Adaptation

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Published

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 9 months ago
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  • 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 8 months ago
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  • 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 8 months ago
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  • 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 6 months ago
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  • 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 6 months ago
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  • 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 months ago
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Alterations of the stories in adaptations

Media is always being adapted into other forms. Books to movies, movies to games, games to movies, and a plethora of other combinations. When this adaptation occurs, those who have seen the previous media go into the new form with a preconceived set of expectations, and a past knowledge of the storyline which is not always what is given in the second form of media. Take Guardians of the Galaxy 2, for example, and the multitude of changes noted around the internet that occurred to the aesthetic of the movie, as well as the story. Or the recent ending of Game of Thrones, where the last few seasons were completed before the book series, leaving a big grey area as to whether or not the author will follow the storyline of the show or take the novel in a wholly different direction. Are these changes within the adaptation good? Are they necessary? As well, for those who have seen the previous medium does this change provide a new experience to the original?

  • Another great example is Full Metal Alchemist and Full Metal Alchemist: Brotherhood. FMA was completed before the manga series and completely re-animated once it was done. Unlike Game of Thrones this example is much more positive, and I personally enjoy the take the first series did on the physics of the universe because it IS entirely separate. Is knowing what the author intends to do or not a good or bad thing? Does it lead way too much to catering and plot armor? – Slaidey 8 months ago
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What would happen if authors re-wrote novels the way directors remake movies?

Explore the way directors like Peter Jackson or Rob Zombie have made remakes of films that inspired them in the past (like King Kong and Halloween respectively), and discuss what might happen if this became as prevalent of a trend in literature. What if Stephen King rewrote The Lord of the Rings? Or Chuck Palahniuk rewrote The Great Gatsby? Why do film directors get this creative urge while authors seemingly don’t?

  • This has a relationship to Seth Grahame-Smith and his books on Abraham Lincoln and Pride and Prejudice both confronting zombies. – Joseph Cernik 1 year ago
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  • I guess many authors don't like their characters being re-written in a fashion they do wish to. This is one of the reason why many authors kill their characters before they are being incarnated in someone else's novel. Though it's a heart-wrenching move for the fans of the franchise, but it's a necessary evil to be executed so that the character is not re-written posthumously, after the writer's death. You can of course buy the copyright from the original writer. There is an author by the name of Tilly Bagshawe, who bought the copyright from Sidney Sheldon and has apparently written sequels to his books – Azira101phale 1 year ago
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  • Perhaps the fact that more passion goes in to writing a novel due to creating images with words and therefore more work is done to create these images. Whereas, with development in technology and the ability to visualize images there is always room for improvement with films. – Indigo Jones 1 year ago
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  • This would be an interesting thought piece, for sure. I think books have the advantage of allowing readers to make their own movies in their heads, so we don't need or want remakes as much. Each director can have his/her own vision for how a movie should look, sound, etc., and each one is free to portray that vision. This doesn't cover plots, though. If Stephen King rewrote The Lord of the Rings, it might end with Frodo cowering in a corner muttering "my precious" as Sam stands over him tearfully. As I said, an interesting thought piece. I would definitely enjoy reading this. – noahspud 1 year ago
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Explore how fans' (of other genres) anticipation and/or rejection of film adaptations may be tied to human biology

Is there a connection between the human bias towards visual stimuli and the way people react positively to the prospect of having something they love (a book, a video game, a comic strip, a play, etc.) brought into the screen realms of either television or movies? Conversely (or complementarily), is there something similar in the way people react adversely to having something they love "done badly" onscreen? Does the visual override other sensory inputs? other memory centers (be they intellectual or emotional)?

  • The question is about what connection there might be between humans being visual creatures in their cerebral hardwiring (biology) and their reactions to "seeing" something created in live action that they'd only before imagined or seen in non-moving pictures. It would be up to the writer to "narrow" the topic to include whatever genre(s) interested her most. – pjoshualaskey 3 years ago
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  • Your note provides much more clarity and sounds interesting. It was not as evident beforehand. The psychology and biology aspects are the gem of the topic and should take center stage. – aprosaicpintofpisces 3 years ago
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  • Thanks for your help in clarifying the topic! – pjoshualaskey 3 years ago
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Is the constant adaptations of literature into tv and film a hindrance for tv/film writers?

If we look at works which are both critically and financially successful we often see writers adapting previous works a la comics, books and in some cases films to tv (Fargo) Do writers hinder their own original ideas because of how an existing property is already ripe with ideas that can be changed or looked at in a different way.

  • Could you give some more examples of adaptations and specify according to type of translation to medium? For example: Sex and the City - TV to book to movie MASH - movie to TV La femme Nikita - movie to TV Wouldn't it be to a writer's advantage to get more mileage out of their ideas?The only written work I know of is SAGA, a comic book series that was specifically written so it would not be conducive to a film adaptation. Other stories like Spiderman were instances where Stan Lee chose to wait for the technology to do justice to his comics. I think it would be good to look at writers of novels or comics or movies that did not want to transcend the original medium in order to answer the question you have put forward. I hope this helps in what you are intending to answer. – Munjeera 4 years ago
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  • In response to Munjeera. The principle writer that has not supported adaptations of their work is Alan Moore. He has noted time and time again that the adaptions of his work are not good because of his own personal feelings on adaptation and that his work is designed for comic book (or graphic novel if you must be that guy) and with comics blowing up in terms of popularity his creation 'Constantine' is now a tv show without his consent and has no interest in exploring the class themes that the character was designed to explore. When it comes to novels to film successes there are countless, o name a few: Jaws, Blade Runner, Snowpiercer, any Kubrick. But there is a significant number of authors that do not agree with their work adapted to another medium. My question was whether this stifles writers, if a writer is constantly building off an already made work then do they limit their own imaginative works? – JChic 4 years ago
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  • Thanks for clarifying. I looked up Alan Moore and the topic suggested could be narrowed down to just on Alan Moore himself, a fascinating topic for an article. I would suggest writing about him and his work on this platform so that people like myself, who do not know much about him, can learn about his views. I only knew about him from "V for Vendetta." His beliefs and philosophies are definitely relevant to your topic and there is enough material to write a good article.Also Bill Watterson, of Calvin and Hobbes fame, successfully resisted all efforts to make his comic strip a movie. His dad was a patent lawyer so I am sure he was conscious of how his art could be exploited right from the beginning, an advantage that other artists may not be as aware as an "evil" they may have to guard against to retain their artistic purity. Watterson's rare interviews always touched on this topic. He is another example of an artist who eschewed financial gain for artistic integrity.If I am understanding you correctly, then perhaps the concept you are referring to could be how creative control, or lack thereof, affects the writer? When writers develop their concepts and these concepts are exploited, how does affect an artist? It would be interesting to learn about artists who do not sell out, create and protect their material in the original form. Let me know if I have understood you, at last. – Munjeera 4 years ago
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  • It also seems noteworthy that if a adaptation does not do well as a film, or in Tv, then then producers always look to the other one as the saviour. This seems to convolute the markets as now the original work has been adapted twice, therefore taken twice the amount of space for original Tv and film. – thomassutton94 4 years ago
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  • I think this idea is interesting because it's different from the typical "book vs. movie" argument. I would opt to focus on TV adaptions for sure. The first two series that come to mind are naturally "The Walking Dead" and "Game of Thrones," both of which tend to have vastly different opinions between the book/comic readers and those who watch the show. Something like that could be interesting to discuss. For example, when does "changing the material" take away from the original source? If you are looking into movie to TV adaptions, "Fargo" is an excellent example, along with "Hannibal," "Ash vs. Evil Dead," and, though the original movie was rather poorly received, the stellar TV series "Buffy the Vampire Slayer." – Filippo 4 years ago
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From Page to Screen: The Art of Anime Adaptation

What are the best of the best, and the lowest of low? Is there a wrong or right way to go about adapting manga? What are some of the logistical and artistic factors that sometimes lead an anime storyline away from its source material? Can these changes sometimes be for the better? Compare a few studios and their work, see how they vary, and analyze!

  • I think animes such as dragonball and avatar the last airbender needed to be compared to the casting as well as plot. Along with when it comes to either anime and manga need to be true to their story and plot I think. – cjeacat 3 years ago
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Cross-Platform Development

Movie adaptations of books is nothing new, but in this upcoming wave of entertainment we’re seeing behemoth projects being applied to development. Patrick Rothfuss’s "Kingkiller Chronicles" isn’t the first, but may be one of the largest undertakings of the new trend of multi-platform/cross-platform development.

In a statement from Lionsgate, who just won the rights to development:
The deal sets up the simultaneous development of movies, television series and video games with the goal to adapt the many stories across the mediums at the same time.

Is this beneficial as it enables fans and audiences to explore the story in ways that film alone could not? Is it a cash grab? What are the benefits and drawbacks of this new trend of development?

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    American Adaptation of Anime

    Analyze how the adaptation of anime by American developers has maybe changed the meaning or message of the original content. Such as how does the English translations of anime series change what the character may have meant. You could also look at how do the adaptations of anime into American film change the content, or if they do at all.

    • Great topic. I think you could also add how an American audience might view content found in the original source material. For example, Evangelion features Christian imagery and so Americans may find this content offensive or enjoy Evangelion more because it incorporates something from American culture. – Jiraiyan 4 years ago
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    Can You Make a Movie Out of a Gender Neutral RPG?

    Back in 2012, I heard at one point that there were talks about making a "Skyrim" movie, back when the game had been out for about a month or so. The talks didn’t last long. But, a big-budget, or even a small-budget film about "Elder Scrolls V: Skyrim" would still be exciting, and there are plenty of reasons why it could not only have a strong narrative, but a great cast, stunning visuals, and plenty of room to expand to sequels.

    However, there is one glaring problem with the prospect of a "Skyrim" movie getting produced: who should play the Dragonborn?

    Since you are free to choose not only your race but your gender when you start the game, how would you go about choosing the in-universe race and gender for the character, and then how would you choose the real actor to portray that character? Should you choose to cast a female actor in the role, in order to avoid a backlash from fans of the game who played through it as a female? Or should you cast a male, as the developers had clearly done for the cover art, posters, trailers, and the live-action teaser?

    It’s a very tough question to answer, and one that could come up when dealing with a movie version of any RPG video game that includes a character creation system.

    There are still doubts in the industry as to whether or not movies based on games can ever be any good. I personally think they can, since plenty of games have strong stories, deep in-universe histories, and engaging characters. It’s just a matter of getting the right director and the right amount of studio support. Picking the right game to adapt isn’t a bad idea either. So there are still chances for some RPG’s to be brought to the movie screen. And I’m curious to see if someone out there has a solution to this sort of predicament, or at least some good options.

    Should RPG’s with character creation systems just not get their own movie adaptation based on principle? Or, if they do, is there a way to handle it where both male and female fans can be pleased with who portrays the main protagonist?

    • I like the idea of this topic but I don't know if it should be a yes/no answer. I think it may be easier to write this topic if you weigh the ability of such games to be turned into movies. Instead of should it be made into a movie maybe it should be asked "how" will this game be turned into a movie. This way there is more to grab onto and write about. But I think this is a really interesting topic given the state of both games and movies today – DClarke 4 years ago
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    • That's precisely why I'm bringing it up, and why I asked the last question. This topic can and likely should be tackled the first of those two ways, just like you proposed. – Jonathan Leiter 4 years ago
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    • And yes, I agree that someone should find the best way to approach it from a angle that does not end with a yes or no. – Jonathan Leiter 4 years ago
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    How much artistic license should a director take when adapting a novel into a film?

    There are multiple different types of film adaptions of novels from faithful, to loosely based on, to only using the same title to draw in an audience. How accurate does the film need to be to the source text and how much artistic license should a director take for an adaption?

    • I think this would be a very interesting article to write as people are often very disappointed with films when they do not follow the plot of the novel and introduce new characters etc. Perhaps highlight the fine line between a director who is filming his own interpretation of a novel and one is using the skeleton story as the structure for their film, allowing them to include what audiences like (more action, more romance etc) – mpill13 4 years ago
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    • The author should also remember that being 100% accurate isn't always the best either. Changing mediums means drastic changes to content. Thats one of the many reasons the A:TLA movie was so awful, it tried to follow a season of the show in just over 2 hours of movie. – Cojo 4 years ago
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    • Derek Landy, author of Skulduggery Pleasant, once said that books don't make good films, films make good films. It's worth exploring that side of things as I do believe that he is quite right. Books and films, being two different forms of media, have different rules and expectations after all. – mattdoylemedia 4 years ago
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