Friday, July 8, 2016

The Thing with Adapting Stories

So I'm sitting here in a restaurant and thinking about Watership Down and how beautiful its cover is. This is reminding me of the 2011 Lifeline theatre production of the novel. I wish I could have seen it, because I heard it was good. Seeing it on stage is something on my bucket list after seeing a clip from Lifeline. It looks like it is a good adaptation. The clip was of Hazel trying to come to terms with General Woundwort and stop his attack on Watership and it was nearly word-for-word what was actually said during the encounter. Not to mention that the man playing Woundwort was stellar in the scene. I was a little afraid of him by the end of the clip!
Sometimes adaptations of classic stories don't turn out well. I've always wondered about why there may be drastic changes from novel to screen or vice versa....
I know there are usually legitimate reasons in adaptations that clearly work hard to remain faithful. But sometimes I feel that those adapting the original work to another form of media try too hard to put their own twist on things and the original story is lost in translation.
Take the Percy Jackson film series for a second, okay? I read The Lightning Thief when I was twelve and didn't like it much. I won't go into why, but when I'd heard of all the changes they'd made for the film, I was disappointed. As much as I didn't like the book, I hate seeing written work be disrespected. For example, Annabeth not being blonde in the first film is excusable, since it doesn't affect overall plot, but Percy battling Luke instead of Ares? That's a change I can't wrap my head around. Why was that change needed?
Now, getting back to Watership Down, there was a TV series that ran from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. Responding to criticism from the animated film, it was a watered down (pun totally intended) version that took care of the majority of the story from the novel in the first ten episodes. The events were also twisted to meet parental standards (I personally don't care how many parents would have called sexism on the show, Blackberry being a doe was unacceptable). Another twisted event that comes to mind is why was Hyzenthlay's story changed to involve another warren?
Honestly, stuff like this boggles my mind. I'm terrified of how the 2017 Watership remake could turn out. Please, God, have them respect the written word...

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