There's an interesting piece over at the Guardian's film blog on how critics should tackle their reviews of film adaptations. It's one of those topics of conversation that I've seen turn perfectly reasonable cinephiles into frothing-at-the-mouth adversaries -- do you critique a film based entirely on its own stand-alone merit, or do you discuss how well the director brought the original material to the screen, as well?

Both sides of the argument have validity. Here at Cinematical, Jeffrey M. Anderson's review of The Time Traveler's Wife didn't compare it to the source novel at all, and he still managed to illuminate the movie's many flaws. Me, I wrote a review of the same film for another venue, and I came at it from the perspective of someone who had read, and loved, the book. I considered omitting that information from my review entirely, and just focusing on the specifics of the film, but conversations I had with colleagues after the screening kept bumping around in my head.

A couple of the folks with whom I saw the movie were confused by some elements of the plot -- elements that I, as a reader of the novel, could fill in while I was watching. Once I explained to them what they were missing, they nodded and said that, oh yeah, now they got it. But shouldn't the movie have been able to stand on its own without a crib sheet? And shouldn't my being able to compare the book with the movie inform my review?
categories Cinematical