Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Michael Landon Jr. - He ain't no Pa.
See this guy? Do you know who he is? Well he's Michael Landon Jr., and all I can say about him is that he ain't no Pa Ingalls. Why oh why do I detest him so? Well although he followed in his father's footsteps and started work behind a camera, he sure took this idea of "creative license" to a whole new level. A LOW level, I might add. Now while ML Sr. did veer off the original books by Laura Ingalls Wilder in order to keep the TV show going for all those years, his son ML Jr. had to go and RUIN the my absolute favorite Christian pioneer book series by "trying" to make them into TV movies.
The series in question is the "Love Comes Softly" series by Janette Oke... the amazing story of Marty, a pioneer woman who at the age of 17, finds out her new husband of 3 months is killed while they are on a wagon train west and is left abandoned and alone near a small town on the prairie. That same day a man from the town approaches her and asks her to marry him, a marriage of convenience, in order for her to take care of his little 2-year-old girl Missie who doesn't have a mother. If at the end of the harvest she wants to return east, he will pay for her passage home, but she must take his little girl with her. Oh did I mention she's 3 months pregnant? Anyway, the book series follows Marty's entire life and how her situation turns out. I HIGHLY recommend reading them.
So this Michael Landon Jr. character comes along and decides to make this a TV movie. BRILLIANT I think at first. Now everyone can see this wonderful story evolve on film. So my step teen (a huge fan of the series) and I wait with great anticipation at the first airing of this show. The story starts out right on target. Things are progressing smoothly... then, something odd happens. Although the people have the same names and roles as in the book, they start veering from the story line. poignant and touching stories are changed and "slicked" over in the most annoying Hollywood fashion, to the point where by the end of the story, everything is MUCH different than the book. The way the book tells the story is very realistic, and it would of been no problem to relay it to film, but somehow ML Jr. decided to opt for the trite and predictable changes that make the whole movie not even worth watching! Matter of fact the second TV movie in this same series is so far off the story due to all the unnecessary changes that the only thing that remains is the name of the characters.
I realize that no movie can really be just like the book, some things need to be taken out because of time, or whatever, but to completely change what was already a good story, baffles me. So I guess this is another reason for people to get back to reading. Oh and here's a tip for all you would-be producers out there. If you're going to make a TV movie about an amazing book, you might want to try reading it all the way through before you start filming.