Adaptations

When ever somebody comes up with a good idea (or a bad idea really) in one medium, a lot of people try and think of a way to adapt it into another form of media. This has been happening for a long time and will continue to happen and I love it. Except when I hate it or I am indifferent. Adaptations are often very divisive among the more intense sections of a fandom especially when the adaptation changes details from the original work. People seem to either love or hate an adaption based on how much and what has changed from the source material. Quick thought: do you think people were pissed about I Am a Camera being adapted into Cabaret? Don’t research that. I’m certainly not going to. There probably were people who complained but it won Tony awards so probably nobody cared.


Iron Man 3

I love Iron Man 3 but there was a lot of grumbling from some comic book fans around the time this one came out. There is a certain twist at the end of the second act that throws a lot of people who are huge Iron Man fans. Those same fans were upset at how Whiplash was done in Iron Man 2 and so on through the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In fact, I have a friend who can’t help but complain about every single movie Marvel puts out. He says he can’t enjoy them because they got details wrong. Each and every movie he hated, I loved because they were good movies. My thinking is that the movies are part of a separate universe where events came about a little differently. If the movies were exactly like the comics then I would be extremely bored. Instead, I like that they feed me little bits that are like the comic book and flesh out other details to make their own story.


Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit

Again, I loved all of the Lord of the Rings movies. I haven’t seen the last Hobbit movie yet but I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far. There was some criticism because they left a lot of the stuff out of the books. A lot of that stuff was interesting but I have the extended versions on DVD and those things are already 3 – 4 hours long per movie. I can live with losing a few events and poems so that I can not be watching the same movie for 5 hours. The same goes for Harry Potter movies by the way. So people complained about all of this stuff getting cut out and then they turned around and complained about Return of the King having multiple endings even though that’s how it is in the books. It’s a hard balance to strike when you want to please the hardcore fans and the casual fans and the people who had no clue Lord of the Rings is even a thing.

Which brings me to The Hobbit which decided to go the opposite direction. They threw everything from the book in and then invented a lot of stuff to flesh it out. Some have argued that this was done merely as a money grab. While that may have been the original motivation, I believe that the movies benefitted from the original story getting stretched out. The Hobbit is as chock full of detail as any of Tolkien’s books but he actually left a lot out. There are whole sections where Gandalf disappears and then they end up telling rather than showing what he was doing. It’s much more interesting to see all of that played out. Also in the original book the Dwarves were just extra characters with little personality and it was nice to see them fleshed out a little more. Again, it doesn’t make the source material bad or incomplete, it just makes for a better movie.


Man of Steel

Here is where I might start coming off like a hypocrite. I hated Man of Steel for two reasons. The first reason was that I didn’t think it was a good movie on its own merits. The second reason I didn’t like it was because I didn’t think it was a very good adaptation of the source material. In the comics Superman isn’t an asshole, Lois Lane isn’t a ditz and Jonathan Kent isn’t an idiot. I kind of went into a little more depth on this in my Man of Steel review. Still, apparently they were adapting the jerkier Superman from the recently rebooted New 52 initiative that I haven’t really read any of. That’s fine, I guess, but at least make it a good movie.

Conclusion

There’s more examples to be sure but they all amount to the same basic premise. Adaptations are their own animal and shouldn’t be judged by the original source material. There are exceptions, of course, but as long as the differences between the two aren’t too big then I usually see it as a faithful adaptation. I’m commited to keeping an open mind about things and not letting more negative sections of the fandom piss me off. This is the guy who liked Daredevil talking though so maybe you just wrote off everything I just said.

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One Response to “Adaptations”

  1. Susan Gourley Says:

    I think if you’re a reader, you know by now not to expect movies to follow the books or the comic books. Different mediums need different things to be entertaining and making money is the objective. Man of Steel was a super disappointment because it was just a bad movie like you said.

    Like

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