Talera vs Adaptations
Posted 18th September 2011 at 09:55 PM by Talera
So another book has been made into a film. Naturally you compare the book to the movie, but how do you decide if the movie is a good reproduction of the books?
A few friends and I have been discussing this of late. What elements do we need in order to provide the movie with our tick of approval? While initially I thought most of us would agree, given most of us tend to agree when a movie is a good version or not, I was totally incorrect.
I found my friends fit into three distinct camps when it comes to giving their assent, each camp desiring a particular element as their main attribute. I now understand with more insight why, on some of the movies, we haven't agreed.
The first camp I like to call the 'purists'. They want the book repeated on the big screen. They grumble when characters have their gender or ethnicity changed. For the most part they can overlook these smaller things, but they are tempted to yell at the cinema screen when Frodo is carried across the river. One of my friends who fits in this camp, in that very scene, stated 'they only did that to get the chicks more involved in watching it'.
The second camp, which by the way seems to be the one I am in, is what I like to call the 'spiritists'. Yes I am making up words, but hey its's my blog. Anywho, this group does not care if things are changed. We do not need things to be perfectly literal when it comes to converting the book. If we wanted literal we would simply read the book again because in our opinion there is no way a movie can capture everything. We know characters need to be reduced, there are practical considerations such as budgets and screen time. All we ask is that the 'spirit' of the book is captured and made larger than life for us. We know that even if a movie managed to be totally faithful with words, looks and events, it could still be empty. We know that while the closer it gets the better, as long as it has the same moral quandaries, the deeper lessons of the plot and the struggles of the characters then it is a good reproduction. We are less likely to yell at the screen when the movie annoys us, instead looking at our shoes. But we are more likely to cheer along and be swept up in the emotion of the film when the spirit rides high.
The last camp is the 'comfortists'. For this group it is almost as if knowing what is about to occur gives them a sense of comfort. While they are willing to have a certain amount of departure from the events of the book, they cannot abide too much of this or they squirm in their seat, just like a person being asked to do something outside of their comfort zone. Despite this, they also recognise that a faithful reproduction can be emotionally hollow, and require a certain amount of 'spirit' to engage in the film.
So which camp are you in? Have I missed any simply because I have not come across another group within my limited social circle?