Luanne’s Thoughts on Bag of Bones

Artistic License: Take it? Or Leave it?

To quote River Song, “Spoilers.”  I now know what Final Fantasy fans felt like when the movies came out.  I always enjoyed those movies, because I didn’t play the Final Fantasy games.  Now, don’t navigate away from the page, my parents couldn’t afford a console system, so it wasn’t completely my fault.  If you’re reading this blog, you’ll know that I just finished the novel Bag of Bones in preparation for the miniseries.  Having read the book recently enough to remember most of the details, I was severely disappointed with the miniseries.  As a standalone, it would have been amazing.  The cinematography was great, it was action packed (well, the second night anyway), even the special effects were surprisingly above par.   What woman wasn’t drooling when Pierce Brosnan took off his sweaty running jacket?  And guys, Melissa George, girl next door, need I say more?  But as an adaptation of one of Stephen King’s novels, it left a lot to be desired.

I wasn’t even 10 minutes into the show when I started writing down ways they deviated from the book.  When the miniseries was over, I had a ridiculous two pages of notes.  So I’m going to list them all here.  If I missed anything, let me know.

  1.  Jo Noonan was NOT hit by a bus.  This definitely made for good cinematography, but not at all true to the book.
  2. During Mike’s first dream of Sara Laughs, the windows do not break and he doesn’t see Kyra Devore.  It’s this dream that prompts him to call Bill Dean.  In the miniseries, Bill Dean calls Mike.
  3. There are no sunflowers growing out of the porch.  In the book, these are a major piece of symbolism for Sara Tidwell.  You make the connection when you see Jo’s painting of her, she’s wearing sunflower earrings.
  4. The miniseries really downplays the extent of Mike’s writer’s block.
  5. “Helo Mik” never appears in the refrigerator magnets in the book.
  6. When you first meet Mattie Devore in the miniseries, she is not in the Scout, she’s on foot.
  7. When Max Devore calls Mike after the incident in the road, in the book Mike is sitting on the porch drinking a beer and watching the 4th of July fireworks.
  8. Mike is writing on his laptop, not on the old typewriter “with the Courier ball.”  This became something of major importance in the book and he continues writing on the typewriter long after the end of the whole Sara Laughs ordeal.
  9. In the book, Bill Dean tells Mike about Jo coming to Dark Score to take possession of the owls.  He never mentions the owls in the miniseries.
  10. The owls are in the attic of the studio, not the cellar.
  11. In the book, when Mike starts researching the history of Dark Score Lake, the librarian shows him the handful of “history” books, but tells him they are non-circulatory.  On the miniseries, they’re in the attic with the owls.
  12. There is no mention of John Storrow in the miniseries until the connection between Kyra’s guardian ad litem is discovered.  Even then, John (supposedly) called Mattie, not Mike.
  13. In the book, Jo meets with her brother Frank about the tragedy that was Sara’s fate, not Mike’s brother, Sid like in the miniseries.  And I may have missed this while reading, but since when is Sid gay??
  14. “Sid down left” never appears on the refrigerator.
  15. In the miniseries, Rodgette punches Mike to knock him into the lake.  Max never touches him.  In the book though, while Rodgette still hits him, Max takes a swing at him with his cane as well.  The injury he sustains from Max is mentioned later on in the book.
  16. “Sid down left” becomes “Side Down Left” which is not the way this idea was portrayed in the book.
  17. The book implies that Rogette Whitmore might be Max Devore’s daughter.  This idea certainly wasn’t implied in the miniseries and in fact, wouldn’t have worked at all with the way the screen writer morphed Sara Tidwell’s curse.
  18. The miniseries named Sara’s band “her Slick Six” in the novel they were called, “The Red Tops.”
  19. In the miniseries, Sara Tidwell is the one who tells Mike that Max Devore is dead.
  20. In the miniseries, Mattie Devore doesn’t live in a trailer, even though Max says his famous line about her being so good in bed she “kept his son trapped in the little trailer.”
  21. In the book, Mike doesn’t attend Max Devore’s funeral, he is attending a BBQ at Mattie’s.
  22. Who the heck is Edgar White?
  23. In the novel, Sara Tidwell had a son named Tito, in the miniseries; she has a daughter named Kisha.
  24. In the novel, the entire group of boys raped Sara, in the miniseries, it was only Max Devore.
  25. In the novel, Sara’s curse was that all descendants of the original group would kill one child each generation who had a K-name.  In the miniseries, the descendants killed the female child of each generation.
  26. And last but certainly not least, there was no screaming other worldly fight between the ghosts of Sara Tidwell and Jo Noonan in the miniseries like there was in the book.

In conclusion, as a standalone, I’d give this miniseries four stars.  But as an adaptation of one of Stephen King’s best works, I was sorely disappointed.

Posted By: @MouseyLu

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2 comments on “Luanne’s Thoughts on Bag of Bones

  1. Pingback: Stephen King’s “Bag of Bones” is Now Available on Netflix | Stephen King Fancast

  2. I think I would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t read the book, but “more” is a relative thing. Rogette was so poorly played that there’s no way — whether I’d read the novel of not — that I wouldn’t have rolled me eyes and started chuckling when she showed up again toward the end.

    Ultimately, there were too many scenes that played out poorly like that. Including, sadly, the rape scene, which was not disturbing, but laughable. The non-actors playing the non-Devore youngsters had looks on their faces that said “Where’s the post office?”, not “Do I feel okay with my friend raping this woman?” And, to be crude, I had trouble focusing on anything much more than the inconsistency of Max’s thrusts. That didn’t spell “man overcome by desire for copulation,” it spelled “man who has no idea how to accomplish desired goal.”

    Pretty bad. Mick Garris, please: go fuck up someone else’s books. Stephen King, please: either stop letting Mick Garris fuck up your books, or quit bitching about Stanley Kubrick having done it.

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