I'm a novelist and content writer from Sydney who also loves gaming, reading, and doing absolutely nothing with my music degree.
Junior Contributor II
The Accuracy of Book-To-Movie Adaptations
Book-to-movie films (and—more regularly, now—shows) are especially common in young adult franchises such as The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, and Divergent. The first three Harry Potter films are some of the most beloved book-to-movie adaptations in history. The latter movies, while successful in other regards, were criticised (especially by book purists) for cutting out, altering, or ignoring large chunks of the source material. I have heard several fans say that they would watch a Harry Potter reboot if it was a high-budget streaming show that adapted each chapter into an episode, with the dialogue and plots and sub-plots remaining exactly the same as the books. Whether this would ever be done remains to be seen,
Movies face an issue in that they are limited in run-time. While there are long movie adaptations out there (The Lord of the Rings is a prime example), more commonly, they are cut to fit at a little over 2 hours. They prioritise entertainment and a streamlined story. Books can vary in length to a great degree—the first Harry Potter book was around 77,000 words while the fifth (the longest) was around 257,000. Yet the fifth movie (2hrs and 18 minutes long) was actually shorter than the first (2 hours and 32 minutes long). The movie arguably benefited from cutting much of the meat of the book, at least from an entertainment perspective, if not from a story and world perspective.
How important is it for the plot to be accurately represented in films, given that they are, indeed, adaptations of the source material and not direct translations? Is it enough for the characters and world to be represented with care and detail? Are fans right in complaining about inaccuracy and missing scenes in book-to-movie adaptations? What are some examples of book-to-movie adaptations done well, and done poorly?
Taken by Beatrix Kondo (PM) 4 weeks ago.
The Problem With Sliding Timelines in Comic Books
Major comic book publications DC and Marvel have been around for the better part of the century. In that time, the most popular superheroes in the world have been through a lot — far too much for just one life. Comic books use a sliding or floating timeline to allow characters to remain relatively ageless and storylines to stay relevant. For example, Peter Parker (Spider-man) debuted in 1962 and aged in real time for 3 years until his high school graduation in The Amazing Spider-man issue #28. Yet, nearly 60 real-time years and 900 issues later (not to mention countless other limited and extended runs), Peter is still a young adult. While engaging storylines can still be written in the ongoing Spider-man comics, some readers may find there is a limit to how far their suspension of disbelief can be stretched. Discuss the prevalence of the sliding timeline in major comic book publications and how it creates problems with continuity, character development, and reader engagement. Consider solutions to these problems, such as with DC’s ever-rebooting universe, the increasing popularity of standalone series, ‘Elseworlds’ and ‘Black Label’ stories, and limited runs.
The Art of Subtlety: Unravelling the Enigmatic Lore of the Dark Souls Series
Meticulously crafted by From Software, the Dark Souls games are infamous for their frustrating difficulty. But the real masterpiece of the Dark Souls franchise is its environmental storytelling, which forces the player to explore and deduce the narrative for themselves. Every way they turn, players are faced with bewildering dialogue, obscure item descriptions, and mystifyingly grotesque enemies. Discuss how the sense of mystery and confusion is integral to the Dark Souls series and how its unconventional narrative structure offers a distinct experience and has contributed to its cult status.
Awesome article! It made me love The Witcher even more than I already did. I appreciated the cultural and historical insights, too, I find that really interesting.
Thank you Zoe! I’m glad you could learn something from this article. Another interesting point that you raise is the concept of watching someone else play a game — it can be fun at times, like watching a movie, but if your boyfriend (or anyone else you play/watch a game with) is a completionist and side-quest addict, it can be frustrating, because you just want to watch the main story, and the crazy OCD gamer is wandering off in search of loot and collectibles while the world is literally ending (as has been conveyed to me by my girlfriend). Thanks for reading and for the kind words, and I hope you get to experience some more excellent games!
Hey, thanks for reading! I’m glad you learned something from it. I, too, (along with my sister), was a Nancy Drew gamer back in the PC disc days… While Nancy Drew games follow a more linear path, there are options to explore the game world, and those were my favourite parts too. My favourites games include ‘Phantom of Venice’, ‘Haunting of Castle Malloy’, and the one about shipwrecks that I can’t remember the name of. Definitely, it felt like we have some agency in the way we solve the mystery. Open-world games are just blown up scale-wise ten-fold, but some elements of the Nancy Drew games can be seen in more modern titles, such as the mini-games and the dialogue choices…
Do it. Return to the gaming world. 🙂
Thank you! I’ve always been intrigued by Black Flag — I’ve heard great things, seen some fun gameplay, and I love me some pirates and open seas. To be honest, maybe I was put off by my experiences with the later titles like Odyssey and Valhalla. I’ll have to give it a go one of these days. Personally, I think I was a bit late to the Skyrim train and it also never had a full hold on me, but I know so many people that love it, and they’ve successfully convinced me of its legacy, so maybe I’ll have to try again soon. Thanks for reading and for the recommendation!
Thanks for reading! I’ve never played the Fallout games but always meant to start (I own Fallout 4 but have sadly never had the time to get into it). I also own Far Cry: Primal but only played about an hour of it.
Definitely — with huge games where there’s always something undiscovered, you certainly are getting what you pay for.
I agree to a certain degree. Take Red Dead, sometimes that game’s realism gets in the way of players’ enjoyment. You try and immerse yourself fully and just end up spending the whole day fishing or camping and cooking… where that game shines, though, is when you don’t take it so seriously, and allow yourself to have a little fun rather than playing it as a Cowboy Simulator. Personally, I prefer fantasy games too. Give me magic and dragons and flying over cars and horses and walking.
It’s certainly not for everyone, but it’s significantly less annoying than its predecessors.
I love the choice-making too, it feels safe and like you are invested in the character and world. I’m currently on my 4th play through of The Witcher 3 and maxing out an OP sign build… I was a Witcher enthusiast for years before I started playing From Soft games — they drew me in with their game design, lore, and just the challenge you feel from getting constantly disrespected by enemies. Not for everyone and definitely incites gamer rage, but the high you get from killing a crazy-hard boss… oh man. Very different types of games. Elden Ring is definitely still worth a play if you like RPGs, but it’s a big time and energy sinker.