Benefits of Cinematic Adaptations

Discussing briefly some of the benefits of adapting book narratives into a cinematic format.


Written for and published with FilmDebate – 11th April 2016

When referring to the ideology behind film adaptations, there will always be a constant debate into which is the optimum medium to tell a story. Coupled with this notion is the concept of whether or not we need to first read the book before we can view the film or even vice versa. From a film analysis perspective, some narratives that have originated in literary format do appear to work brilliantly on the big screen. Even when it’s just the adapted film that is viewed, certain methods succeed at existing separately.

Essentially, a film should still be considered as an individual’s conceptualisation for a motion picture, even when that individual (commonly, the director) is actively taking concepts from a certain literature stimulus. These details, such as characters, plot points and location descriptions can then be manipulated in any way the individual believes would create gripping and enjoyable content for the audience. Following this theorem, and despite controversy from avid book readers, the film medium that is constructed should prove to exist as independent forms of entertainment.

What is Considered Effective

The predominant reasonings for an adaptation to be produced and presented to public perspective is to rectify and remodel a written work in order to either appeal to new audiences, or merely to provide fresh perspectives to interesting texts. When it comes down to critiquing the accomplished piece assembled by a director, observers would primarily question the newly produced form – in this case, a film or even TV show – and not focus on the original piece – the book or novel etc. Formulating from this notion then shows that we can assess and appraise each work individually as separate forms of entertainment even when they do display a distinctive relationship. There is no prevention that disallows audiences to appreciate any kind of media any less, purely because they haven’t read or experienced the original material.

Consulting back to one of the main discussions around adaptations, it may be easy for admirers and audiences to determine what they believe to be the dominant form to display their beloved characters, stories and magical worlds. Yet, despite the controversy, overall it proves much more beneficial to consider both mediums as independent because of the varying opinions they both can stimulate.

Different Perspectives

Various viewers may approach the film expecting to observe accurate visual accounts of the story they read because they assumedly enjoyed it to a level that encouraged them to then view the director’s perspective of the same material. Others may proceed to perceive the same film differently due to their unfamiliarity with the foundational text. This ignorance allows a modest and unbiased opinion on the connection between the two. Additionally, this does not give a full recognition suitable to draw an analogy between the two forms, thus determining an advantageous medium in which to demonstrate the narrative. The idea of a ‘good’ or enjoyable film shouldn’t purely rely on how faithful it appears, other elements should be taken more into consideration. This doesn’t imply that the level of accuracy can’t be a element towards the intentions, however, I believe that the purpose of filmmaking shouldn’t depend on this.

Adaptations such as Game of Thrones, a fantasy franchise that gained a large majority of its success and popularity through the airing of the adapted TV series, is a prominent example of this reasoning. Perhaps a slightly different conceptual example, yet this does explain an adequate exemplification of how the adaptation itself can work single-handedly as a source of entertainment. More often than not, fans of the programme started out watching the adaptation before reading the novels by George R. R. Martin. Although there may not be a universal reason for this common occurrence, we can presume that viewers were not originally aware of the primary media that was established originally. Rather, audiences everywhere became gripped on the fantastical visuals and story plots that the TV show manages to show in some of the most extraordinary and impressive ways.

Game of Thrones (2014) – source: HBO

Due to the colossal triumph that the series welcomed, it then supplied the franchise with grand budgets similar in size to high standing feature films. This subsequently bestows extra leeway for the writers and producers to experiment further with these components, accordingly then assembling a plot slowly stretching further than the books previously did. Presently, the writers and producers of the series now face opportunities to experiment with their own thoughts and envisions due to Martin still being midway through writing his book saga.

Game of Thrones may a slightly off topic example of film adaptations, yet there still is common analogies and resemblances to programming so the theories can be interchangeable. GoT in particular was ideal for the TV format when weighed up against film mediums due to the vast amount of detail and allows for further expanse for the producers. Despite the circumstances around cutting down some components of the plot, the series was still able to present the captivating world in a way that satisfied both sides of the audience – people who had read the books and the majority that had not. Whichever side you may find yourself, there is no doubt that the visuals, design and overall aesthetics of the show comes across very well. This level of detail, story and character development may not have been quite as effective or even plausible through feature film restrictions.

The ‘Perfect’ Adaptation?

There is never going to be such thing as a ‘perfect’ adaptation of any kind of original written practices. This can be due to the sheer amount of limitless boundaries novels can portray, coupled with certain restraints that restrict the production of movies and even TV shows. Films have time frames and everyone possess contrasting observations when experiencing similar texts, thus resulting in each viewer to develop opposed feelings when these mediums are altered to meet the requirements of the big screen.

Generally, we can’t conclude that the original source is any ‘better’ than what is produced because despite the obvious similarities, they both will continue to be different presentations. Each of the productions can provide their own favourable qualities for individuals, yet some people do favour one over the other, which is fundamentally just a matter of opinion and personal outlooks. Adapting is a beneficial way to manufacture fresh and creative outputs, bringing together wider audiences and further advances in entertainment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.