Sometimes, adaptations are better than the source material

We bookworms grew up with the idea that "reading the book" was better than watching the film/TV version of it. In fact, if we ever messed up with that order we believed we were dishonoring our identity as literature lovers. The reality is, adaptations can be much better than their source material when it comes to making us care about the story. My personal examples are The Princess Bride, The Count of Montecristo, Anne of Green Gables, and Stardust. That being said, I invite you to analyse the elements that may influence how good an adaptation can be compared to its book predecessor: is it the change in structure, the plot pace, the characterisation? I’m curious about your opinion on this idea and if you have more examples that support it.

  • I totally agree that adaptations can be better than the source material. It only makes sense that the majority of adaptations would be worse than the original. Very few people make an original work without some sort of love for what they are making while anyone with eyes could tell that throwing the title of a best selling book on a piece-of-crap movie will make at least a sizable chunk of money. I believe that quality in any media will come almost entirely out of passion. As long as the person adapting the work has a vision for what they are doing and truly wish to add to the original or are simply making a new way for new people to enjoy it; there is no reason it can't be better than what came before it! – pastelnon 5 years ago
  • I very much agree with this, as I was one of those dedicated bookworms back in the day. I can identify with the Princess Bride example simply because that is a movie with a book that I would not necessarily be inclined to read because the movie was so well done. – HannahGrace 5 years ago
  • I completely agree; when I was young I would have rather gone to my grave than admit that there were movies that were better than the books they came from, or at least adapted really well. Out of your list, I completely agree with The Princess Bride and The Count of Monte Cristo; and especially the latter of those two. – aserraglio 5 years ago
  • Make sure you have a clear criteria for this article about what makes the films better. I would actually argue that Princess Bride Book and Film are different but equally good. Also I'd like to remind readers that William Goldman did the script and there are rarely books where the author has such a prominent role in the film making process. – Sean Gadus 5 years ago
  • As heretical as it may sound, Peter Jackson's "Lord of the Rings" trilogy is arguably the best example of a successful book-to-film adaptation, both financially and critically ("Return of the King" alone is tied for most Academy Awards won in movie history with "Titanic" and :Ben-Hur"). I feel the success of these movies also made the property more accessible to a much wider audience than the books alone. As culturally influential and rewarding as the books are, they are a slog at times for casual readers. This might be a good example to explore in this topic. – CulturallyOpinionated 5 years ago
  • In my view the "Deadman Wonderland" anime is in many respects better than the manga even though it was never finished. The problem with the original manga is that it had a lot of interesting concepts and characters but didn't necessary explore them to their full potential, and so some of them ended up seeming fairly gimmicky or silly. The anime took a lot of those same characters and concepts and refined them, making them much easier to take seriously and get invested in. It's enough to make me think that if only it had followed the manga's plotline to the end it would have been the superior work all around. – Debs 4 years ago

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