So how does everybody feel about a book they read and loved getting adapted for the silver screen?
Would you rather the film stuck to the very letter of the book, or are you fine with a re-telling of the story?
I would definitely prefer the second option. The reason for that is that I view both film and literature as two fundamentally different media that have to tell their own story independently from one another. I might upset a few people here but a bad illustration of this would be the Harry Potter film series. From a certain point onward the film makers seem to take for granted that their audience is familiar with the plot of the novels by leaving many events and references unexplained.
A good film adaption doesn't need to rely on the audience's familiarity with the original literary work. Instead, it should tell its own version
of the story, that is complete in its own right. Film makers have to deal with time constraints and as such can't retell all of the novel's content in full. Instead, they should make a careful choice in what plot lines they choose to preserve and which ones can be left out without compromising the coherence of the story. In many cases, thereís a creative solution to be found. For example, letís say that in the original novel the failed love relationship between the main character and her ex-partner are an essential piece of background information. The author decided to tell the full back story and spent, say, the first 60 or so pages on it, out of a 200 page whole. The film maker could then decide, due to time constraints, to focus on adapting the other 140 pages, that contain the main story line, and still preserve the all important background information from the first 60 pages by, for instance, putting in a few short scenes whereby the main character stares wistfully at a picture of her ex, briefly gets in an argument when another character mentions his name, etc.
So, basically my measure of a good book-to-film adaption is one whereby a viewer who hasnít read the book can still enjoy a coherent stand-alone story. Iíd also like to talk about translating literary techniques to the silver screen, but Iíll save that for a later time. This post is getting quite big as it is.