In case you were living under a rock that keeps you specifically guarded from news about the literary world, Gone Girl was a great big fat hit of a book when it was released back in 2012. Almost universally praised by critics, selling millions of copies and nominated for all types of awards, it was blockbuster novel. You couldn't get on a bus, train or plane without seeing a handful of folk hurrying through it, trying to get to the end and find out how it ended.
And that's precisely where it lost about half its audience. Some folk hated the way it ended (including entertainment.ie's own head editor Caroline Foran, which she announced when the news of the changed ending broke last week HERE), and some other folk, including yours truly, really dug it, though I know it was certainly not going to please everyone.
The book's author Gillian Flynn - who is also writing the adaption of the movie - told the world that she was pretty much rewriting the entire third act of the story, the naysayers seized this opportunity to rub it in our faces. "See? We told you it was a crap ending! Even the writer of the book is changing it for the film."
But that doesn't really seem to be the reasoning behind it here. Without getting into spoiler territory, the ending to the book is either very anticlimactic or perfectly muted, depending on your point of view, but neither of these opinions will translate well to cinema. Remember at the end of The Sopranos (SPOILERS!), when it looks like something is about to kick off, and then it just suddenly cuts to black? Well, it's not exactly that, but it is reminiscent of that. At the end of the book, after all the twists and turns, we're basically reading several chapters of Nick (to be played by Ben Affleck) and Amy's (played by Rosamund Pike) internal monologues.
It is, as has often been bandied about for certain novels, pretty much unfilmable. Director David Fincher must have known this too, as this is a mistake he has made before. He directed the English-language adaptation of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, which was a remarkable piece of cinema, right up until that dragged out third act with Naomi Rapace jetting around in her nasty blonde wig for what felt like forever. He's quoted to having said that he "may have been too beholden to the source material", and smart guy that he is, it's not a mistake he plans on making again.
So why is the changed ending to the movie of Gone Girl a good thing? Simple. Those who didn't like it originally will know get a whole new climax which they will hopefully enjoy more than the original, whereas those who did enjoy the original ending now get the incentive to be surprised by the new closing. Remember that this is an adaptation, an interpretation, a different medium being used to tell a story, and by being a slave to the original, there is a chance - much like The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo - that it simply won't work. Because really, who wanted the last fifteen minutes of the movie to just be Affleck and Pike narrating, but not speaking out loud? That wouldn't have been much fun to watch.
Anyway, even if you don't like this movie adaptation, Flynn has another of her books – Dark Places, starring Charlize Theron – hitting the big screen in 2014 too. Spoilt for chose, so you are!