I enjoy watching films and I love reading books. It is normal that films would take a lot of their ideas from books and create adaptations. There is a theory that there are only seven stories in terms of plot. Everything usually follows these storylines and embellishes them to create something different.
I usually have nothing against film adaptions. I quite like watching them, and I tend to enjoy them because I wholeheartedly accept that it will never be as good as the book. Sometimes a film will surprise me, usually it doesn’t. But it’s okay, you’re imagination has no limitations. Film still does even with all the special effects.
There are some film adaptions I wish I could remove from my brain together. The Golden Compass was probably the WORST book to film ever. Not just because the books are magnificent but because it seemed clear that the book had not been read properly by anyone in charge of said film.
It makes me angry just thinking about it.
You may or may not have heard that Life of Pi has been made into a film and is being released in the UK on Thursday 20 November. This is worrying me a great amount.
Life of Pi is the best book I have ever read. It resonated deeply with me and it is unafraid of tackling heavy subjects whilst crazy events take place. It is a phenomenal read and a book I am consistently recommending to people.
Yann Martel was able to truly capture the reader’s imagination and I think the story is made to be read, envisioned and felt rather than seen. The film will never, ever live up to the book. I do not doubt that the film will be good and enjoyable at the very least. A strong story will usually always make an enjoyable film. But I can’t help but feel this is a film adaption too far.
Nothing is off limits in Hollywood. Creativity knows no bounds (nor does the greed of financial want) but some things are better left in their original forms. The way they were intended to be. I am no traditionalist but I can’t help but feel that Life of Pi is just one of those books, one of those narratives, that works better and is more effective when everything is not handed over on a silver platter.
It’s hard to describe a book that makes you think, leaves you guessing and makes you feel like something in the world has changed once you’ve finished reading it. I know a film can do the same but it isn’t the same.
Reading a book is personal. You will read it in a different way to how others will. You will see the characters, hear their voices, experience their trials and tribulations in a different way. Reading is a far more personal journey which is why people are so attached to their books. I doubt there is anyone that treats their DVDs in the same way that you would treat your books, not because of how much they cost but because of what they mean to you.
A film cannot do this in the same way as a book. It’s just the way it is.
Life of Pi is very much one of those books that is personal. Maybe because of the way it is written or the way Pi speaks to the reader in the novel. A film adaptation will lose this, it will lose the storytelling aspect, the effect of having to imagine such an incredible journey. It’ll all be there for you to see, you don’t even need to think about it. Just watch and go home. Nothing changes.
I hope I’m wrong. The trailer does look brilliant and I’m sure the film will be a box office hit but I can’t help feel that it’s just one film adaptation too far.