"I am at a loss to conceive how a man should permit himself to write anything that would be truly disgraceful to a woman, or why a woman should be censured for writing anything that would be proper and becoming for a man."

06 July 2010


How do you feel when an adapted film's story deviates from the original material?

Awww... lookie here. I make a comment on my other blog about how the daily prompts aren't inspiring and the very next day we decide to question one of my favorite topics of ranting discussion.
Let's get something straight for this and all future records: I am not a purist. Not in the sense that I believe a film has to be exactly like the source material or it fails. This is virtually impossible and anyone who doesn't realize that is delusional. I understand there cannot be literal translation of book to film for more than just the obvious reasons. I also understand that one person's interpretation of a story differs from someone else's.
However, I do believe all source material adapted for film has an inherent tone and certain themes and characters that should be honored as close as they can be when a filmmaker undertakes the project (I'm looking at you, Francis Ford Coppola). I accept that not every detail of the source will be included -- some aspects may be condensed or done differently or omitted altogether. When it comes to adaptations of fairy tales and myths my flexibility in interpretation widens. Even the combining or omission of some characters can be warranted. And by all means, please feel free to shorten a work that needed an editor in the first place *cough*OrderOfThePhoenix*cough*
Where I get picky and ranty and annoyed at filmmakers comes in the unneeded and unwarranted changing of tone, characters, motivations, themes, etc. The major aspects that hold a story together and keep it compelling on the page. This is why I am all right with the idea of combining some of the Lord of the Rings appendices material into the trilogy but not at all OK with changing the entire ending of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (including the part where by Dumbledore's not petrifying Harry we turn him from hero to giant pussy in less than a minute). Conversely, it's also why I'm aghast at placing Elrond at Isildur's side in Mount Doom (throw the bastard into the river of fire or don't spend the next 3,000 years bitching about the weakness of humans because you were too much of a coward to act when you had the chance), and why I don't mind that Peeves is entirely absent from Hogwarts (annoying, obnoxious, and sure a nice way to break up the tension sometimes, but overall completely unnecessary).
All that being said, I'm in no way against interpretation of other media for film.
It's one of my favorite aspects of filmmaking, really. However because of this I have my own set of standards to which I cling, somewhat obsessively, always hoping someone will create something that lives up to those expectations. I also know that my idea of a great interpretation is not the same as someone else's... and this is why I'm a movie and book lover and not a snob.

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