Books have a magical power to create beautiful stories to inspire people. In fact, these stories create vivid pictures that allow people to dream bigger and long for more. From an early age, children perceive outside world through their eyes and feelings. Once children learn how to read, they can use their imagination and travel to various amazing places. Therefore, it is no wonder that books have a powerful influence on many generations of people. Books show people the most colorful realities and wildest dreams. Often books take a person away from the cruelty of the real world into the world of book fantasies. Living in the world of books is a completely mesmerizing experience. But when one finishes a good book, the story ends. What is left are only images and ideas in person’s head.
In the modern world, people are extremely focused on entertainment and social events. Therefore, cinematography has become an alternative to traditional reading. Today, going to the cinema is a way of socialization and entertainment at the same time. Books have become obsolete, but they still are intriguing in the world of entertainment. Since books always had a powerful effect on the minds of people, the greatest stories have naturally become popular for movie adaptations.
Today, one can easily find the best stories of literature being adapted to movies. However, any movie is only a perception of a book story by the movie director. A movie is never the same story one has imagined while reading a book. It is a vision created for the masses, but it lacks someone’s own visual image of events. The purpose of this paper is to examine and analyze how fidelity is useful in screen adaptations of book stories. In this paper, I chose to analyze Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet adaptation in Baz Lurhmann’s movie and Stieg Larsson’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Niels Arden Oplev’s movie version. These great stories were extremely popular both in the form of books and movies, therefore, it is a great opportunity to compare the success of the same stories in different forms of art.
Romeo and Juliet is a classic tragedy by William Shakespeare written in 1597. It describes events and social norms of the times when author lived. The story is centered on a young couple, who comes from rivalry families and are in love with each other. Literary a depiction of tragedy concentrates on social importance of honor and family name. The tragedy of Shakespeare’s love story is caused by the rivalry between two families, who refuse to accept feelings of their children.
In the 16th century, which is the time when the story takes place, respected families are in the center of social life. Family values reach far beyond personal matters. It makes love between Romeo and Juliet impossible. Time period when the tragedy takes place perfectly illustrates the concerns of their age. Individuality is not understood or valued. Clearly, society is a serious obstacle to the love of two young people. Families do not accept this alliance between their children. All these events accumulate to a tragedy of that time. Shakespeare masterly illustrates imperfections of life norms of the 16th century.
Shakespeare’s story emphasizes how insignificant the feelings of an individual are on a scale of social life. Respect and dedication to a family name are more important than individual needs. Being a feeling that can change an individual and the world, love is a major force that can oppose norms of the society. Shakespeare’s tragedy questions values of that time. The main point of the tragedy is ahead of its time. The story about Romeo and Juliet targets the masses, illustrating the role of an individual in a society.
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet survived through centuries and became a classical example of a love tragedy. Needless to discuss the significance of the impact it had on a society since the 16th century. Centuries later, the world is still spinning around the same questionable social norms.
Therefore, contemporary version of Romeo and Juliet story in the movie adaptation of Baz Lurhmann illustrates the same immortal feelings that eventually lead to a tragedy. From the very beginning of the movie, it is clear that Lurhamann chose to show the story from a modern perspective. In his vision of Romeo and Juliet, he ignored depiction of cultural values and public of the 16th century. Instead, he chose to show this love story in the modern society. Thus, instead of Shakespeare’s court and swords, Lurhmann shows fancy cars and guns.
Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet is a well-known story, and it is extremely hard to present it in a different light. However, Baz Lurhmann chose to look at the famous story from a new perspective. Thus, the audience is able to judge how the opinions of the society and public have changed since the times of William Shakespeare. At first, it is surprising to see tall buildings and branded clothing on Shakespeare’s characters. However, the more the plot of the movie develops, the less relevant these external attributes become to the storyline. It becomes more obvious that lives of people have changed tremendously since the 16th century, however, tragedies remain the same. Even today, it is nearly impossible for an individual to create his happiness single-handedly. This is because the society establishes standards that a person has to follow in order to be accepted. Romeo and his friends are not of a noble descent in the movie. They are members of mafia. Yet the same principles that make our hearts beat faster rule this world. Centuries later from the original story, modern Romeo and Juliet face the same problem of misunderstandings from their families. The families and pride for their names separate Romeo from his beloved Juliet. Consequently, the modern version of Romeo and Juliet tragedy leads to the same end.
In comparison to the original work of Shakespeare, Lurhmann goes completely off script. However, in terms of the moral interpretation of the tragedy he is precisely on it. His movie shows different modern views and values, however, important moral principles remain unchanged. Through director’s vision, it is easier to see that today’s world has not changed that much. Love still dominates people’s lives, but societies remain heartless. Families remain blind to the matters of heart, yet obsessed with hatred to their rivals.
Inaccuracy of social adaptation makes the most important things noticeable. In today’s advanced world, moral principles remain in the times of Shakespeare. Therefore, in this particular movie, inaccuracy in details allows people to notice irrelevance of time. Regardless of time period, one person seems to be of little importance, yet if ignored, tragedies happen. Shakespeare was ahead of his time to emphasize the major flaw of society, its aloofness to feelings of an individual. Romeo and Juliet raise a timeless issue of individual happiness regardless the opinion of society. Both Shakespeare and Lurhmann made a remarkable impact on today’s public. Now it is the choice of the audience to make conclusions and changes in their lives.
In the recent years, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo has become an extremely popular book. Instantly, it became a bestseller and a desirable story for movie adaptations. It is important to show close reference of Stieg Larsson’s story to the book. First of all, the main character, Liz Salander, is a rebel against the social system that dominates today’s world. For this reason, it is important to describe social and political contexts of Liz Salander’s life. Secondly, mysteries of the story that happen along the whole book are inevitably connected with current events in Sweden. Therefore, in a movie of Niels Arden Oplev, correspondence with the book is achieved through smallest details. A talented hacker, Liz Salander, revolts against numerous injustices that happen across Sweden. Despite all of her odds, distanced behavior and weird friends, she possess a lot of information about the most influential people of Sweden. It is an important advantage in a modern world. In fact, her talent of hacking computers saves lives and prevents further murders.
These tiny characteristics create the main focus of the story. The girl is fighting against a huge criminal world. Her odds add the flavor of individualism to the regular detective story. Therefore, it was necessary to portray Liz Salander in the movie very closely to the character described in the book.
Oplev’s movie is sharp in showing Swedish lifestyle that may seem foreign to those who read the book. The movie is very accurate in depicting psychological state of the girl as well as her background. All these features help create an atmosphere of the world in which Liz Salander was living. It was crucial to show how today one person is struggling with both inner demons and outside reality. It is a struggle of a person, who dared to fight the system and unfair treatment. Her personal story is a proof that despite the fact that laws are heartless, there are still people who are willing to follow a noble idea and fight for justice.
The story of the girl with the dragon tattoo is very modern in itself. It is concerned with the overwhelmed life of many people today. Injustice became a norm, disrespect turned into routine, and people stay careless. The movie managed to convey the problematic nature of contemporary society as a whole. Sweden is a very advanced country, both economically and socially. However, the decline of morals seems to be wide-spread. Therefore, for Oplev it was necessary to depict all details of contemporary Swedish life. Besides, it helps fully understand several perspectives described in a book. The audience sees the story through the eyes of different people. The young girl, Liz Salander, is both a victim of a society and its hero. In his movie, Oplev masterly chose actors and scenes to be filmed. Even though sometimes these scenes were too harsh to see, they were necessary to keep the integrity of the whole picture.
Time proved to be both useful and irrelevant concept. As the analyses of the two movies showed, sometimes story requires an accurate depiction of events and characters. However, other stories, like Romeo and Juliet, are timeless in itself. Therefore, its movie adaptation does not need to be precise. It is more important to look at the essence of the story and moral messages it conveys.
In Romeo and Juliet, it was important to show that feelings can conquer any social bias. Love theme survives through time and remains relevant in today’s world, which is so preoccupied with social opinion. For Lurhmann, it was important to show the story through the eyes of a modern audience. He showed how little power one has to change the established traditions of families and society. This idea was true in the 16th century, and it remains to be true in our world today.
In Oplev’s movie The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, time setting was a crucial element. Moreover, the accuracy of place setting played an important role as well. Thus, the book and movie appeared to be both informative and entertaining. It was important to emphasize the moral nature of a girl of her age. She has old-fashioned values, yet she is a very progressive person.
Movie is a new form of art. Many directors still experiment with different techniques and styles. Lurhmann presented a very innovative vision of an old story. Contrary to him, Niels Oplev had a very precise vision of events. Yet they both managed to masterly interpret the stories and show the essence of the books. It is always a challenge for a movie to repeat the success of a great book. By using different techniques and individual visions, both directors created new masterpieces. These are the ways to educate people. Movie presents an easy way to grasp a difficult moral situation in an entertaining manner. Therefore, it is so important in today’s world to use every opportunity to learn from the troubled world of great stories.