From Page to Screen

Page to screen translations happen in so many ways, and always with varying level of success. Over just the years of my life, I have seen superb versions, and those that don’t deserve a single star. It’s a risky business.

The most important thing to most readers – and thus, viewers – is consistency. If you change major plot lines or key facts, then there will be outrage. With books being thousands of words and films being an average of two hours, it’s understandably hard to include everything that is important to both authors and readers, and yet it is equally understandable to be judgemental when such things are missing. Add into that essential changes made for the differences between page and screen, and there are often fundamental issues.

As with any novels, you get the good, the bad and the ugly, but when you already have a point of reference in the original form, then it really is a difficult, and I have my sympathy for those making the adaption decisions, and yet – they are often working on a high budget, and with scripted input, it is hard to find excuses for mistakes.

But again – viewing just my wording of that, I automatically see them as mistakes because I am so protective over the words I love and hold so precious. Some adaptions (looking at you, West End “Les Miserables”) are wonderful, and only ever enhance what was there to begin with. Precious moments, precious movements, precious words and precious memories.

I haven’t watched the adaption of The Handmaid’s Tale for a very deliberate reason; I don’t want it to be different. I’m sure it won’t be ‘bad’, I’ve heard endless praise about it. But I don’t want it to be different. The book is one of the most beautiful things I have ever read, The Testaments is incredible, how on earth could I possibly watch something that might put those feelings and that love at jeopardy?

When we read, we picture things in our mind so vividly. We create those scenes, we hear accents, we see characters, often so clearly that when we see something else on a screen it can sometimes be a shock to the system, realizing that your vision might not that be the vision of the masses, and even if it is, it might not be that of those behind the camera.

There is magic is reading that can’t be described, and the magic we seen on screen is often very different. But – different doesn’t always mean bad. There’s a lifelong lesson in that one, not just a book related one. It’s so easy to be captivated by our own visions that the idea of anything even slightly different is hard to benefit from. But it can be so worth it if we take a chance.

Maybe I should watch that TV series….

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