This would normally be relegated to a “pondering” post, but I wanted to post David Mitchell’s Wall Street Journal column about the adaptation of his Cloud Atlas. If you somehow missed Cloud Atlas, do yourself a favor and read a copy. It’s a novel of extraordinary scope, and while I didn’t think it was flawless, I loved the shape of the work. Like Mitchell, I had assumed Cloud Atlas was unfilmable, but it sounds like he’s satisfied with the job the Wachowski’s did adapting it.
Their secret? Don’t be too faithful. Don’t try to include everything. (Read more about the theory and practice of movie adaptation here.)
Feel free to use comments to discuss the following questions: what is the best book adaptation you’ve ever seen on film? Which one improved on the book the most? Which one successfully adapted an already great book?