As someone that grew up around two big Dan Brown fans (my mother and grandmother), the crazy puzzle-filled world of Robert Langdon is one that I am no stranger to. However, when it comes to his adventures on the big screen, where he is portrayed by Tom Hanks and is guided by the directorial skills of Ron Howard, I find myself at a bit of a crossroads. Yes, these stories are entertaining on the page, but within the movie adaptations there seems to be an issue – a disconnect of sorts that comes from the production as a whole and can be blamed on many parties.
Unfortunately, the newest entry into the series – titled Inferno – doesn’t fix any of those issues, and seems to lead further into the reasons why maybe Mr. Brown’s work should be left to enjoy on the bookshelves, instead of the silver screen.
For those of us who are too young to remember/know of Splash, let me tell you that it was a big deal. Granted, I was on the younger side of things when the movie was “popular,” but it still left an impression that changed my mind on what fantasy movies in live action could be like.
It starred Tom Hanks and a young Daryl Hannah, telling the romantic tale of boy meets mermaid, their courtship, and how they have to run away from the government trying to experiment on her. Though to a 2016 modern audience this movie might sound ultra silly, it (in my eyes) is a classic – one that jump started the careers of its leads (along with director Ron Howard) and gave Disney one of their biggest live action hits of the decade. So when news of a remake came about, I was initially skeptical at best – until some recent news surfaced.
As quite possibly one of the biggest Gaimain fangirls, I’ve been closely following the journey of American Gods from novel to miniseries to full television show. Neil Gaiman announced on his blog earlier today that HBO has dropped the American Gods tv show, and Freemantle has picked it up. This means that Tom Hanks is no longer attached to the production. I’m not sure whether that’s good or bad, but what I am sure about is that we all need to reset our expectations again.
Last June I got to see Mr. Gaiman speak at a book expo, and during Q&A, one of the questions he got was how the American Gods pilot was going. In response, he said he was very excited about writing it and that he had added so much new material that he always wanted to put in the book, and he couldn’t wait to keep adding to the mythology. He sent in the finished pilot. The response he got was, “Can you make this closer to what happens in the book?”
If HBO had done the novel adaptation, it would have been amazingly true to the book we all read and loved. With Tom Hanks in charge, I’m sure it would have been stunning. That being said, as a fan of not just the book, but the world building and the mythology Gaiman created, I am very eager to see if this new production team gives him the freedom so that we can all expand our American Gods knowledge. He seems to think his novel is in good hands, and I’m willing to trust him and see where this goes. I’d love for this book to get more exposure again.