I blame it on Stephen King.
He writes this in the forward to the print version of the shooting script:
And speaking of tonal changes...sure, I like to make people scream, but I also like to make 'em laugh. Best of all, I like to get the readers of a story to a place where they want to do both at the same time. So far as I can tell, only the version of Dreamcatcher scripted by Bill Goldman (who also wrote the screenplays for Misery and Hearts in Atlantis) and Lawrence Kasdan has succeeded in transferring this emotional paradox to the screen....Wow! That's a serious compliment.
He goes on:
It's not my job to tell you why this particular adaption works so well. You have the screenplay in front of you, and if you haven't read the novel, you can buy an inexpensive paperback copy at your local bookstore (or take it out of the library, if you're a tightwad). I'll just say that a close and thoughtful comparison of the two will teach you a great deal about the delicate and difficult art of turning a complex 600-page novel into a film that runs two hours and ten minutes.In other words, read the book first.
I admit this seems like a lot of unnecessary work...and the resulting film wasn't even reviewed all that positively.
However, King convinced me:
At the risk of repeating myself, this is one of the very, very good adaptions of my work, and the book that follows is a valuable artifact showing how successful adaption is accomplished.Ah, now I see.
I should be more concerned about grasping the messy process of adaption, not just the end product.
Also, I should pay attention if King approves of someone else's writing.
After all, he's not been so keen on others:
Others - I'm thinking chiefly of Christine and Stanley Kubrick's take on The Shining - should have been good but just...well, they just aren't. They're actually sort of boring. Speaking just for myself, I'd rather have bad than boring.So I'm off to read the book first, and will post later this week.
Thanks in advance for understanding!
by William Goldman and Lawrence Kasdan
Adapted from the novel by Stephen King