Mein Neues Leben in Deutschland

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

"Her skin was supposed to be 'Alabaster'!"

I've been spending some time on lately, and I'm was quite overwhelemed by the number of people comparing a movie to the book (or comic book) that it was based on.

I think that comparing a book to its movie adaptation is a very natural thing to do. However, the ways some people compare (their standards of comparison) seem to be lacking in legitimacy. Here are a couple of observations I have made on these book fundamentalists.

People who have read the book usually feel that they are in some aspects superior to people who haven't. Comments like "Read the damned book!" or "We wouldn't be having this debate if people actually read the book" in internet forums gives me a general impression that they look down on their less-read colleagues.

My Response:
I think that a movie should be able to stand on its own. As with any artistic endeavour, I should not be required to know the personal history of the director, the conditions of production or the book or other historical circumstances of its origin to appreciate the work. Granted that knowing these things will enrich my appreciation of the piece, it its not required.

I am an advocate of reading and would encourage people to broaden their horizons by reading as much as they can, but when criticizing a movie, or someones critique of a movie, knowledge of the book does not automatically make you smarter or more cultured than the next person!

A lot of people complain about inconsistensies between the book and the movie adaptation.

My Response:
A book and a movie are two very different forms of media. Ofcourse there will be change. (For one thing, they added sound, audible dialogue, cinematography, soundtrack, etc. Get my point?) Translating one form of media to another requires change.

A book has a different target audence compared to a movie. Limitations of a book (confined to print) are different from a movie's (buget, technology, duration, etc). Changes will obviously come in order to play the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of the media.

Some changes from the book-movie transition, however have little to do with the media differences but rather the director's artistic licence. This is where it gets touchy.

Not a lot of readers appreciate blatant deviation from a book. Personally, I don't mind as much if I find that the changes were necessary and appropriate: the deviation made the book more relevant in this current age, or it helped support the integrity of the movie-media, etc.

On the other hand, if there is no compelling reason to change some elements, it would be best if the director stayed faithful to the original.

So to the book fundamentalists out there, its really unproductive to whine and comlain how the movie was not this or that like the book. These are two different things. Insisting otherwise is like saying "Why can't you me more like your brother(or father in this case)?" A movie is meant to stand as an independent media form (within a cultural context of the present age, orcourse)

Her skin was supposed to be Alabaster!

-Overheard conversation from a Vampire Chronicles fan who was complaining about the skin tone of Akasha in the movie adaptation of Queen of the Damned


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