According to the OED (that bastion of all things English language) an adaptation (n) is “the application of something to a particular end or purpose; the action of applying one thing to another or of bringing two things together so as to effect a change in the nature of the objects”.
Let’s get that one more time, shall we?
“The application of something to a particular end or purpose; the action of applying one thing to another or of bringing two things together so as to effect a change in the nature of the objects.”
Now for your Wednesday morning philosophical coffee break: if an adaptation is supposed to effect change in the nature of the objects, can there be such a thing as a faithful adaptation? And if there cannot, logically, be a faithful adaptation because then no change to either object would be effected, is it not reasonable to conclude that book-to-film adaptations are by their very definition precluded from being “faithful”, consequently leaving the disaffected English majors currently spewing their Baz Luhrmann-fueled vitriol all over the Interwebs floundering in bottomless pits of their own meaningless literary criticism? (As a former English person, myself, I say this with the greatest possible affection.)
Hate Gatsby. Love Gatsby. But do it as a film critic, not a literary critic. Because guess what? Gatsby isn’t a book! It’s a movie! With a pretty rockin’ and inventive soundtrack, flashy costumes and interesting cinematography.
I have tickets to see Gatsby at 7 pm on Friday evening, and I cannot wait. In the meantime I am avoiding all reviews and leave you with this observation: if you didn’t like Romeo + Juliet, you should probably go see Iron Man 5000 instead.
Cheers, to that.