Isn’t it wonderful to see your favorite scenes come to life? As a book lover, I get excited when I hear one of my favorites is going to be adapted. But this also makes me nervous because it’s so likely that I’ll be disappointed. We’ve been hearing hints from Marissa Meyer the that The Lunar Chronicles is going to be turned into a TV series or movie. To channel my feelings, I decided to make a post about qualities of good adaptations.
A film adaption does not need to be a word for word recitation of the books. When a book is rewritten as a screenplay, it is inevitable that there are going to be changes. The two examples I’m using to develop this point are “Shadowhunters – The Mortal Instruments”, and Netflix’s “Anne With An E.” Both of these are shows adapted from books, and both of them have differences between the books and the movies.
I loved reading “The Mortal Instruments” as a book series, so when I started watching the TV series, I was excited to see my favorite moments brought to life. However, the plot of Shadowhunters deviates so greatly from the original plot that after the first season, there is very little correlation between the books and episodes. “Anne With An E” also includes scenes not in the books, yet these scenes help to develop the plot and characters, rather than destroying them. We learn about relationships that were not focused on in the books, and about the back stories of different characters. These extra details help to amplify Anne’s story rather than taking it in a completely different direction.
Choosing actors that are talented, look the part, and have good chemistry is quite important. As readers read a book, they process the characters and eventually come to think of them as real people. Visual accuracy is important in satisfying readers, but what I believe matters more is that the actors can portray the character’s actions in a way that fits the book characters. Everyone imagines a character looking a bit different, but the character’s personality should be a constant.
Sets and Special Effects
Now this is a topic I know very little about, so I’m not talking about details. However, a problem that I’ve seen time and time again, is people trying to hard. In the films for the Ruby Red Trilogy (Rubinrot), they used sets and lighting to attempt to create a very ominous atmosphere throughout the films. However, in many places, they overdid themselves, and rather than feeling the tension, my friend and I and could not stop laughing at how ridiculous it felt.
This also happens with special effects. In “Catwoman,” after her transformation, they wanted to show how catlike she was. However, the way the actress was leaping all around the screen seemed too easy and too instant even for a cat. Most cats are agile, but not explosively bouncy.
What’s most important is that the themes and topics portrayed in the books and movies are the same. The Harry Potter films and “A Very Potter Musical” are two drastically different adaptations (I know that AVPM is not a movie or a show). Yet in the end, they both show how great a person’s inner strength can be, and they’re both about the love between friends. Consequently, despite all of the inaccuracies, fans have a deep fondness for them both. We gotta get back to Hogwarts anyone?
What do you guys think? Do you agree or disagree with these points? What books would you love to see an adaption of?