Summer is a busy time for the classics section at Oxfam. We receive piles and piles of donations at the end of July from GCSE, A Level and university students who have finally come to the end of the year. They struggle in with heavy bags, eager to rid themselves of any course material that will remind them of long evenings spent at the library, scrutinising old texts. It’s a time of year when we get a huge increase in Shakespeare study guides, poetry and tattered old penguin classics.
There has been a big media frenzy this last couple of weeks with the last Harry Potter film being released, which I for one am excited about. I’m looking forward to the film, even though I can’t help but complain about all of them. The films can’t begin to live up to the book and they have turned Harry Potter into something else, a franchise, rather than books to spark the imagination of children all of the world. Children no longer have to conjure up their own personal ideas of the characters, they simply have to picture Daniel Radcliffe.
There have been some terrible film to book adaptations. And I don’t actually think Harry Potter is that bad compared to some of them. It must be extremely difficult to take a good book and turn it into a decent film. Even if you manage to cast the film with brilliant actors and have budget high enough to fill the sets with the perfect props and clothes, there is still so much to think about. So much of the dialogue must be cut down and many scenes scrapped. In fact I think it must be such a daunting task, I’m not sure why anyone would even attempt it!
Here are a few examples of films that I think have been adapted excellently.