Today there are many differences between stories and film adaptations. When people read a book like Lord of The Rings they use one of the minds greatest things, the imagination. When people read the story they imagine how the characters look, the way they act, where the story takes place, and other of the setting. Then when a movie such as Lord of the Rings comes out, they see the movie and see how the director has interpreted the story, many people are either impressed because it is how they imagined it or they dont like it because it is so different from the story and what they thought it would be.
In most cases of a book or story gone Hollywood, the fans of the book generally dont like it because it doesnt fit the liking of the reader/viewer. Some reasons for a director to adapt the movie from its original literary counterpart may be that the description in a section of the book may be to elaborate or not elaborate enough and to expensive for a director and his/her company to create. The director will take something that he does not like or can not do and adapt it so that it fits his/her liking or the movie in general.
The director may also add things that were not in the movie for other reasons like character development or a stronger plot line. One example of this is in Edgar Allen Poes short story Hop-Frog, also known as The Eight Chained Orangutans. This short story was adapted and turned into a one hour long TV movie called Fools Fire that aired on PBS in 1992. The was written and directed by Julie Taymor, based on a story by Edgar Allan Poe(New York Times).
In “Fool’s Fire,” the story revolves around Hop-Frog a jester. He is the one who must be the kings pet and must follow every command of the over weight king and his seven councilors, each who are very rude and mean to Hop-Frog. When a tiny dancer named Trippetta enters the picture, Hop-Frog has a secret crush on her and be-friends her. Then when the king throws a cup of wine in her face it pushes Hop-Frog to the edge. He plans his revenge in an elaborate plot that is thought up for one of the kings pranks. It involves making orangutan costumes for the king’s grand masquerade ball.
No more need be said here, except that Ms. Taymor is notoriously partial to funeral-pyre scenes(New York Times). In the beginning of the film it starts off with a family of dwarfs eating in a house. Then all of a sudden, they hear something and they all begin to hide from whatever is coming. The main character Hop-Frog begins to run down a garden path and then is captured by a knight on a horse. In the story they begin to tell that the king may have acquired Hop-Frog by one of his generals. He was taken from a neighboring province.
They may have changed the beginning of the story line to show you in the beginning how Hop-Frog became the jester in the kings castle, instead of just starting him off there. Doing this would add more depth to the story because just telling a little bit of how he came to be might leave people wondering more about the situation. So having the scene in the beginning with Hop-Frog getting captured was a good idea because it makes the story line better by showing the origin of Hop-Frog instead of having to imagine where he came from by just mentioning it like in the story.
Doing this also adds move character development to the characters of the story. There is a scene in the movie that was not mentioned in the short story that was added to the movie. This scene is when the king has his seven councilors and their wives over for giant dinner and everything they are planning on eating comes alive as one of the kings pranks, and Page 3 Hop-Frog just sits under the table and eats scrapes the king throws down to him. The director may have decided to add this scene to the story because they wanted to draw the story out longer and to add more character development by introducing all of the kings
In the film adaptation one thing I have noticed is that it shows the King and all of the people as giants with big puppet heads and bodies to make them look a lot bigger than Hop-Frog. In the story it does not describe the king and the people at all so people might be left wondering what they look like. There is no real character descriptions except for Hop Frog and Trippeta describing them as dwarfs or midgets, and the way Hop-Frog walks. Having the king and all the other people as giant looking people makes it seem like you are in the point of view of Hop Frog.
Having the king and all the other characters with big puppet like heads is a good idea because when someone reads the story they are imagining what they look like so having them look abstract shows thats how the director imagined them looking. When comparing the movie to the story I usually choose the movie or film because I dont read that many books that are turned into a movie. When reading Hop-Frog, I had to think a lot because it did not give that much information about what was going and it just jumped into the story instead of giving a strong start and developing characters.
When I watched the film adaptation of the story at first it left me thinking What kind of drugs was that director on? I was puzzled because it seemed so weird and abstract in the beginning, but then after awhile of watching it, it all clicked inside my head and I enjoyed the rest of the film . The director took the story that I didnt like and turned it into a movie that didnt make the watcher imagine what was going on and added some things to give the movie more depth.
The way Poe wrote this gave the director some flexibility on how she could direct it. By not giving a full story line the director could take this and add things to it and people that had read the story could fit it into the story in their own way. Not since Jim Henson’s fabulous The Storyteller has there been a TV fantasy of such garish and head-turning visual invention as Fool’s Fire, an unforgettable and often unpalatable American Playhouse special(USA TODAY). These were the words of Matt Roush, a reviewer for the USA TODAY newspaper.
Here it seems like he is going to give the film a good word but by the end of his review he spits out that From the title credits, when a rat nibbles away a cabbage leaf to unveil the opening scene, it’s clear we’ve seen little like this before. Thank goodness, honestly(USA TODAY). Before the last comment in the article the reader thinks he is going to give it a good word but then turns around and dumps it totally. Another critic, Ray Loynd from the Los Angeles Times newspaper said The lure here is that twilight between a state of amazement and dismay. Poe, whose poem “Bells” concludes the piece, was always blending beauty and horror.
And in this tale of sweet revenge, Taymor has dared to visualize Poe’s dark, symbolist mind, leaving all prior Poe adapters in the dust(Los Angeles Times). After a comment like that toward Taymor it sounds like he was into the film and enjoyed it to say she is leaving other adapters in the dust(Los Angeles Times). After looking at the differences between the made for TV movie Fools Fire and the short story Hop-Frog by one of Americas best writers Edgar Allen Poe, many will either like or dislike the changes or additions that Julie Taymor has made to the Poe classic.
When a director changes a story to turn it into a film or movie they are doing it for a better cause. They are not trying to mutilate the original story they are just changing it to their liking so it is either easier to turn into a film or they are adding things to make it a better plot for a movie. So next time you go see a new movie that is out and it is totally different from the book dont give the director grief about it because he did it the best he could do it with what he had to work with.