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Adapting Stephen King’s Hearts In Atlantis: The 2001 Film Is A Dark Tower Movie Minus All The Dark Tower Stuff

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By the flip of the century, Fortress Rock Leisure had turned Stephen King motion photos into a various arena of interest. Clearly they weren’t the totally studio producing adaptations within the 1990s, and their library was once astronomical past their King-derived initiatives, but between Take hang of Reiner’s Inconvenience, Fraser C. Heston’s Requisite Things, Taylor Hackford’s Dolores Claiborne, and Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption and The Inexperienced Mile, the flicks without a doubt had predominant prominence within the catalogue.

The pattern of so many successful films generated an enormous deal of have confidence between Stephen King and Fortress Rock – which was once clearly fitting on condition that Take hang of Reiner named the company after the fictional surroundings of 1986’s Stand By Me (which is in accordance with the King novella “The Body”). In accordance with Tony Magistrale’s Hollywood’s Stephen King, there was once a standing deal in say that could well peer Fortress Rock Leisure beget the movie rights to a given story for the tag of $1, but King obtained director, script, and solid approval, as effectively as five p.c of the revenue from the very first dollar.

The energy of this relationship led on to the advent of director Scott Hicks’ Hearts In Atlantis – Fortress Rock having obtained the rights to the book of the same name true months after its e-newsletter in 1999. Academy Award-winning screenwriter William Goldman, who had previously written the script for Inconvenience, took a 2d crack at bringing Stephen King’s work to the huge display with the project… although the legacy of the closing product is rather more advanced.

Because of about a main deviations from the source topic topic, collectively with the removal of any and all references to the loved Sunless Tower sequence, it’s a cramped bit irregular to evaluate the book and the movie, but that’s exactly what I’m doing in this week’s Adapting Stephen King.

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What Hearts In Atlantis Is About

To this point as structure goes, Hearts In Atlantis is a various tome within the Stephen King canon. It’s a novel within the sense that the overall book is dedicated to the reports of a specific team of characters, but there is furthermore particular distinction between the five diverse sections, which read as four novellas and a transient story.

“Low Men In Yellow Coats” introduces the foremost protagonists – Bobby Garfield, Carol Gerber, and John Sullivan a.okay.a. Sully-John – as kids residing within the city of Harwich, Connecticut in 1960. The reports “Hearts In Atlantis,” “Blind Willie,” and “Why We’re In Vietnam” in piece designate Carol and John’s tragedy-filled journeys thru the latter half of of the 20th century, and “Pleasing Shades Of Night Are Falling” wraps up the myth with Bobby returning to Harwich as an adult for John’s funeral and reuniting with Carol, his first treasure.

The book fittingly opens with an iconic Peter Fonda line from 1960’s Easy Rider – “We blew it” – as Hearts In Atlantis is Stephen King’s criticism of his beget generation: the Toddler Boomers. Mammoth ideals and hopes of societal commerce from the center of the 20th century conclude in disillusionment and heartbreak, from the jungles of Vietnam to extremist movements in California. As the table-setter for the book, “Low Men In Yellow Coats” is a form of tragic coming-of-age epic that doesn’t peer younger Bobby Garfield beget his eyes opened to a interesting future sooner than him, but in its establish he previews the doable malice of adulthood.

In his essay about the outlet novella within the sequence “Stephen King Goes To The Movies,” Stephen King writes,

“Low Men In Yellow Coats” is the story of a boy’s awakening to the truth that adults are often fallible and once in a while cruel past belief.

For certain, darkness is accentuated in distinction to interesting gentle, and within the childhood of Bobby Garfield that interesting gentle is a mysterious man named Ted Brautigan. As he turns 11, Bobby meets the enigmatic center-aged man when he rents the apartment above where the boy lives with his single mother, Liz. She is straight away distrustful of Ted, but the younger protagonist develops a bond with the excellent stranger. 

Ted supplies Bobby a job that entails two responsibilities. The first is that the kid reads him reports from the newspaper daily… but that’s no doubt totally a duvet. The boy’s real mission is to abet an test up on for “low men” – seedy kinds who keep on mustard colored jackets and power round in flashy cars. Bobby is asked to take into memoir for signs of their presence, collectively with chalk symbols drawn on the bottom and upside-down misplaced pet posters.

These low men are on the hunt for Ted Brautigan because he’s no longer no doubt from our reality, but in its establish from Mid-World – the foremost surroundings of Stephen King’s Sunless Tower sequence. He is a form of psychic identified as a Breaker, and (without getting misplaced within the important parts) he is hiding in Harwich after escaping incarceration and enslavement.

Bobby within the initiating thinks that Ted can also true be a cramped senile and paranoid, but as he begins to treasure and treasure the truth his connection with his magical neighbor deepens. Tragically, on the change hand, it’s a friendship that Liz is without a doubt no longer ready to have confidence, and unforgivable choices are made when battle reaches a boiling point.

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How Scott Hicks’ Hearts In Atlantis Differs From Stephen King’s E book

Below same earlier conditions, I’d utilize the fragment above to furthermore listing the occasions that transpire in “Hearts In Atlantis,” “Blind Willie,” and “Why We’re In Vietnam,” but they aren’t in fact pertinent to this conversation. In adapting the Stephen King “novel” as a movie, screenwriter William Goldman opted to slender the scope of the source topic topic and focal point namely on “Low Men In Yellow Coats” – with the occasions of the capstone “Pleasing Shades Of Night Are Falling” being split in half of and molded into myth bookends. The general diverse novellas are left untouched.

For certain, these aren’t the totally cuts made by Hearts In Atlantis. While the book has deep ties to the Sunless Tower sequence, every single thread of connection is severed and excised within the movie version. Unlike Stephen King’s version, we don’t learn anything else about where Ted Brautigan (Anthony Hopkins) comes from, and the trances he goes into infrequently are left totally unexplained. There might be transient suggestion that he is on the lag from J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI’s recruitment of psychics within the fight against communism, but that’s as worthy depth as the movie supplies regarding Brautigan’s conditions and the motives of the low men.

Furthermore, Scott Hicks’ characteristic simplifies the low men to an shameful level. They’re featured as same earlier government spooks within the movie (ones that notably don’t keep on yellow coats), while within the book they aren’t even human, but in its establish otherworldly creatures who keep on disguises to mix in.

To this point as the indispensable story is raring, Hearts In Atlantis hits the astronomical majority of the predicament parts in “Low Men In Yellow Coats,” although there are some indispensable changes and omissions. As an illustration, the movie without a doubt no longer has Bobby (Anton Yelchin) read Lord Of The Flies as his huge introduction to adult literature and ambiguous endings. Moreover no longer featured within the book is the scene where Ted stops a team of bullies from harassing Bobby and Carol (Mika Boorem) by threatening to impart the leader of the tormenters, Harry Doolin (Timmy Reifsnyder), as a crossdresser.

Hearts In Atlantis furthermore creates very diverse endings for both “Low Men In Yellow Coats” and “Pleasing Shades Of Night Are Falling.” No longer totally does the movie reduce out the scene where Ted offers himself over to the low men so that they is no longer going to wound Bobby, it furthermore eliminates anything else about how the overall experience puts the protagonist on a cramped bit of a downward spiral. It cuts out how he ends up losing touch with Carol and Sully-John (Will Rothhaar) within the aftermath of his mother (Hope Davis) betraying Ted, and while Stephen King’s book has a scene where Bobby attacks Harry with a baseball bat in an act of vicious revenge, the movie turns it into a 2d of courageous self-protection.

As for adapting “Pleasing Shades Of Night Are Falling,” adult Bobby Garfield (David Morse) is soundless featured returning to Harwich for John’s funeral – but the movie doesn’t peer him reunite with Carol, who’s going by the name Denise following her involvement with a militant activist team to blame for bombing a college campus lecture hall. As a change, Bobby gets affirmation that Carol has died, and by pure happenstance he runs into her daughter (furthermore performed by Mika Boorem).

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Is It Suited Of The King?

Gazing Hearts In Atlantis, Scott Hicks’ ambition is spectacularly sure: his blueprint is to invent a standing Stephen King adaptation that is indispensable enough to face facet-by-facet with Take hang of Reiner’s Stand By Me (no longer to present the huge Fortress Rock hits of the 1990s – namely Reiner’s Inconvenience, Taylor Hackford’s Dolores Claiborne, and Frank Darabont’s The Shawshank Redemption and The Inexperienced Mile). The movie desperately wants to be even handed a coming-of-age traditional that audiences glance and relive their very beget childhood experiences.

The topic is that’s no longer no doubt what Hearts In Atlantis is, and the manipulation of the topic topic that is finished by Scott Hicks and William Goldman finds one diagram to drain any real which suggests from the story so that it true turns into a non-functioning nostalgia machine.

It all comes all the diagram down to what the adaptation opts no longer to embody, rendering the movie as the cinematic identical of an empty suit. It hones in effectively on the solid bond that is created between Bobby Garfield and Ted Brautigan (Anton Yelchin and Anthony Hopkins are both ultimate), and it grasps the battle that comes with Liz’s disapproval of their friendship, but without contextualizing Ted or taking part with Stephen King’s generational criticism, the movie has no substance and makes no influence.

Listening to the Hearts In Atlantis DVD director commentary, it sounds fancy Scott Hicks without a doubt no longer even heard of The Sunless Tower (he many conditions refers to Ted and the low men as “aliens” within the context of the source topic topic), and it’s understandable that the backstory was once deemed pointless for a standalone adaptation – but the topic is that the movie totally subtracts and doesn’t replace. Everything about Ted’s past and powers is saved ambiguous, and it has the enact of draining the character of important substance that makes him bigger than a random stranger who pops into Bobby’s lifestyles. In Stephen King’s beget phrases from his Stephen King Goes To The Movies essay,

Without the underlying reason for Ted’s fugitive space within the city of Harwich (which I obtained’t point out here lest I be stumbled on responsible of committing the dreaded SPOILER), the movie’s motivation first grew skinny… after which true disappeared.

Even without the Sunless Tower topic topic, Hearts In Atlantis can also soundless be a true adaptation had it maintained the cynical intent of the creator. It doesn’t, although, as there is in its establish the bigger ambition to originate the movie the following Stand By Me (it even goes as far to originate Will Rothhaar’s Sully-John take into memoir fancy a clone of River Phoenix’s Chris Chambers, the character first performing on display carrying an linked undeniable white tee-shirt and denims). The movie removes the total important anger and afflict in “Low Men In Yellow Coats” and the dreadful of “Pleasing Shades Of Night Are Falling” within the blueprint of generating an air of wistful memory, but it without a doubt’s no doubt true a generic candy-coated imaginative and prescient of the past – which, again, it’s without a doubt no longer supposed to be.

Hearts In Atlantis isn’t so worthy “contaminated” as it’s wrongheaded, and variety of a thriller given the creative vitality Stephen King was once given by Fortress Rock Leisure. I disclose the silver lining is that it’s no longer the nadir of the creative relationship, as the movie with that particular recognition obtained’t be the point of hobby of this column for one other month…

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How To Look Scott Hicks’ Hearts In Atlantis

For these building the Final Stephen King sequence, Scott Hicks’ Hearts In Atlantis is a broadly on hand movie… but it without a doubt’s totally on hand on DVD (no Blu-ray yet), which suggests your totally choice to glance it in HD is to head digital. The movie is presently on hand to trip on HBO Max. You doubtlessly can furthermore rent or rating it at most main online stores, collectively with Google, Amazon, Apple, and Vudu.

Coming up subsequent week, Adapting Stephen King has a various topic lined up, as I’ll be taking a take into memoir help on what’s so far soundless the longest running TV sequence ever made in accordance with a Stephen King book: the United States Network sequence The Unimaginative Zone, created by Shawn and Michael Piller. Stare for the characteristic within the CinemaBlend Television fragment subsequent Wednesday, and within the intervening time you might well possibly discover earlier columns by clicking thru the banners under.

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NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend used; without end mad about the profession he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.

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