Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Print to Screen - Do They Get it Right?

The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina show has surprising
differences to the comic book.
The recent explosion of SFF titles developed into films is exciting for us readers and writers alike. How glorious is it to see the genre we love splashed across the screen, larger than life? 

Unless they haven't gotten it right.

Tom Bombadilo's Godberry, the River's Daughter.
The wave of Fantasy adaptations started with Tolkien's LOTR and J. K. Rowling's Harry Potter almost twenty years ago and moved on to properties like Charline Harris's True Blood and Stephenie Myer's Twilight, both released in 2008. 

They were followed quickly by L. J. Smiths The Vampire Diaries in 2009 which brought us to a peak in the realm of VampLit. 

But readers of our genre tend to be sticklers for authenticity. Keeping to the 'spirit of the book' isn't always enough. 

For example, a strong character from LOTR was omitted from the film adaptation.  (I've mentioned this before so you can tell I'm one of those reacting.) The enigmatic Tom Bombadil is nowhere to be seen. In this interview, Peter Jackson explains why:

AICN: Will you be including Tom Bombadil? The Ralph Bakshi production cut it out, as did the BBC radio drama.

PJ: At this point in time Bombadil is out. The main reason is not just time or pace, but one of simple narrative focus ... the Bombadil sequence has so little to do with Sauron or the Ring, it is difficult to justify the screen time. It simply doesn't give us any vital new information. A very simplest rule of thumb that I use in movie storytelling is to try and further the story with each new scene. 

I wonder what Tolkien would say about that!

In other adaptations, readers had trouble adjusting to a dark-haired, slightly tragic Elena Gilbert of the TVD series. After all, L. J. Smith made a big deal in the books about her long blond hair, blue eyes and snarky attitude. A reader elaborates:

...it became immediately obvious that TV Elena was more of a mild-mannered doormat instead of an ice queen with a sacred, sworn duty to ensnare the hot new student. - Read more...

An interview with TVD creators Julie Plec and Kevin Williamson explained that actor Nina Dobrev was perfect for the parts of Elena and her doppelganger Katherine (who isn't a doppelganger in the books BTW) and the gal just wasn't blond. They also found the book Elena too unsympathetic and decided to write her a different way. 

Some readers still haven't forgiven them.

In 2011, episode one of Game of Thrones appeared and yes, the first five seasons are drawn heavily from the books because they were already written. HBO had direct material. But... seasons six, seven, and eight aren’t based so specifically on Martin's next books. Regrets? 

GRRM himself says he wishes the show had found time to include Lady Stoneheart. "I can't imagine how different the show would be with her in it."



From Marvel and DC Comics' The Avengers, I Zombie, Umbrella Academy, Aquaman, to Terry Brook's Netflix release of the Sword of Shannara, print versions differ from the scripts. 

Apparently, there are four major reasons why this happens: 

1. Time
2. money
3. technology
4. storytelling. 

After all, it is an adaptation, not a direct translation.

In iZombie, our main character in the show has a change of name, location, occupation, origins, memory, friends and enemies from her comic book counterpart. In many ways, it's a completely different story, but a good one, on both platforms.

How about you? Have any pet peeves from print to screen adaptations? Favourites? I'd love to hear about them.

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Kim Falconer's New YA Fantasy Series is out in 2020 - The Bone Throwers. 

Also, check her urban fantasy out now - The Blood in the Beginning - and Ava Sykes Novel and the SFF Quantum Enchantment Series

You can find Kim on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

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