Everyone has heard the ongoing arguments about which is better, the book or the film? The film or the book? But what is the right balance, if such a thing does exist?
Certain traits are different when writing a script than a book and there have been some wonderful adaptions, in fact I’d say most adaptions are pretty good, some of the examples of my favourites being The Godfather, American Psycho, the Harry Potter series and The Martian.
But why do some go wrong and to those who are right, what makes them so?
This is a really good topic. Being consistent with the spirit of the original theme leads to a gratifying rather than disappointing adaptation in my view. I hope someone writes this topic. – Munjeera6 years ago
Cloud Atlas is a really interesting example of this, as it changes the narrative structure of the story quiet a bit, but it does things well that only a film could do. For example the multiple cast member playing multiple roles works well in the film, but was not directly from the book. – Thomas Sutton6 years ago
I think adaptations nosedive when they become obsessed with the letter not the spirit of the text. The only way to successfully adapt someone else's work, in my view, is to be absolutely as fearless with it as the original creator was. An example of this is 'Prisoner of Azkaban', where Alfonso Cuaron understood that you cannot simply film a condensed version of the novel, as Christopher Columbus did. You have to change, add new things in, take old things away, until you're left with something which works as a FILM in it's own right, not just an adaptation of another text. Very interesting topic. – J.P. Shiel6 years ago
I think people are disappointed with the cinematic adaptation as it lacks the ability to express the complexity of the human psyche so remarkably described in these books you've mentioned. The unspeakable array of fleeting emotions is difficult to convey no matter how gifted the actor might be. In the book, the author provides the reader a glimpse into the mind and heart of the characters and places the reader in a superior position of knowing that less accessible through cinematic representations. – danielle5775 years ago
I consistently hear that the book is always better than the film adaptation (no matter what), but I don't think that's a fair assessment. Since they're different artistic mediums, books may achieve what films lack and vice versa. Books often excel in providing interiority and psychological depth whereas a film's strength may be its exteriority/visual storytelling and its ability to convey mood through the soundtrack. As a writer, I often start by visualizing my story's descriptions as if they were being filmed. I have to say there have been a few times where I preferred a movie adaptation over the novelization. There are also plenty of instances where I was unaware of a novel's existence until the film came out. The Third Man, for example, is a brilliant film noir that has some of the most memorable scenes in it. I only read the Graham Greene novel after having seen the movie. The novel was able to clarify certain background detail, but I felt the film was imbued with greater drama and emotional poignancy that left an impact on me as a viewer. I think most people care about the film's "faithfulness" to what the book tried to achieve (however vague that may sound). – aprosaicpintofpisces5 years ago