In my Thoughts About Adaptations post I said that adaptations need to be treated a like a caricature, because a good adaptation accentuates the core attributes of a story and its characters.
I want to focus on where adaptations fail in regards to viewer experience. Depending on if it’s a video game or a book I’ve played and/or imagined the story. Considering this (and add to it that the content of most books and games extend the time frame of a movie by at least double) adaptations are often doomed for failure.
Book adaptations fail when the viewers imagination can’t forgive the interpretation, like Alexandra Daddario as Annabeth in Percy Jackson. But when key character traits stay true, like Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss in The Hunger Games, we can forgive the casting choice.
Video game film adaptations can fail in the same ways books do: change key character traits, neglect the genre type (ahem, Resident Evil), or ignore the driving point behind the game’s narrative. But they also fail when they follow the original story too much. I know, how can staying true to the story be bad?
Remember, we’ve already seen the plot play out as we played the game. A common thing that happens in both comic books and video games are reboots which create alternate timelines/universes/events/legacies.
The Walking Dead and the Marvel movies are a perfect example of this. Their source material is also a visual experience and they have successfully kept true to known and loved characters by altering the story. Adaptations should act like a reboot.
Do you think video games will just for ever fail as movies or is there hope? Would you rather a TV show on your favorite book or a movie? Share your thoughts!