Tuesday, 6 April 2010
Yet another 'Read the book, see the movie' challenge for your viewing pleasure!
This story is a sci-fi classic, winner of the Hugo Award, made into a film six years later starring Dennis Quaid and Lou Gossett Jnr.
Set in the late 21st Century, a war is raging in space between mankind and an advanced, reptilian race known as the Drac. During a space battle two pilots; one Human and one Drac, are shot down and stranded on a barren, unpopulated world.
The book begins with the two meeting for the first time. The results are predictable with the pilots immediately trying to kill each other however they are quickly forced to put their differences aside as the numerous natural hazards on the planet take it in turn to try and finish them off. Eventually, after months of being stranded, it becomes obvious to them that no-one is coming to the rescue so they are forced to become more trusting of one another and eventually become good friends.
The book is less than one hundred pages which is fine but at points in the story I felt it would have benefited from more detail and character development but it is still a triumph of Science Fiction; interesting to read, funny and quite exciting in parts. The story is gripping if not entirely original (there are similarities with 'Hell in the Pacific') and you do genuinely care about the fate of both the characters not just the Human.
The film and the book are similar with all of the best parts of the book still in place however the story is altered slightly. Most of the changes are subtle and don't detract from the story but rather add more dimension to it. Characters are developed more fully and action scenes were added to break up the monotony of their lives on the planet. Considering the film was from 1985 the special effects are impressive particularly Gossett's make-up which much have taken a considerable amount of time to apply each day of filming. The most dramatic change was the ending of the story, it is quite a major new plot element and I must say I preferred the ending in the book.
One of my favourite elements of the story (which sadly did not appear in the book) is the terrible sand creature but I won't say more than that!
I would give both the book and the film 4/5 in total