This is a concept I've tried many times to explain to friends and foes but I have a hard time articulating it!
So why articulate when you can write?
I'm better at that anyway.
So GET READY TO LEARN. SIT ON YOUR DEVIANT BEHINDS AND PULL OUT A NOTEBOOK AND A PEN AND BUCKLE UP YOUR SEATBELTS CUZ WE BOUT TO GAIN SOME KNOWLEDGE (FROM A FLAWED AND POSSIBLY EXTREMELY BIASED BUT STILL KINDA VALID SOURCE)
(I made this term and its definition up. Just my way of explaining things.)The Law of Proportionate Depreciation- the law stating that any adaptation of a particular work, regardless of the platform, will depreciate in value and quality in comparison to its original incarnation; and that each successive incarnation will depreciate proportionately in comparison to the preceding incarnation
So you know how people always say "the book was better"? This is a more fun and comprehensive explanation of that.
Let me explain and give examples! (Yay science!) (This is not science!)
Okay so I'll give good example(s) and bad example(s). Although this does happen to be a law that has an overall negative trendline, there are things that are affected by the law that are still good
. Yes, a "depreciation in value and quality" does not imply the thing is bad. It implies it's just...not as good as the first.
Let's start with the amazing Queen Rowling and her beautiful Harry Potter franchise.
Oh, I love Harry Potter. Obviously. But I will say this:
the books were better than the movies.
Now I will try to explain why the law applies in the context of Harry Potter.
Why do many die-hard HP fans like the books better than the movies? Simply because the books have more
. There are more nuances to characters and plots available, plotlines and story arcs and characters completely untouched in the movies, etc. The books are simply deeper and more complex, that's the gist.
(Now there's also nerds like me who like to just analyze literature and fawn over Queen Rowling's writing and style, but that's beside the point.)
I will also say, however, that the Harry Potter movies happen to be some of the best book-to-movie adaptations that I have had the good fortune to experience. It is beautifully acted, wonderfully written, amazingly shot, and I'm nearly prepared to call at least 4 of them flawless. I'm not one of the fans who doesn't like the movies, because I am willing to treat the movies as relatively separate from the books. That is, I'm not line-checking the movies with a book in front of me. I appreciate the movies as their own art. And in their own art, not seeing them as less because they don't follow every single line of the book (that's not what the Law of Proportionate Depreciation is concerned about), I will say the the movies simply are not as complex or thought-provoking as the books. Simple as that.
Now not because Daniel Radcliffe's eyes are blue, not green. Not because Peeves wasn't there. Not because Ron didn't have freckles or Hermione never did S.P.E.W. That's not what I'm talking about. They just aren't as good.
But don't get me wrong. This is a good example because I LOVE HARRY POTTER. The movies, the books, everything.
Now here's the thing about fanfiction and headcanons and au's and stuff: some of them are really good, but they follow the rule. Each decreasing level of work depreciates. Like so:
That's a really rough and really bad representation of it, but it's the best I can do. And again this is not to say that the movies or fanfictions are bad (though some of them are... *cough* My Immortal
*cough*). Just that the quality decreases as the work descends further tiers away from the original.
So to make that more complicated and fun, let's use the work that helped me come up with the law (bad example time).Also part of the reason I've nicknamed it Meyer's law. Twilight. (If you are the rare creature that likes Twilight, leave now. I am about to trash it.)
Okay so among circles of intelligent people that actually read actual books, it is pretty much agreed that Twilight is a depressingly horrible stain on the Best Seller's list (thank you past self for contributing to its success. *sigh* preteen me is such an idiot).
Okay yes, we know. Twilight is terrible. I could go on an elitist book nerd rant about the horrible writing and flat ridiculous characters and obvious pandering to tweenage girls that think they're smarter than they really are, but I won't. Because then I'll sound like a jerk.
But I will talk about the depreciation because it goes longer than you think! Yay!
So the Twilight books are appalling to literature.
The Twilight movies are worse. So so
much worse. Horribly written, horrible delivery, actors that obviously don't care, characters even more annoying than they are in the book, etc etc. The movies are worse just because it makes all the horribleness visual.
And then there's tier 3. The fanfictions.
Or the most famous (or infamous) fanfiction of them all: Fifty Shades of Grey.
So I only read one chapter and a few quotes here and there. I won't comment on the subject of the book for obvious reasons, but I'll comment on the writing.
Man oh man. Meyer's writing is flat and basic and boring.
James' writing is so
Actually, it may be of the same quality, but thrown into sharp contrast with the hot kinky sex that is the main device driving the plot forward, it seems even more flat and basic and boring; the characters less dynamic, the story less compelling, etc.
And then. And then
, they made it into a movie. The execution of which was depressingly bad. Not disappointing (low expectations), but depressing. Flat characters made even flatter by incompatible actors, poor pacing, etc etc. The movie was the fifth tier descending from a line where the first was already terrible. It's an excitingly good time to rant about the perils of American culture when faced with the Twilight/Fifty Shades of Grey line of depreciation.
And that line was the best example I had to illustrate the Law of Proportional Depreciation.
Which was something I had a hard time putting into words, that's literally the only reason I wrote it here and criticized several hundred peoples' hard work. Or just work, I'm not entirely sure.
And I suppose all rules are made to be broken.
I can't think of any exceptions off the top of my head.
Heh I should be doing homework anyway. I was just procrastinating.