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To Read or Not To Read?

Every year hundreds of books are adapted into movies. The adaptation process is (if Spike Jonze and Charlie Kaufman are to be believed) hell for the writer – but it’s also somewhat of a complex question for the film reviewer. Unlike the few films these days that have started their life as a script and have never before been offered to the public, the ideas, themes, characters and contents of the work now being produced as a blockbuster have all been let loose years ago. If reviewers should aspire to be educated in what they review, should they read the books before they see the films in order to properly judge them, or should the film itself stand on its own two feet to be judged as a success or failure on its own merits? On a more superficial level, is a reviewer better able to access what the audience expects from the film if they’ve read the book or should they act on the presumption that few moviegoers read the original work? Should they even care – is an attitude towards literary adaptations necessary for consistency in a film reviewer?

Book him, Leo...

Book him, Leo...

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