An Eye on Culture
Famed Novels Go Cinematic
Published: Sunday, November 11, 2012
Updated: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 19:01
One of my fellow arts editors is in a class called Adaptation: Fiction Into Film. I must say, after hearing about the details of the class, I’m pretty jealous I’m not in it. Not only because of the quippy alliteration of the title that always catches my attention, but also because turning a book into a movie is a very interesting concept.
The intangible narrative that is constantly unfolding while reading a book exists in the abstract realm of the mind. With their nose in a book, people always imagine the scene as happening right in front of them—on a transparent screen that falls down right in front of their mind and eyes. Well, I do, at least. While what I’ve just described is essentially a fake, very low budget impromptu film whose only screening is “Taylor’s Head,” there is one important difference that makes this film more valuable than anything The Weinstein Company could produce. I am the director of each “film” that unfolds from each book I read.
I’m usually of the opinion that books are almost always superior to their film counterparts (except maybe Fight Club). I guess one of the side effects of being an only child is that I became an extreme bookworm. When you don’t have automatic sibling playmates, you need to improvise. Psychologists would say this helped my creativity develop. Film enthusiasts, on the other hand, would say that this is the cause of my extreme bias toward the literary sphere as opposed to the cinematic.
However, maybe these film enthusiasts would be happy to know that I’m excited for the surprisingly numerous upcoming fiction into film adaptations. No, not Life of Pi. Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy, is one of the first novels I was ever proud of myself for reading. William Faulker claimed that it is the greatest novel ever written. The story is centered around the aristocratic Anna Karenina who is involved in an affair with Count Bronsky. With a Madame Bovary vibe, this impressive novel has been turned into a film starring Keira Knightley, by no means a stranger to fiction to film adaptations, set to release later this month. Knightley’s delicate beauty and the strong feminine conviction she has portrayed in other films such as Atonement (another one of my favorite books) and Pride & Prejudice will certainly make her a great Russian protagonist. My only question is, why do these Russians somehow have British accents?
While I don’t have the stomach to bear Kristen Stewart, I am anxiously awaiting December’s release of Kerouac’s On the Road, another one of my favorite books, and probably the inspiration for my dreams of a cross-country road trip. The entire vibe of the film via the trailer seems to be exactly what I imagined in my brain film of On the Road. Stewart is the only disappointing part of the upcoming film. Of course she managed to weasel her way in to an iconic generation-defining adaptation of Kerouac. Which brings me to my next adaptation. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 2. While I’m not saying I won’t see it, I’m breathing a sigh of relief that it’s all over.
Just when we’ve been starting to miss out on our fair share of Middle Earth, little Bilbo Baggins takes the big screen with J.R.R Tolkein’s The Hobbit film series. Of course, to make as much money as possible, naturally the book has been broken up into three parts, but let’s be honest, who doesn’t want more LOTR, Harry Potter’s far superior, over-achieving cousin. The nerd in me will no doubt be inspired by Baggins’ journey.
The adaptation of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables, starring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe as Javert, is the film I’m the most excited for, despite having seen the Regal Inside Look preview each time I’ve gone to the movies in the past two months. While I’m not entirely confident in Jackman’s ability to play Valjean, probably the most complex and difficult character in all of literature and musical theatre to perform, Crowe was a perfect choice for the contemplative investigator. The cinematography of the film is striking, and of course, the score is one that cannot be topped. While it’s a huge endeavor, I’m sure it will impress. Although they won’t be the way I’ve imagined them, I have high hopes.