Lost in Adaptation

I do not like film adaptations of books. I do not care how good the adaptation really is, or how bad. It is just that I do not get the idea of one form of art being adapted to another, with a lot of insertions and deletions. One of the reasons I love reading literature (not high-brow, I am still getting a hang of it)  is because of the scope for the mind to imagine and visualize how the character looks like. I realized that this is not something that is consciously done, rather as we read through the pages of any novel, our mind constructs and presents pictures of the characters, their gait, their idiosyncrasies and their surroundings so as to keep pace with the imaginary world that we travel to while we string words together and make sense of it. So when I read Harry Potter series, I imagined the kid to be scrawny and not very noticeably a “looker”, save for the lightning scar. And what did I get in return?! A cutie who looked really…cute!

I stopped watching Harry Potter movies after watching a few scenes of the first installment. Every single character that inhabited the screen looked either beautiful or handsome (yes, even Voldemort, if I looked at him from a specific angle with eyes wide shut). Not like anything I had imagined and now, If I had to read Harry Potter books, my mind automatically fits Daniel Radcliffe as Harry Potter and plays out the scenes as such. So, the film has usurped my imagination. I don’t like that very much.

I thought it was a problem with only that book series and its subsequent movie  adaptations; boy, could I have been more wrong? It happened with my most favorite printed sheets of all time, The Godfather. I watched its film adaptation and again, what was on screen was so powerful that it totally eclipsed my visuals. And yes, I read the book first. I am pretty sure the same will happen when I watch “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (although I do not mind having Daniel Craig as my Blomkovist). Thank God, I haven’t read Twilight series. I perused through the first few pages of the first novel, and alarm bells started ringing. Well, if you wanted to know, that was the moment “Vampire/Werewolf/Teen Fiction” ceased to be a genre that I liked. And like all other college kids at that  time, I watched “Twilight”, which left me guesstimating the amount of illegal chemical compounds swirling in the bloodstreams of its actors (Robert Pattinson: totally Botoxed, how can you otherwise explain his reaction (or the lack thereof) to everything? Taylor Lautner: a cocktail of muscle-enhancing drugs that unfortunately did nothing to the “what I am doing here!” reaction sculpted on his face forever)

And what happens if it is the other way round? I tried it for P.S. I Love You. It did not work for me at all, both the movie and the book. I think the book was very boring, the movie was passable only because of two gorgeous hunks, one who plays a guitar. I guess art, like energy, constantly changes from one form to another ceaselessly. Only I haven’t come to terms with its side effects yet.


4 thoughts on “Lost in Adaptation

  1. Well SOMEONE is a Miss Grumpy Pants today.

    I have just started The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. If you have spoiled it for me I will be so mad.

    Stand By Me was quite a poor book-to-film adaption I thought. Shawshank Redemption was a good one though.

    • Well “Miss Grumpy Pants” is down with a cold today:-(
      I haven’t read/watched Shawshank yet or Stand By Me. And good luck with the book. I liked it:-)

  2. I hear you… I’m yet to watch a movie that was better than the book I read… Something does get lost in translation… 😉
    I haven’t forgotten you as I’m still catching up on blog posts I missed when I was sick… 🙂

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