What makes a good film adaptation?

Since the film industry began, there have been more or less successful attempts at making films based on literary works. They attract a lot of viewers although different people have different attitudes to film adaptations.

Some of us never watch them as they have their own images of literary characters and setting of a novel or a drama. They simply do not want these images to be replaced by any director’s or producer’s vision. On the contrary, others enjoy film adaptations as they have a perfect opportunity to get to know a famous book without having to read it. It definitely is a controversial issue but I suppose that watching a film based on a certain novel is the lesser evil than not ever getting acquainted with a particular author. Finally, there are people who enjoy both reading the book and watching the film. Some of them prefer to read the novel first and others get attracted to the book after watching the adaptation on the silver screen.

I believe that there are certain im­portant factors which lead to making a powerful film adaptation. To my mind, the most crucial ones are brilliant and intuitive direction, perfect screenplay, imaginative film set and photography. I really admire directors who are able to turn a popular book into a blockbuster film. They must also be quite courageous as critics may slate them for their original ideas, not always in line with the writer’s intention. Screenwriters have a hard task of cutting out a number of scenes from the book and emphasising certain parts of the plot which is also sometimes widely criticised. I think that now when technology is so developed, it is easier to make use of various photographical tricks than in the past.

Besides the factors mentioned above, I would also like to discuss the question of choosing the right actors and composing proper music. Big film fans pay attention to the direction and screenplay, whereas average cinemagoers usually get attracted to a star-studded cast. A popular actor often makes people want to go to the cinema and watch the film adaptation of the book which they would never want to see otherwise. However, I personally believe, that a famous celebrity is not always the best choice as watching him or her you can start comparing this actor to his or her previous roles. I prefer to be surprised by the great performance of someone I do not know well, like Adrien Brody as Władysław Szpilman. I would not like to see, for example, Michał Żebrowski in that film. Finally, a soundtrack full of catchy tunes is a nice souvenir of the film I went to see at the cinema. It often acquires a life of its own.


Pytanie, które może zadać egzaminator:

Can you give an example of ­a good film adaptation?

To me a perfect example of a great film adaptation is ‘Bridget Jones’s Diary’. I had read the book before I went to see the film and I must say I enjoyed the film much better. In the book Bridget seemed to be a boring slob and even a nasty person but Renée Zellweger turned to be a brilliant Bridget although the actress is not British! Colin Firth and Hugh Grant made perfect performances as well and the director Sharon Maguire did a perfect job turning this average book into a wonderful romantic comedy.

  • attempt – próbować, usiłować, próba
  • slob – eniuch, nierób
  • soundtrack – ścieżka dźwiękowa (do filmu)
  • acquire – nabywać, zdobywać, przyswajać, osiągać (np. umiejętności)