Adaptations are hardly new to Hollywood, and a lot of great stories come from adapting other mediums to the big screen. I would love to see the numbers just to see how many movies are adaptations of novels, comics, shortstories, or tv shows versus original screenplays written specifically to be movies.
But there seems to be a lot of confusion going on about adaptations. Most times, instead of just judging a movie by the movie, there are always people who criticize the film because it was CHANGED from the source material.
Lets take a moment to consider a few things. When something already exists in some medium, whether it be a book, comic, cartoon etc. When they make it into a movie they call it an Adaptation. So lets get real technical
–verb (used with object)
1. to make suitable to requirements or conditions; adjust or modify fittingly: They adapted themselves to the change quickly. He adapted the novel for movies.
–verb (used without object)
2. to adjust oneself to different conditions, environment, etc.: to adapt easily to all circumstances.
Just so we are on the same page.
An Adaption means that things are being changed to suit the new medium. So right off the bat you should anticipate change.
Now before I carry on, if this sounds like I am targeting you then undestand this. I am not. I WAS ONE OF YOU!! I am not writing this in some effort to bash people who form their opinions in this manner, I just wish to share why I feel this is not as big of a deal for me. I used to jump at any change to hang the label of “flaw” on it and then that sign was so glaringly obvious that I failed to see past it.
That being said, I believe there is merit in how some adaptations change too much from the source material and it becomes detrimental to the film. I am not discrediting this, I just feel that some people sabatoge themselves into not enjoying a movie over something they already know is going to happen. They are going to change stuff.
I am reminded of a discussion that John and I had a few months before the release of Transformers. John was all for Transformers and I was groaning and complaining because I had heard that Bumblebee wasn’t going to be a VW Beetle, and that Optimus Prime was going to be a Conventional Rig instead of Cab-Over. UNACCEPTABLE!!! (John and I disagree on more than people think)
But then John shared something with me that gave me pause. Allowed me to rethink my stance. It went something like this:
Ok, What is the original Transformers cartoon about?
A warring alien race of robots bring their battle to earth and befriend some humans. And at its core we have some really cool robots that transform into vehicles and get into fights, right?
How is Bumblebee being a Camero change any of that? As long as they get the essence of the orignal material, I don’t care what colour the robots are or what they transform into. As long as we get big robots fighting and transforming into cars and stuff.
John didn’t say I was wrong to care that Bumblebee wasn’t a VW. But he didn’t want me to ruin the whole experience over it. Relax. View the film as a film. Try to enjoy it. If it still fails to entertain, then it won’t be because I was trying to dislike it. Transformers had its flaws, and it wasn’t perfect, but I enjoyed myself.
If you go into a movie EXPECTING to hate it and determined to, no matter how good it is, you will hate it. You are trying to.
But adaptations mean that there will be changes. When attempting to make these changes, the screenwriters and producers will make their very best efforts to make changes for a reason. Believe me, they don’t take something out and giggle to each other over beers how THAT thing will just make the fanboys rabid. Each change is carefully calculated and thought out. Sometimes these changes are required (Bumblebee couldnt be a Beetle because VW wouldnt let them) but I have faith that changes made are done with the best interests at heart.
In X-Men, despite the insane following Gambit had among comic book fans, they chose not to have him as a member of the X-Men as his archetype was too similar to Wolverine (Loner, rebel, mysterious hidden past) and the choice to include Rogue lead them to leave out Kitty Pryde (as a core character). Wolverine and Kitty always had a father figure crush going on, so instead they made Rogue and Logan have this dynamic. As the series grew, they made room for other characters. But they had their reasons for all the changes they made.
Sometimes I hear people dwelling on the changes that they fail to see what is similar. “They ignored everything about the book/cartoon/novel”, well if they had, then I could understand the distaste. But with a number of little changes the nose turns up and there is potential to overlook the core essence of the source material.
More recently there seems to be a shitstorm rallying around the Dragonball film. It is deserving of the poor reviews it got as it is a terrible movie. But as an adaptation I don’t think their decisions were poor in adapting the film, but rather they failed to make the film a good film. The characters acted similar to their cartoon counterparts, almost to a flaw. And the premise was at its core the same. A struggle over the collection of the mystical Dragonballs.
However, without considering any of the Dragonball history, the film still fails. Was it because Goku went to highschool? Was it because they left out minor characters like Krillin? No. It failed because it was a bad movie. Unconvincing drama, mediocre action, and poor acting. The film didn’t suffer because of the changes they made from the original source material.
If the movie was entertaining as hell, people would say “I didn’t like that Goku went to highschool or didn’t have a tail. It was still a fun movie”
See the difference there? I didn’t say you couldn’t notice the differences, but at least call it what it was. The movie was bad, and it had nothing to do with the changes.
Accept that there will be changes with any Adaptation. Try to see past them. Hope they don’t ruin your movie going experience.
This is what I try to do, and its worked out ok for me so far.