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5 Reasons Tom Clancy Might Be Smiling at the New Jack Ryan Reboot

For those old enough to remember the Reagan years and Clancy’s peak years as America’s leading thriller writer, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit feels like a return to glory days.

by
John Boot

Bio

January 17, 2014 - 10:30 am
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Tom Clancy died last fall at 66, just as marketing was getting started for the new relaunch Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit.  It’s a pity he didn’t get to see the new film, because it’s a strong followup to The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger. Clancy was gruff bordering on insulting when it came to previous cinematic adaptations of his work, but the new film isn’t based on a Clancy novel — it’s an original story using Clancy’s agile hero. Here’s why the thriller author might have given the thumbs-up to how it turned out.

1. It honors patriotism and the military.

The new Jack Ryan, Star Trek star Chris Pine, plays a marine who joins the service in honor of the 9/11 attacks, which he watches on a TV set while studying at the London School of Economics. Hollywood can barely treat 9/11 with a straight face, but the scene in which the world changes for Jack, who remains respectfully silent as his resolution builds, is powerful in an understated way.

When Jack joins the Marines in response and gets badly wounded in Afghanistan, the director (Kenneth Branagh, who also plays the Russian villain) captures some of the feeling of dedication and courage that it takes to volunteer for combat, and also respects the agonizing rehabilitation process Ryan must undergo when he returns stateside.

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Top Rated Comments   
#6 No Ben Affleck.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (10)
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Why would Tom Clancy be smiling? All of "his" books in the past 20 years have been ghost written. Money for nothing, I suppose.
29 weeks ago
29 weeks ago Link To Comment
Sorry, saw this film Friday night with high hopes and found it extremely contrived and predictable. There may be some nice conservative views espoused, but I couldn't wait for it to be over. I'm sorry Mr. Boot but I have found that I usually don't like the movies you do, and I often like the movies that you don't. I guess we all have opinions. That being said, Chris Pine still showed skill and strength of the trade. I just felt it was wasted on a simplistic and pointless screenplay.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
OK, sure, again we have to demonize Putin and Russia. That's Clancy to a T. For him the Cold War never ended. It ended. It's over. Putin is not Stalin or Mao. He's beating the pants off the West and doing what is right for Russia. That's was upsets the elites in the West that can stand that the East is rising and the West is in rapid decline.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Some principles you got there, comrade zampolit.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
A British (Northern Irish) actor as the baddie in Hollywood. That's not exactly novel.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
#7. An age appropriate Ryan. Harrison Ford was far too old to play Jack Ryan in Patriot Games and Clear and Present Danger.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I admit that I am not at all familiar with the process of turning a book into a movie. I was extremely disappointed when I watched "The Sum of All Fears" and saw that the villains were a bunch of old, white, racist, South Africans instead of the arab terrorists as in the book. I just cannot believe that a writer of Tom Clancy's clout could not have prevented this cave to political correctness.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
I've heard it explained how this works, by Stephen Hunter. Hunter's a long-time (now retired) film critic, last at WaPo. Politically he's a conservative Dem who likes guns and has a lot of them, knows a lot about them. As an aside, when the DC sniper was doing his thing, the Post had Hunter write a piece about the shots that were being taken and the level of expertise involved that was much more knowledgeable than the typical journalistic effort.

Anyway Hunter (as a hobby) has written a series of suspense novels, and had at least one of them adapted into a film. His synopsis of the process goes something like this: the producers come to you, and tell you that your book is wonderful, it's brilliant, it's the best thing since Moby Dick or the Bible, they love it, they'll never change a bit of dialog, maybe edit out a scene or 2 but the heart of the story will remain completely intact, they love the characters, etc. The minute you sign the contract, they have complete control over the script and what's in it, and 30 seconds later they've thrown the book in the trash and they're changing everything. After a bit you're not even allowed on the set; if you're lucky they invite you to the premiere. Most of the time these days you get royalties, though that wasn't always the case: Winston Groom supposedly never collected a penny from Forrest Gump, because on paper it never turned a profit.

Hollywood's had experience with the other sort of movie, where the writer has control of everything. The worst example is Clive Cussler, who insisted on full control (to the point of insisting that his protagonist have blue eyes) and they wound up with not one but 2 very expensive flops, and endless lawsuits after the 2nd one. Not the way to turn a profit.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
Tom Clancy's books suffered greatly when being adapted to cellulose. Ludlum's Bourne books have likewise suffered, being turned into a long ridiculous political speechs with explosions.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
#6 No Ben Affleck.
30 weeks ago
30 weeks ago Link To Comment
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