd films that will never be shown at Prime Time.

So, I was watching a film called the Impostor, I'd just flicked onto it, but it took about half a minute before I realised that this was another one of those films that was based on a Philip K Dick short story by the same name. I can now add this to the list of Philip K Dick conversions that I've seen.

Of course, all of them are made after his death. Bladerunner was released only a few weeks after his death, but the rest of them had no creative input from him. Not that this is particularly a bad thing, I mean trying to faithfully convert Minority Report, which lasts all of 100 pages, into a full length film is difficult enough.

That said, one of the most faithful conversions I've seen has to be Screamers, which is based on Second Variety. Second Variety wasn't a long story at all. In fact it was quite short, but they managed to make that into a film without embellishing or filling in too many blanks.

That's what I don't like about most of the films they base on his work. Blade Runner was set in the world of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, but had very little to do with the plot in the novel. Deckard came across very differently between the book and the film.

Then don't get me started on Minority Report - it was a thoroughly enjoyable film, but it was set to a totally different plot. When you read the original short story, the twist is nice and delicate. The idea of the pre-cogs is good, but they're made out to be very different to how they are now. The one good thing was that while they tried to fill in the blanks, they got a writer who seemed to appreciate the themes that Dick likes to play with - self-preservation being a major one... It occured in the monologue of the woman who created the pre-cog system.

Total Recall I saw when I was young, and can't remember a damned thing about it... plus I don't think I've read the short story, so not so good on that one.

But this one was ok... it's a pity they had to work in the hollywood ending. Although it did show how they'd made replicas that still had a sense of humanity. However, the story is so short that most of the film was chasey-thriller. I.e. Chase and Hide. Actually, when I was watching it, a lot of the ideas reminded me of Minority Report, in terms of tracking populations. Come to think of it, they were released roughly the same time. I saw the twist coming a mile off, and thought they'd ignore the original ending, but they managed it well. Not the greatest Dick Flick, but certainly worth a watch when there's nothing better on. But they just tried to spread too little short story onto too much film. Still, not bad.

[User Picture]From: ebel
2005-09-07 10:25 am (UTC)
I'll have to read more of his stories and see thoes films.
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[User Picture]From: nanocreturns
2005-09-07 07:10 pm (UTC)
The thing about Dick, as you say, is he's very difficult to translate directly onto film. That said, I am sometimes infuriated by what directors and screenwriters do to his work.

Bladerunner is an absolutely fantastic film, but it is so completely different from Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep that they must be considered as separate Dick works on the same theme.

On of the things they left out was the replicant underground in Earth. The replicants had essentially created an invisible society in the depopulated cities that were completely unseen in the film. They also 'pulped' the main character into a noir stereotype, whereas in the book he was married, and kept a pet goat (whose death, and replacement with a less fragile electronic replacement was the principle source of the title)

(sorry if I ramble, I actually did an undergrad course on Dick in 2nd year)
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