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Film Adaptation

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Nahal Aghababa

on 11 December 2014

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Transcript of Film Adaptation

Literal Adaptation
The dialogue and actions of the book are more or less intact. Preservation of original content is vital.
Faithful Adaptation
Essence of the original book is captured, often using cinematic equivalents for specific literary techniques.
Loose Adaptation
A superficial resemblance to the book exists.
The transfer of written work into a feature film.

This may include either partial or whole written texts.

Texts include:
Novels of all genres
Short Stories
Comic Books
What is film adaptation?
Current Statistics
51% of the top 2,000 movies in the past 20 years are adaptations

An estimated third of all movies ever made have been book to film adaptations

On the American Film's Institute list of Top 100 movies of the last 100 years, five of the top ten are movie adaptations

On IMDB's list of Top 250 movies, six of the top ten are adapted from books

Over 300 children's novels have been turned into movies thus far

Increasing trends in film adaptations of children's books
Should books be adapted into movies?
The Beginnings
Adapting previously published materials did not begin in the film industry

Classical Greek playwrights attributed much of their material to myths passed down through oral tradition

Even Shakespeare used various outside sources when writing
Nahal Aghababa
Film Adaptation in American Culture
Reasons filmmakers may make changes
Criticisms of Film Adaptations
Perpetuate the laziness of today's society that is increasingly relying on technology

The "If you don't want to read the book, just watch the movie." ideal

Lack of personal interpretation

Adaptations ruin the uniqueness and creativity of film

Not accurately maintaining the integrity of the novel
How are books selected?
Many are selected based on their popularity with readers

Books from popular authors
Stephen King, Nicholas Sparks, J.K. Rowling

Strong, forward-moving plot line

The book has a unique story that will translate well visually

Petitions from the readers!
“The study of literature casts light on the meanings in the film, and the study of the film can illuminate the full value of the literature.”

- Ronald Perrier, From Fiction to Film

Great speculation on which movie was the first to be adapted from a book

This is due to filmmakers not paying proper attribution to written texts in the past

Even earliest films had roots back to written texts

Some guesses include:
Trilby and Little Billee (1896)
Awakening of Rip (1896)
Sherlock Holmes Baffled (1900)
Snow White (1902)
Jules Verne's "From the Earth to the Moon" (1902)
Alice in Wonderland (1903)
First Comic Book adaptation: Adventures of Captain Marvel (1941)
Hundreds of articles on why books should and should not get turned into featured films

Most popular reasons to adapt include:
Visual representations of characters brought to life
May expand the reader's imagination
Exposure and recognition to the book
Spark interest in audience to read books they would never have considered before
"Let the people who are good at stories provide the stories and the people who are good at the craft of film-making make the films."
Children's literature in film adaptations
The Wizard of Oz (1939)
Harry Potter and the Socercer's Stone
The story already has a sucessful, clearly defined concept

Respect to the source material

Knowing what the adapt and what to leave to the original text

Accurate portrayals of the characters from the novel

Finding a balance between striking visuals and narrative

Ability to appeal to audiences that have read the books and those who have not
1. Changes demanded due a change in the medium
Troubles with translation and time constraints

2. Wanting to highlight new themes, emphasize different traits in a character's development, and solving perceived problems with the original text
Anna Karenina
- the suicide attempt

3. Creating a more original story that is applicable to contemporary audiences
series- use of cell phones and internet

Mary Poppins (1964)
Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)
The Giver
Jonas is a twelve year old boy who has been selected to be the new Reciever of Memory, in a society that has eliminated all emotional depth from their lives, converting to "Sameness". Jonas begins recieving memories from a time before "Sameness" from The Giver and begins to learn about the truths of the world and his community. With this new information, he must make life-changing decisions that will affect all those around him.
What makes an adaptation unsuccessful?
Excessive changes that are seen as unneccessary
new characters, new plot points, new scenes

Inability to capture the exact essence of the novel that first attracted the readers

Innaccurate interpretations of the characters

Forgoing vital details
Very faithful to the story line and text
Maintained the integrity of the source
Imaginative combat scenes
Accurate portrayal of how the characters were in the novel
A visual representation of the novel without much change
There was a great deal of subplot added in that distracted from the main themes of the novel
Chief Elder's involvement
Action sequence following Jonas's departure

The actors used to portray the characters were very different from the discriptions in the book
Jonas does not have light eyes
Actors are much older than their character counterparts

Used different characters to create unnecessary conflict
The mother is more of an enemy in the novel
Asher's suspicions of Jonas
Jumanji (1995)
Holes (2003)
Bridge to Terebithia (2007)
The Hobbit (2012-2014)
What makes an adaptation successful?
J.K. Rowling
First Published In:
Movie Adaption:
Worldwide Total Gross:
Harry Potter is an ordinary boy who learns he is actually a wizard on his 11th birthday. He is taken to Hogwarts School for Witchcraft and Wizardy to embark on the journey to become a wizard, while learning that Lord Voldemort is after the very valuable Sorcerer's stone that is hidden somewhere in the school. Harry and his friends must find it before Lord Voldemort does while overcoming numerous obstacles along the way.
Actors vs. Characters in the novel
The positive responses greatly outweighted the negative responses
Kissing Scene
Many critics were very shocked that the filmmakers chose to create a romance between Jonas and Fiona
Jonas never acts upon his "stirrings" towards Fiona in the novel
Jonas's motivation for leaving for Elsewhere are in part for Fiona due to his strong feelings

Children's literature is often regarded as timeless

There is often more than one generation that currently enjoys or has enjoyed the novel

Creating a movie would appeal to a larger audience than a novel that is strictly for one subgroup

Can be enjoyed throughout the years

Demand from readers
Final Opinions
There are pros and cons to adapting novels into films
Pro: Ability to experience the book coming to life
Con: Completely different portrayal that does not match personal interpretation

It is vital to maintain true to the story line in a way that does not upset the reader

Filmmakers must find a balance between fidelity and personal creativity

I expect many more children's novels become film adaptations in the near future
Lois Lowry
First Published In:
Movie Adaptation:
Why are Children's novels often used in film adaptations?
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