Thursday, 7 April 2016

Film Adaptations

The discussion of film adaptations of books is something that comes up a lot around the tea station. I've never really understood the argument that a film adaptation is ALWAYS worse than the book. I love seeing my favourite characters come to life, so I thought I'd figure out what everyone's problem is with on screen representations.

1. The character doesn't look like they do in the book
.The Character is fictional, even animations are artist interpretations, by committee, of what the character should look like. But casting directors work really hard to get as close as possible to the character description AND find an excellent actor to portray the character. Little details like, Daniel Radcliff doesn't have green eyes are such tiny complaints, Sure he's meant to have his mother's green eyes, but the important thing is that he was the right ten year old for the job. GET OVER IT PEOPLE.

2. They left out a huge chunk of the plot!
Did they though? Again , another Harry Potter example: Did we really need four hours of real time representation of Hermione's fight for the liberation of the house elves in the Goblet of Fire? No, I'm okay with some of those details not being there. Mostly the characters ended up  where they are supposed to at the end, if one thing is changed or adapted slightly, I really have no problem with it.

3. Movies don't provide the whole picture.

Yes, but when I watch something where they've skipped a detail, I often feel smug thinking: Ah, well he only did that because of the relationship to his father blah blah origin story. Those who have read the book get to fill in the blanks while the rest of the plebs enjoy watching the interaction between characters. 

4. They ruined my favourite quote!

Now here, I agree. I think movies dumb things down sometimes, particularly with more modern adaptations (the tragedy that is Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightly.) It's done to make sure everyone understands what's happening but: ‘I love you… most ardently, please do me the honor of accepting my hand’ is nothing in comparison to the heart wrenching language of Austen: “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” FAIL screenplay writer, FAIL. Mostly however, they get it right and keep the gems that fans loved in the books: "okay? okay." - The Fault in Our Stars.

5. You're buying time.
Forgive me I cannot remember who said this. But the reason people keep buying books is because you're not just buying the book for the story, you're buying the time that you will need to read the book. you're buying leisure and relaxation and long train rides and early mornings. Films don't really have that same appeal because you absorb them in a matter of hours, truncating your enjoyment. For that reason...yup books win this one.

I enjoy movies. I always have. I probably enjoy them about as much as I like to read books, although books tend to make a more permanent stamp on my life, the merits of a good movie or TV adaptation does not upset me. Life is too short to moan about the adaptation ruining your favourite book. If it's your favourite, find the positive things you liked about the book in the film. Sure the movies get it wrong sometimes, like in the case of bad special effects ruining a scene. But then again bad writing can easily ruin a book... but that's another blog.

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