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Lost In Translation

By Culen McElhannon

Passion. Love. Reverence. Infatuation. Obsession. Enthusiasm. Expectation. These words can describe a great number of things, including fandom. Fans are very passionate about the material that they love. Whether it is books, comics, TV shows, movies or games, the story is always the same. Fans are passionate. So passionate, in fact, that when the source material is being translated into another medium, the fans get skeptical.

“I just don’t ever expect the movie to be as good as the books,” sophomore, Danny Vera said. “It’s depressing, really.”

If something has a strong following, Hollywood is bound to try to cash in on it. Turn a comic book into a blockbuster movie. Adapt a novel into a miniseries for television. Base a video game on a blockbuster movie. The cycle is never ending, and usually very successful commercially. The only problem is that, sometimes, the fans that made the source popular in the first place are not happy with the translation.

“I really liked the TV show Avatar: The Last Air Bender,” said Blaine Shores, junior. “I heard about the movie and got really excited. Then I went to see it, and the movie stunk. Why did they do that? The show was so good!”

Students at Texas A&M University- Texarkana are obviously very passionate, and have varying opinions on big budget translations of their favorite entertainment media. Not all the opinions are negative, however. Junior, Leah Beall gave her views of the new adaptation, The Hunger Games.

“In eight days, I read all three books,” Beall said. “I don’t even like to read!” She said she saw the movie when it was released in theaters. “It stayed pretty faithful. I mean, there were things that were left out, but for the most part, I enjoyed it.”

Shores said he also saw The Hunger Games. “I really liked The Hunger Games. It was a good adaptation.”

The fact that The Hunger Games has won over fans of the books is a real accomplishment. Many times, movie producers will lose the core fan base, because they take liberties with the source material.

Senior, Courtney Grieg put it this way.

“Instead of making what the fans love, they change things so much and make it a totally different animal,” Grieg said. “They alienate their fans that way. Don’t even get me started on the Firefly series.”

Despite the skepticism and fear that goes along with adapting their favorite material, fans still have high expectations.

Danny Vera expressed his anticipation for his favorite books being adapted.

“I would really like to see the Fear Street series by R.L. Stine turned into a movie,” Vera said. “I think that they would translate very well.”

Beall also said she was excited for the Avengers, which is being adapted from the Marvel comic book series. “Who’s not going to want to see that? Anyone who doesn’t is just dumb.”

Fans are so invested in these, that sometimes, the expectations fans have cannot be reached.

“I liked the Eragon books, and the movie had so much potential, but it was totally different,” Greig said. “That movie was awful.”

Video game adaptations also have a hard time winning over fans.

“Pretty much every video game movie bombs,” Beall said.

Blaine Shores also expressed his opinion. “The only video game movie I liked was the Tomb Raider series,” Shores said. “The rest are just bad.”

No matter what the case is, the story is always the same. Fans want to see their favorite stuff adapted from one media to another, and they want it done perfectly.

Until then, they are just going to have to deal with what they are fed: big budget, popcorn flicks that are guaranteed to make money, and ruffle the fans’ feathers.

An example of ruffled feathers? Michael Bay, known for directing the Transformers series, is planning on producing a Ninja Turtles movie. He has hinted that he will significantly change some essential elements to the source material, which has the web a -storm, as well as students here on campus.

“Michael Bay is just crushing my childhood,” senior William Young said. “He just needs to leave things alone.”

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