For a purist like me, it’s hard to enjoy an adaptation purely for its own merit. There’s always a part of me that will compare the adaptation–whether it’s film or TV–to its source. Whether the changes from novel to film are huge or minuscule, die-hard fans and purists will notice those changes and cry foul.
Then again, there are some adaptations that took liberties with the text and yet were able to remain faithful to the spirit of the novel. My favorite example of this is the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightley. There are other people who abhor the 2005 adaptation while others were pleasantly surprised that they were able to stand Keira Knightley here, but in my personal opinion, this was a better one than the mini-series with Colin Firth. SERIOUSLY. The mini-series was pretty dragging despite its faithfulness to all the details of the novel. Darcy’s first proposal was kept intact in the mini-series, but it lacked that goosebumps factor that the 2005 film had. In this one, Darcy first proposes in the rain. Well, sort of. And there was just oozles of sexual tension between the two heightened by the fact that they were so close to each other but didn’t kiss or even touch each other. Ugh.
I got distracted. What I wanted to say was that the 2005 film had so many beautiful sweeping scenes and powerful ones that appeal to both purists and those with a shorter attention span.
Have you noticed, as well, the increase in novel to film adaptations that Hollywood seems to be churning out every year? It’s like it’s a trend all of a sudden. On one hand, I’m happy to see Hollywood taking an interest in these stories and making them come to life, but on the other hand, I find it disheartening because people, especially the younger readers, would rather watch the film than spend time trying to bring the written word to life on their own. As a teacher, it kills me to hear students “cheat” by watching the movie instead of reading the assigned novels. We’ve tried to avoid this by selecting books that have no adaptations yet, but at the rate Hollywood is going, we might have to change reading lists every year.
To sum this up, as a purist I automatically have this feeling of reserve (bordering on dislike/hate) for adaptations, but as a teacher I have to remain objective and try to see how my students can benefit from consuming both the film and text. In any case, I appreciate adaptations because they offer a point of view that is sometimes different from how I viewed things, and this opens up discussion and brings forth new ideas, which are always welcome and worth exploring.