movie adaptations

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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 4 days ago
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  • 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 4 days ago
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  • 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 days ago
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YA Books vs Their Movie Adaptations

Is it worthwhile to adapt YA books into TV or film? What determines if it is done well? Is it wise to change a lot when carrying over to a different medium? Compare popular examples like the Harry Potter, Twilight, The Hunger Games, etc.

  • This is a bit of a loose topic, but could then be left open to the person who selects it. There are a few interesting approaches that could be looked at here. Obviously there is always the element of debate around adaptations of any book to film, what to keep, what to change etc. and with this the value in such changes and the complexity of allowing the new version to speak for itself. However, when considering YA specifically this is interesting as it has become a financially viable field, and as always where there is money there is usually an agenda. What I find interesting is the wealth of "queer" and non-binary YA that is present in today's marketplace but have much more limited discussions about their application to the big screen. Is YA being used to perpetrate socialised stereotypes in a repressive manner? Another discussion is often scope, most YA are serialised (again that is where the money is), how do you successfully guarantee the transition to film will ensure the full series is made, some are very successful such as HP and HG, but others such as Vampire Academy struggled to make a mark in an over saturated marketplace. Finally, there is also the question of canon - if significant changes are made, characterwise and narrative, how does this impact the canon of an ongoing series and the fan experience, especially when considering much YA has a huge fanfiction following that values their own interpretations - so is that a can not worth opening? Indeed the fascination with YA is an interesting development rather specific to this century. – Sarai Mannolini-Winwood 11 months ago
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  • I think it can be worthwhile, but I think screenwriters and directors need to be careful with their adaptations. I personally think multi-episode show adaptations (like Shadow and Bone) work better than individual movies because movies often cut out crucial scenes in order to fit within the 2-hour limit, whereas shows can work with at least 7-8 hours of content. – isabeldwrites 7 months ago
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Why movie adaptations of video games are always expected to fail and what can be done to amend this

analyse the current trend of video game to movie adaptations and why they fail to perform in the box office; also make suggestions on what could be done to improve future adaptations.

  • I will note that not all are "expected to fail," but that yes with the failure of many there has become an overwhelming sense of despair in relation to this. To deal with this discussion the concept of "failure" will need to be outlined, as since films like Tomb Raider were not financial or popular failures, but many game players felt it was (as did many feminists but for different reasons). Also films such as the Resident Evil series are categorically not failures. So part of the discussion would include what the success stories are and what made them different to the other obvious failures such as - Warcraft, Assassin's Creed, The Angry Bird's Movie (although seriously!!!) – SaraiMW 4 years ago
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  • To further add to this, it might be worth going back a few years when video games were just starting to become mainstream and adaptations of various games were starting become the norm – AidanGuagliardo 4 years ago
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  • I feel this expectation is fundamentally tied to the vast difference between film storytelling and videogame storytelling. Depending on the director and creative team, both can be dealed with in various ways, but it is the way that people absorb these mediums what will always remain in duality: films are passively watched and videogames are actively played. I think this will always make the transition from videogame to movie feel less than its original source. Another thing to keep in mind is that creative works such as videogames tend to harvest what one could call hardcore fans and although this is true for probably anything in this world (train fanatics, car alarm fanatics, cricket fanatics...), when you have this medium where your actions unfold the story, or in the simplest cases you're controlling a jumping figure going through trial and error until you get to the final stage, people build a connection to its digital world that could be a very emotional one (with nostalgia playing a giant factor in many cases). Fans like these will hardly accept a mediocre movie about the franchise they love. Even the movie adaptation of Silent Hill, one of the most well-recieved adapations, is called out for its use of monsters that kind of go against the franchise's lore. – Pigman08 4 years ago
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