16 February 2016

Movie adaptions

When people talk about things they like to see made into movies, I always ask: Why? How many good movie adaptions have there been?

Now I do not think that a bad movie adaption somehow ruins the original work. That has nothing to do with it.

Also, it isn’t that I think an adaption has to be exactly like the original. The needs of cinema are different from the needs of other media. I think the first Harry Potter movie is a good example of how staying too close to the text of the original can create a bland movie.

I does bother me when an adaption strays so far that it is no longer the same story. What’s the point in that? Take credit for your story and claim it as your own! Don’t be dishonest.

(The point is that it is easier to sell an adaption to the greenlighters than an original idea, but that doesn’t make it a good thing.)

It bothers me when an adaption fails to keep the spirit of the original. So many seem to even reverse the spirit of the original.

But, that those things bother me is not why I don’t get too excited about adaptions.

I don’t get excited about adaptions because they are so seldomly good movies. The best movies are the stories that—whatever their influences—are created for cinema rather than those that are adapted to it. Which ought to be unsurprising.

1 comment:

Will Douglas said...

The 1942 version of The Maltese Falcon (with Humphrey Bogart) was a good adaptation.

L. A. Confidential actually surprised the author, who thought he had written a book that couldn't be adapted.

But other than that, not much.