Thursday, May 25, 2017

Mission Possible

by Alan

How do books you love stack up to their film adaptations?

I love Lee Childs’s Jack Reacher books, so, naturally, I was excited when I first heard that a Reacher movie was in the works. Then I learned that Tom Cruise was slated to play Reacher. For those of you who don’t know, in the books, Reacher is a big man (Maybe 6’5” and 250 pounds—I don’t remember exactly). For those of you who don’t know, Tom Cruise is not a big man (I don’t know his measurements exactly, but you wouldn’t confuse the two in a dark alley).

Now, I happen to like Tom Cruise (as an actor). I’ve seen a lot of his movies, and I think he does a pretty good job in most of them (Risky Business? Top Gun? A Few Good Men? Rain Man? Classics!). But could he pull off portraying the imposing Reacher? When the announcement came out, there was a lot of buzz within the crime-writing community, most of it disbelief. Being a Cruise fan, I reserved judgment until I actually saw the movie.

Verdict: I liked the movie. I’m not sure how closely it hewed to my vision of the Childs books (not only Reacher’s physical characteristics, but the whole movie’s worldview). In other words, if the main character’s name hadn’t been Reacher, I’m not sure I would have recognized it as coming from the books.

But in the end, I wasn’t disappointed with the movie. I haven’t seen the second Reacher movie yet, but I plan to.

For more of my thoughts about book-to-film adaptations, see an earlier blog post HERE.

One last note: I loved reading Clifford: The Big Red Dog books to my kids. I never saw the movie (and I understand a new Clifford movie is scheduled to be released at the end of the year), but I did have the pleasure of meeting Cliffy at this past weekend’s Gaithersburg Book Festival. (Clifford’s the one on the right.)


Me and Clifford


Paul D. Marks said...

I wonder what Lee Child thought of the Reacher movies and Cruise in particular. Do you know?

Alan Orloff said...

That's a good question (and I don't know the answer). I was in a group of people talking to him once and I did mention that I enjoyed his cameo in the movie. I think he said something to the effect that he wasn't going to be trading in his writing career for one in movies.