Now that I have finally come around to accept that movies will be exactly like the books I loved, what is the criteria for a good movie adaptation? I think my major problem with certain movie adaptations is when major plot points are eliminated, or worse--changed. I understand that many elements have to be cut, but when whole characters are eliminated, merged, or change beyond recognition, I get upset. I can think of examples, but I won't mention them here. Books can do things that films cannot--they allow deeper characterization and exploration that movie-goers may not have time for. Movies also have benefits over the written word. Obviously, they literally bring characters to life, but also enhance stories with music and color. Thoughts?
My new favorite movie adaptation--which prompted this post--is The Secret Life of Bees. I read the book years ago, and I didn't remember specific details, so maybe that helped my viewing experience. However, I recalled the essentials and the film nailed them. More than that, it brought to life the same mesmerizing and enchanting feeling that I experienced while reading the book. Both mediums created an entirely different world that was a joy to visit. I recommend both. After watching the movie this evening, I am tempted to reread the book.
One final musing: my biggest pet peeve when it comes to movie adaptations is when they reprint the book with the movie actors on the cover. I know that people tend to buy books when they are made into popular movies, but do the celebrities really need to be on the covers. If they do, then fine. But sometimes, the original version goes out of print and it's almost impossible to find the original cover. It makes it seem like the book was printed as a companion to the film. This frustrates me. But I guess it's not all bad if it prompts viewers to read the text. And I'll admit that I'm being a bit of a snob here. Forgive me.