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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?

  • The different approaches to book adaptations and the merits or detriments of shifting the medium of a story would definitely be an interesting topic. Another possible aspect of the topic would be the question of whether a movie or an episodic show is the most effective format, whether this is case specific, and what sort of plots and subplots lend themselves to short or long form cinema. – Quodlibet 2 years ago
  • Movies and books are two extremely different mediums with unique characteristics, potential benefits, and potential barriers. Consider this example: In the book Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, there are several significant internal monologues. In my opinion, one of the most substantial ones is Alice's internal monologue while questioning her own identity (inside the rabbit hole); however, I was unable to locate a single movie that featured this internal monologue. In a novel, a character could typically have an internal monologue for a whole chapter, or even more, but in a movie, it would be disastrous. In light of this, I believe the questions to be asked are: Which elements should be removed in order to make room for the new medium? What elements need to be modified to take advantage of the new medium's potential? etc. The issue is not whether there should or shouldn't be disparities between the two - because there will always be disparities between the two; rather, it is how to implement these contrasts without compromising the book's basic concepts and takeaways. – Samer Darwich 2 years ago
  • The benefits of a series format compared with that of a film would definitely be an interesting topic. In my opinion one of the interesting examples to explore would be the adaptation of philip pulman's series 'his dark materials' and how the movie compares to the HBO series. Whils both effectively translate the novels into another format, both fail where the other succeeds. For example the HBO series is more detailed and has better pacing whereas the movie has a tone that is similar to that of the books. Another example is all quiet on the western front which has been adapted into a television sereis and two different movies, the most recent havign been released this year. I'm sure some interesting comparisons can be drawn between the different adaptations that would help furthere develop this topic. – Matilda 2 years ago
  • The debate of making a successful book to movie adaptation is great to engage in. There first needs to be an acknowledgement that there ate two different mediums and depending how abstract or explicit, its down to directors' and writers interpretation the book. – ml22370 2 years ago
  • I think that books do more intense and detailed descriptions of the story. But the adaptation of a book to the movie is really good as not all can read books but most people watch movies tho! – dancingnumbers 2 years ago
  • I think the recreation of famous stories in film can be a really beautiful thing and gives more options of accessibility for a wide range of audiences. Although I can agree that film adaptations can be missing the "spark" of the novel, there will always be different versions that exist. A recording of an audiobook with a different voice actor than the original recording will have nuances and tone that transform the story, just as a movie will create a slight variation of the original tale. Within these changed adaptations we can add new, modern factors to elevate relatability and relevance to modern society, such as increasing diversity (which is always a good thing). – tayloremily29 1 year ago
  • A lot of this has with the personal connection to the material. I remember hating the Watchmen film when it came out. I was not familiar with the material and I remember not feeling invested in any of the characters - I left the cinema about half way through (the only other time I did that was in Batman and Robin). Friends of mine who I trust and are familiar with the source material loved it and it felt to them like a very accurate representation. There is also the nature of time passing to consider. Perhaps a piece of literature is twenty years old (or more!) and has key elements that need to change to reach a contemporary audience - these might not be the core or 'the message' of the story, but they might be things that seem essential to some readers of the original material. If there were a way to judge the access of the new audience to the original authors intent, that might be something to look at. – ggmills 2 months ago
Taken by Beatrix Kondo (PM) 2 months ago.

Exploring the Theme of Fatigue in Superhero Movies: A Critical Analysis

This topic invites writers to delve into the portrayal of fatigue and its impact on superheroes in movies. From physical exhaustion to emotional burnout, explore how fatigue is depicted in superhero narratives. Analyze the storytelling choices, character developments, and the overall representation of fatigue, and discuss its significance in shaping the superhero genre. Consider the influence of real-world issues and societal expectations on these portrayals. Additionally, examine how filmmakers address the challenge of keeping superhero narratives fresh while acknowledging the toll that constant heroics may take on these iconic characters.

  • It might be helpful to discuss the fatigue audiences might feel after being exposed to so many near back-to-back superhero films. – WriterMan1 5 months ago
  • Interesting topic! I'd recommend for the topic taker to research what fatigue does do the body and then tie that to how that might extrapolate to a superhero based on their powers and how that would potentially compact things. – Siothrún 5 months ago
  • Branching off of what others have said, I believe a reference to other film waves for comparison along with what made Superheroes so much more overwhelming for the audience. – Sunni Rashad 2 months ago
  • One of my favorite topics to talk about honestly. The end of the article needs to talk about what is being done to potentially turn this around and fix the fatigue that has been brought upon audiences. Both DC and Marvel have changed things to fight this, so it needs to be mentioned that there is some hope for this genre. – Starlight18 2 months ago
  • I detect actually two different levels of meaning, or two different topics even, in this proposal. The fatigue felt by the film making industry as well as the audience from constant exposure to superhero films and characters, and solutions taken - this is one topic, dealing with the world outside the films. A second topic lying within these questions is related to the inner world of the hero, within the narrative world of the story. Fatigue is perhaps one of many outward signs of the flaws or limitations of a heroic character. This topic could be explored more broadly in terms of how super heroes are defined; what qualities make them superheroes, and what expectations do they have to meet; are physical, psychological, moral flaws etc - fatigues included - necessary ingredients for a super heroic character that attracts the audiences? – Lydia Gore-Jones 1 month ago

The Evolution of the Antihero

Analyze the progression of the antihero trope. How does it reflect changing social anxieties? Look at examples from classic cinema to modern streaming hits.

The article can be structured as a timeline first. Film Noir laid the groundwork, and TV’s prestige era exploded the antihero trope. Film Noir is a classic antihero breeding ground (cynical detectives, femme fatales, etc.). Another excellent point to cover here would be to highlight TV’s greater creative freedom and depth that allowed for more nuance than cinema often could. Now, I cannot think of all the classic movies, but some ideas do come to mind. Of course, there are many more examples to dissect properly.

40s/50s film noir has “The Private Detective” such as Philip Marlowe (The Big Sleep), Sam Spade (The Maltese Falcon) – world-weary, morally compromised, yet with an inner code. Then we had the “Femme Fatale” trope. Think Phyllis Dietrichson (Double Indemnity) – manipulative, uses sexuality for her own goals, challenges traditional female roles.

60s/70s Westerns saw a different breed altogether, I believe. First, you got the spaghetti Western Antihero, still relatable. A good example would be Clint Eastwood’s "Man with No Name" (A Fistful of Dollars, etc.) – self-serving, violent, but audiences root for him against even worse figures. Soon afterward, they were quick to offer more revisionist examples in cinema. There are many examples of this one but the main one is William Munny (Unforgiven) – haunted by past sins, questions the "heroic" myth of the cowboy.

Then let’s come to the 70s/80s. This is the neo-noir and crime thrillers age, kind of like an evolution. Travis Bickle (Taxi Driver) is the prime example here. Deeply disturbed but the isolation-amid-urban-decay is a point that almost every city-dweller can relate with, pretty much. Thelma and Louise covers women taking agency, breaking free, and similar concepts, even when it means violence. This is an early example of the female antihero, and worth highlighting.

2000 onward we have the TV/streaming age. Three examples here: 1) Tony Soprano (The Sopranos) – quintessential modern antihero – mobster, yet we see his family struggles and therapy humanize him. 2) Walter White (Breaking Bad) – from mild-mannered to ruthless drug lord, his transformation is both horrifying and strangely compelling. 3) Joe Goldberg (You), Villanelle (Killing Eve) – pushing boundaries, playing with audience sympathy

  • 2000s onwards is about 20 years not to mention the 90s where antiheroes were omnipresent. There's a lot of history for the writer to look into. – Sunni Rashad 2 months ago
  • This is great. Maybe the article could focus on some lesser known anti-hero from film as well. – jstern20 2 months ago

Screen Queens: The Influence of Golden Age Actresses

Audrey Hepburn, Julie Andrews, Vivien Leigh, Marilyn Monroe, and several other actresses are legends in Hollywood history. Although most are now deceased, these women have made indelible marks on their genres and the film industry as a whole. Most of these "screen queens" are in fact so iconic, one mention of certain films they starred in brings that actress to mind. Some have played roles so well, their names are inextricably linked with their characters, to the point that some viewers believe no one else could ever fill that actress’ shoes.

Compare and contrast 2-3 of these "screen queens," or others you might think of. What did they bring to iconic roles that arguably, no one else could? What did their presence do for Hollywood history, and what changes did they precipitate? Can any of today’s actresses hope to live up to these women, and are there in fact "modern" versions of them today? If yes, do the modern actresses do their forerunners justice?


    What Makes a Good Video Game to Film Adaptation?

    From Tomb Raider (2001, Angelina Jolie) to Sonic the Movie (2020, Jim Carrey), there have been quite a few games likewise adapted into movies, though to varying degrees of failure or success. Tomb Raider was somewhat considered a flop when it first came out, and it currently has a 5.8 on Imdb: (link) a 20% on Rotten Tomatoes from the critics, and a 47% by audiences: (link) and a 33% on Metacritic: (link) though some consider it underrated: (link) By contrast, the Sonic the Hedgehog movie had a 6.5 on Imdb: (link) a 63% critic rating and a 93% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes: (link) and a 47% on Metacritic: (link) The success of the Sonic movie garnered it not one, but two sequels.

    The topic taker should analyze the trends of adapting a video game to a movie, including the history of it, and what makes so many of the adaptations fail. The topic taker should really dive into what made good video adaptations good and see what trends their analysis reveals. The topic taker may also consider the future of video game to film adaptations and whether they think there will be more successes or failures as well.

    To help the topic taker, consider looking into the following films to start forming trends based off their reception via reviews/to start forming the history of video game to film adaptation as they see fit:

    Tomb Raider (2018) in order to compare/contrast it with the 2001 film
    Sonic the Hedgehog 2
    Detective Pikachu
    Prince of Persia: Sands of Time
    Assassin’s Creed
    Super Mario Bros. (1993)
    The Super Mario Bros. the Movie (2023) to contrast with the 1993 adaption

    • This is a really interesting topic and one that is very relevant. I've heard from a variety of different articles/sites that video games adaptations are popular in Hollywood right now. – Sean Gadus 4 months ago

    Troy: The Lack of Divine Existence in Film

    While Ancient Greek tragedies loved to have divine characters speaking on the stage, modern movies seem to hesitate a lot. In the movie Troy (directed by Wolfgang Petersen and written by David Benioff,) no deity appears on the battlefield despite the exciting descriptions of their fight in Homer’s epic. Similar things happen in other movies based on mythology. For instance, Aphrodite never appears in the Argonaut movies, although she is quite important in the epic.
    What might be the reason for this phenomenon?

    • I think this could be explored with other films of the era in a similar vein. What was the cultural shift that removed divinity from films based on myths and how can it be analysed. – Sunni Ago 4 months ago

    Anakin Skywalker vs Darth Vader: Character Development in Reverse

    Many Star Wars fans consider Anakin Skywalker effectively a different character from Darth Vader. However, analyzing Anakin’s character progression from Jedi to Sith can be very interesting, especially depending on viewing order. For fans of the original trilogy, the prequels’ portrayal of Anakin may have been startling. On the other hand, a chronological viewing, especially one that includes the Clone Wars series, may depict a slow but steady character arc for young Skywalker with a tragic but inevitable conclusion.

    Compare and contrast the two characters. What traits of Anakin’s remain in Darth Vader, and how are they portrayed differently? Where do we see traits of Darth Vader peeking through in Anakin during the prequel era? Does this change how we see other heroes and villains, like Luke Skywalker or Kylo Ren, and even characters from other franchises?

    • Regarding the aspects of Luke and Kylo, it might be useful to look at things that used to be canon in Star Wars, but are no longer. What comes to mind is the comic that likely inspired the Ben Solo in the new trilogy. – Siothrún 5 months ago

    Duality in horror, and the ending of Peele's 'US'

    Duality (doppelgangers, alter egos) is a common theme in thriller/horror texts and films. This goes as far (or further) back as the Victorian period (Dracula and Van Helsing as mirror images/Jekyll and Hyde), and continues today (The Nun, Valak and Sister Irene as foils to each other/the twins in Malignant).

    ‘US’ (2019) deals with doppelgangers – every citizen has one, and these ‘Tethered’ counterparts live in dire poverty in the tunnels beneath the city. They are ‘savage’ and ‘monstrous’, unlike their peers who live among us.
    Peele’s film has strong themes of class and social inequality.

    The ending, however, reveals that the protagonist of the film was never one of ‘us’, but in fact a tethered doppelganger who had switched places as a child. Unlike the rest of the Tethered, she speaks and moves fluently, behaving ‘civilised’ as opposed to ‘savage’.

    There is clear commentary in this twist of how the environment and social upbringing of an individual can create a stark contrast in how their identity, behaviour, and habits are formed: The protagonist turned out so different from the rest of the Tethered, only because of the economic and social support she recieved as she was brought up.

    How does this twist impact the themes of duality present in horror and thriller genres? Does it make us reflect differently on the monstrous villains we see in Michael Myers or Dr Hyde? Does it make us reconsider their motivations?
    Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde/The Unborn, for example, are strongly contextualised by economic and political commentary.