Adaptations have hit the film industry with a bang – adding glitz and glamour to the fusion of film and literature.
LIVE features some upcoming adaptations which we’re excited about and chats to a film critic about reviewing movies.
Oz The Great and the Powerful
Based on “The Wonderful Wizard of Oz” by L. Frank Baum
Director: Sam Raimi
Cast: James Franco, Mila Kunis, Michelle Williams, Rachel Weisz, Zach Braff, Bill Cobbs, Tony Cox
Release date: 8 March 2013
The Great Gatsby
Based on the novel by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Isla Fisher, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire, Callan Mc Auliffe, Amitabh Bachan, Gemma Ward, Jason Clarke, Elizabeth Debicki, Daniel Newman
Release Date: 17 May 2013
Stephen ‘Spling’ Aspeling has been a movie critic since 2007. He currently runs his own movie-based website where he regularly posts reviews, interviews with celebs, competitions and lots more.
LIVE spoke to Spling about his take on film adaptations and reviewing in general.
Tell us a bit about yourself and you came to be a film critic
I was very into my arts and English at school, and I then studied a BA in Film, Media and Visual Studies at university.
This lead to me doing some copywriting, but I still wanted to pursue my dream of becoming a movie critic as I was very interested in film, had a huge collection of DVDs, and was an avid film goer.
I started writing a review a day just as kind of hobby. They say if you write about something long enough you eventually become an expert, which was partly true in my case. I consistently reviewed and after a year or so I started investing more time and money into my work until it became a full time project.
What are some of the criteria for reviewing a film?
Reviewing is an interesting sort of assessment because so many of the arts come together to make a film. You’re looking at factors such as the sound track, the visual component, the intentions of the director and other creative elements.
What are some of the challenges of comparing a book to its film adaptation?
I think an adaptation is more of an inspiration, and I think the film therefore has to honour its source material.
It doesn’t have to be entirely accurate though, especially since some things don’t translate very well into film. A lot of adaptations at least take the core of the book’s message and then create a new artwork out of this.
The whole thing with adaptations is that you could have had a script that was equally as brilliant as an adaptation. Having a book behind it just means there’s much more thought involved since the book is laid out from beginning to end, involves more characterisation and has a more solid structure.
Which books do you think should and shouldn’t be made into films?
Should – Holy books
It’s such a rich source of inspiration for an adaptation because you’ve got so many characters that are all sort of fallen and all kind of redeemed in some way or another. When people tap it to the more human stories, there’s a better chance of them succeeding and connecting with people who watch it.
Shouldn’t – Mein Kampf
Just because turning it into pop culture would really be a bad idea in a number of ways – there’s enough weirdness in the world already!
A message for young and aspiring writers
Just start. If you’ve got enough passion about what you do, make a sacrifice – it might be financial, it might be time wise. Pursue your dream without fear of failure, and pick up as much info along the way. If you stick at something long enough, you’re going to succeed.
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