Adaptations

Welcome to another of my rambling pieces. This time, it’s all about adaptations. Adaptation, taking a work for one medium and turning it into another. Most common one is from book to movie. Others are from movie to video game or  TV series to movie. Fans of a work will usually prefer one over the other. What I’m curious about is how are adaptations judged?

Now don’t take what I say as some well-researched scientific information. This is mostly what I’ve read from here and there. For most people, it seems that if they’ve read the original work, they will tend to prefer it over the adaptation. And there is a reason for that more than just, uh, what’s the proper term for preferring the original? But yeah, there is a reason more than that and that is because different mediums inherently present information in their own way.

Look at movies. They tend to be one and a half hours to a max to three hours at most. And in that time, they have to introduce main characters, main villains, set up the world and give the characters a reason for what they’re doing what they are. Then, since a movie tends to cost a lot, they have to throw in some big climax.

Movies can augment the world with sound, dramatic camera angles and visual effects. They will paint a picture for you regardless of what you’ve imagined previously. Subplots need to be cut out of a movie to have good pacing and not make it seven hours long. That means a direct scene for scene making of a book is unfeasible, so movies tend to cut out a lot from the books.

Now books also have their lengths. Officially, a novel is 40 thousand words or more long. Some books tend to go up to 300 thousand. I’m talking the Song of Ice and Fire’s. But even a 40k word long novel can pack in a lot of things depending on how it is written. Novels give readers the chance to fill in the world with their own imagination and can fit in as much as the author wants without regard to cost for hiring actors, making sets and such. They can have minor characters drop in and out at whim.

Books also have the freedom to explore the history of places and emotions of characters through narration, something movies cannot do unless they want to have someone speaking over the entire film, and let’s face it, I would consider that lazy moviemaking. So books are also richer in history provided.

When it comes to adapting things to video games, well players expect to play it. Sometimes video games aren’t adaptations of the story but some continuation or side story. That would give the level designers more room to work with. Otherwise, they’ll need to fit the events of the story to stages. And as a video game, players will probably want to play the most iconic parts of the story for themselves. Overall, adapting to a videogame means trying to make the story still understandable while not being too heavy on cutscenes.

Next time, I’ll talk about my opinions on judging adapted works. That should be fun.

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One thought on “Adaptations

  1. Pingback: Looking at Adaptations | Reid Finn

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