We’ve all seen good adaptations of things we love and we’ve all seen bad ones. But what, exactly, makes an adaptation good? For the past… pretty much forever… Hollywood, in particular, has been adapting anything it could get its hands on. From books, to tv, to theatre, to video games, Hollywood loves adaptations. The problem is that the adaptations are often not very good at all. You see this with books, like Eragon and the Percy Jackson series and TV shows like Dark Shadows and Video Games like Assassin’s Creed and musicals like RENT and even anime like Death Note and Ghost in the Shell.
The question becomes, why are there so many lousy adaptations? Especially when most of them are based on properties that are really well made in their original mediums? Where is the disconnect?
Contrary to popular belief, there really is an art to adaptation. There are four key things that a good adaptation must adhere to. Respect for the source material and characters, not being a slave to the source material, knowing what to change and what to keep, and telling a story in the most cohesive and interesting way that utilizes the best of what the specific medium has to offer.
Bad adaptations, usually get at least one of those key things wrong, if not more than one of them. So, let’s explore them more in depth and see if we can’t figure out how to go about making a good adaptation. (more…)