The Road becomes The Road : Another Pulitzer-winning Fiction becomes a Film (spoiler alert)

I’m concerned. Honestly, I’ve been concerned for a while, ever since I saw the poster for The Road earlier this week. It stars Viggo Mortenson of LOTR fame (featured in the poster with some kid playing his son – whatever, probably some secondary character) and Charlize Theron, of either Monster or Esquire fame, depending on what kind of person you are. Robert Duvall, famous for a bundle of things (basically for being Robert Duvall), is also credited. It’s being touted as being based on the novel by the same guy who wrote No Country For Old Men (Yep, that was a book. By Cormac McCarthy). Heck, said the filmmakers. Let’s throw Guy Pearce in there too. But, who will he be in a story about a man traveling alone on an empty-‘cept-for-bad-guys post-apocalyptic Road? Oh, you know. We’ll think of something. Welcome to the world of Movies. It’s not really the fact that there’s a confusing amount of characters in it, or even that Charlize Theron is in it, or even that the trailer looks uncomfortably like an action-based post-apocalyptic thrills-a-second gunshow type of film that may or may not involve aliens at some point. Although none of that is exactly comforting. I mean, I do like a lot of the cast. I do like that the filmmakers wanted to focus on the effects of the end of the world, and not the cause. I like that they picked one of the most bittersweet scenes (involving -what else? – Coca Cola!); and I like the way they teased you with brief glimpses of those emaciated, helpless victims (of what? of what?!) near the trailer’s climax. I mean, there are things I like. I may be able to get over the fact that they didn’t look nearly as dirty, dissheveled and sickly as someone trekking across North America after a world-decimating disaster should look (and does, in the novel). And I can be open to changing novels’ stories in movie adaptations, to better communicate the idea of the book in film. It’s not that I’m wildly irate that they may be taking one of the few books that I feel have changed my entire outlook on fiction as a whole and turned it into the next dystopian action-adventure. It’s not just that I get a wee bit annoyed when I see shots of Charlize Theron looking like she stepped out of a Maybelline ad, prettily concerned (you know, because that whole life and death thing) and wearing a cute powder blue knit cap (oh, right – nuclear winter) over her perfect hair. Will I be able to stand the fact that they massively expanded her character and I can expect to see a lot more of her in the film than there was of her in the book. Perhaps. You know, I may even manage to get over my fear that all this frenetic-editing and crashing-soundtracking in the trailer will undermine and distract from elements of the book; elements like the feeling of life now as one endless moment of pervasive despair, the image of vast and sinister desolation, and the hopeless, quietly ferocious, indescribable love for his son that keeps The Man’s character from pulling the trigger of their one-bullet gun in this absolutely promiseless world. It’s not about those concerns. But it doesn’t alleviate them either. No, what I really want to know is – Hey, big Movie Advertising Big-Wigs – you’re not marketing this as a cannibalism-driven horror-thriller, the next I am Legend, the next sci-fi-survival hit, the next Resident Evil ?! Guyyyyss, come on! You’re slacking. the-road-poster.jpg Oh, also: I will see it. Without a doubt, I will see it. I will see it as soon as possible, and I will hope to be blown away by the Awesome. If the powerful experience of reading the book has taught me one thing it will be this: be prepared to be touched (sniff). In expectation, I will clear my schedule for a good three days after that so I can be totally free for wild depression, irrationally strong empathy with fictional characters, and an onslaught of existential crises. That’s right: MULTIPLE crises. See? I give the benefit of the doubt. Wanna read the book? You do if you know what’s good for you – and your soul, and your heart, but perhaps not your temporary emotional stability – it’s a bleak read, trust me. But- Woo! Emotional stability be damned! Get it here. PS. There had better not be aliens.

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