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“Too Bad The Movie Sucks.”

When I heard that The Bridge of San Luis Rey 2004 film starred Robert Deniro, Kathy Bates, Gabriel Byrne and Harvey Keitel, I immediately added it to my to-watch list. Quite a cast.

The book lends itself to a great story that could be a powerful film. That’s why I was surprised when I saw all the poor reviews.

And it’s not just critics. Regular people like you and me hate it too. Misty, a commenter on this blog, had this to say about it:

Definitely don’t watch the 2004 movie – unless of course you want something to mock. Our group chose to watch it after we finished the book… and I laughed myself silly!

After reading her thoughts, I thought that maybe the film just wasn’t her cup of tea. But it’s widely disliked. Consider this review from Rotten Tomatoes, which gave the film 4% on its Tomato Meter:

Despite an all-star cast and some impressive visuals, The Bridge of San Luis Rey is a lifeless, slow-going adaptation of Thornton Wilder’s classic novel.

Other reviews say:

Best characterized as an honourable folly. –Liam Lacey

The Bridge of San Luis Rey is a beautiful movie. The film’s shooting locations are exquisite. The sets are stunning. The costumes are gorgeous. The actors are superlative. Too bad the movie sucks. –Brandon Fibbs

How to turn an embarrassment of riches into an embarrassment, period. –Walter Chaw

The worst film of the year… a fraud of the highest order – Chris Cabin

The Bridge of San Luis Rey raises an important philosophical question: Is it better to fall to one’s death from a rickety rope bridge overlooking a deep gorge or watch this miserable movie about several people sharing that awful fate? – Tom Keogh

As a director, McGuckian is overwhelmed by the immensity of her cast, and her misguided attempt to make a Hollywood epic on a European production budget. –Peter Howell

So, um, I guess I’ll be passing on this film.

I think this is a great example of the inherent difficulty in turning a novel into a screenplay.  You can have amazing Pulitzer Prize winning material in the book and totally botch the movie.

This movie had everything working for it—impressive visuals, incredible cast, wonderful story, and somehow the director turned the film into one big bore—if you are to believe the reviews.

That’s too bad.

Has anyone been so unfortunate as to have seen this film?

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14 Comments Post a comment
  1. I felt exactly the same way about the horrible 2012 movie adaptation of the outstanding 2010 classic, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

    That’s right. I mentioned Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter on your classy 101 blog.

    Like

    July 24, 2012
    • As long as you don’t mention the Jane Austen zombie book.

      Like

      July 24, 2012
      • @ the Jane Austen zombie book…No problem at all! More on topic…I wanted to see this movie (usually I do not check out reviews before watching a film). But now you’ve got me doubting.

        Like

        July 24, 2012
      • Excuse me but Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was hilarious. Abe was better because somehow it was weirdly believable. But Pride and Prejudice was freaking funny. As a matter of fact, I highly recommend you read it when you’re done with these 101 books of morbidity. It’s the perfect antidote.

        Like

        July 25, 2012
        • Oh, you know I jest. I haven’t read either. I’ll take your advice, though. One day I’ll get around to it!

          Like

          July 25, 2012
          • I know it but trust me you’ll need some stupidity when you’re done with this mission

            Like

            July 25, 2012
        • Melissa @ Swamp of Boredom #

          I thought P&P&Z would have been much better if Grahame-Smith had taken a few more liberties with the source material. He literally dropped fight scenes in the middle of Austen’s prose, which made them stick out horribly. It would have been much better – though decidedly more difficult and time consuming – to rewrite the novel. I love the idea of Elizabeth and her sisters as ass kicking zombie ninjas, but Grahame-Smith failed in the execution, IMO.

          Like

          July 25, 2012
          • I thought that’s what made it really out there funny. it was crude like zombies 🙂

            Like

            July 25, 2012
  2. I am glad I could spare someone else the pain of this film.

    Like

    July 24, 2012
  3. I’d always watch it myself to find out whether the critics are right 🙂 And if they weren’t, you could dwell on the question why you, unlike everyone else, liked the film ;-)))

    Like

    July 25, 2012
  4. Agreed with poster, it’s very hard to accurately adapt a book to a movie. I think that the viewer has to come into the movie expected a totally different entity. I don’t think I’ll watch this, to be honest.

    Like

    July 30, 2012
  5. I saw the movie when it was in theaters, back when I was in high school–so take this for what it’s worth–but I remember liking it. In fact, it’s what got me to read the book.

    Like

    August 1, 2012

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