Adaptation Smackdown: The Rum Diary

Posted July 11, 2012 by Michael @ Knowledge Lost in Adaptations / 0 Comments

I haven’t talked about an adaptation for a while, so I thought it was time to bring out another adaptation smackdown. The idea is to look at the book and then compare the movie and see which one was better or worth your time. I thought this time I will take a look at Hunter S. Thompson’s The Rum Diary which was made into a movie late last year. Set in the 1950’s this story involves a tangled love triangle of jealousy, treachery and alcoholism of the staff of a Puerto Rico newspaper.

The mediocre semi-biographical novel focuses on a very ill tempered, drunkard of a journalist. I was expecting something with a bit of excitement but the plot seemed to drag on and while hinting at a plot this book never really took off. So when it came to seeing the movie it was nice to see them really cut down the story to give a resemblance of a plot but like the book it still seemed to drag on way too much.

Advantages of the book

There are no advantages, this book drags on and there really isn’t any point in wasting too much time reading this book.

Advantages of the movie

Well for one, Johnny Depp plays the lead role and let’s face it, he is an expert in playing a drunk. Amber Heard is a beautiful and great actor but still she isn’t enough to pull this movie through. Other than that this movie feels a lot longer than 120 minutes.

Winner: No one’s a winner, unless you skipped them both.

Hunter S. Thompson adaptations seem to follow closely with the novels, which is good for books like Fear and Loathing in Los Vegas where you have a bizarre plot to read and watch but when you have a below average one, it really doesn’t translate well to any format. Now I’ve had a little vent about this book and movie, I might have to work on a new adaptation smackdown, so if anyone has some good suggestions, I’d love to hear them.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.