Friday, December 30, 2011

Patriot Games (Movie Review)

 When a book is adapted into a movie, the adaption can go different ways. On one hand, adaptations can be loose (take for instance the newest Sherlock Holmes film series. It has similar characters, but there are several differences). On the other hand, adaptations can exactly the same. Two examples I can think of are Dan Brown’s book the Da Vinci Code and Stephen King’s short story Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. Most people hope the movie is exactly the same as the book, so they can enjoy the thrills and chills by revisiting their favorite piece of literature. Yesterday, I watched an adaption of a book I had reviewed previously on this blog by Tom Clancy. The movie title, just like the book title, is Patriot Games!

The Story
When I reviewed the book I wrote a summary and I think I’ll quote it now as it still remains the same in the movie:
Patriot Games was a thriller about a former marine turned history teacher who has worked the CIA unofficially a few times. On a trip to London, he stops an attack upon the Prince of Wales and his wife by Irish terrorists. When he finally recovers from his injuries from his heroics, he believes this is the end of the excitement, but it is only the beginning.

Harrison Ford
There are a few major names in action movies, but few in my opinion come close to the talent of the great Harrison Ford. Perhaps best known for his role as Indiana Jones in all but the newest film (which is not as good in my opinion), Mr. Ford has this air of confidence which he seems to bring to the roles I have seen him in. I was delighted when I heard Harrison Ford played Jack Ryan (the main character of the story) and I must say I was not disappointed with his portrayal.

Other Notable Cast
This is a wonderful cast. For example, a forceful figure in the movie, Admiral James Greer, is played none other than James Earl Jones (you know Darth Vader’s voice among other wonderful roles). Also Sean Bean plays the role of Sean Miller (aka the main bad guy). I must say Sean as Sean Miller is wonderful and he really fits the role (although I have never seen him another role I must say he was good in this one). I must also give a shout out to the possibly youngest of the cast: that of Thora Birch who played Sally Ryan pretty well (even if she did seem older in this movie than she was in the book…). One interesting thing I found out afterwards in looking at some sites is that although this is a heavy irish character population in this story, only three actors (Richard Harris, Patrick Bergin and Jonathan Ryan) were actually irish. Weird.

Differences with the Novel
Although this is a good movie, I would say the book is better. It just seemed to me that they took out some important parts of the novel. I mean, I love Harrison Ford’s portrayal of his character as well as the rest of the cast involved, but there was just some things plot wise that I really missed. For example, in the novel all characters are important and have some sort of depth to them so you care for them when they are in trouble. However, when a British agent is killed its like, “ok. That’s nice.” When you read that scene in the book you had (at least I had) gotten attached to the character so it is sad when he is killed. Of course, movies can not give everything that books give in the way of details nor do they have the time to spend focusing on every little thing.

While I under the movie did have time constraints, I think it wasn’t as good without the presence of Buckingham Palace. I know the hero of the novel is American and this isn’t about the royalty figures, but I did miss seeing them. I mean, the way Clancy made Jack a knight and the fact they actually got to sleep at the Buckingham Palace were both really amusing, so I missed some bits of the story.

If you have not read the novel, then you will really enjoy this movie. They have a wonderful cast and the scenery was pretty. There are some details missing from this movie which fans of the book might miss, but it would still be a good movie.


Here’s hoping you never get mad at me,”
-- Samuel L. Jackson (as Lt. Cmdr. Robby Jackson in Patriot Games 1992 Paramount Pictures)

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