Posted on by Scott Delahunt

First of all, a huge apology for falling off schedule. I had meant to get something written for last week, but circumstances got in the way. Second, apologies again, for not doing a review. Similar reasons. That out of the way, this time out, I’ll show my methodology when writing a review for Lost in Translation.

One of the things I try to do is get some of the background of the original work, whether it’s a technique, a different approach, or something that advanced the state of the art of the medium. Often, the original work isn’t readily available or is relatively unknown while the remake/adaptation is available everywhere. This means that I need access to the original. Ideally, I’ll have already watched, read, or listened to the original work before even seeing the remake or adaptation. This gives me a baseline to compare to, the core of the review process.

Next, of course, is to view the remake/adaptation. In this, I do try to keep an open mind. I can’t approach with the idea of, “They changed it, thus now it sucks.” I have to let the new material stand or fail on its own merits first, then compare to the original. This is the tricky part. Part of Lost in Translation is to see what went right as well as what went wrong. Sometimes, the point of failure isn’t obvious. Saying, “It sucks!”* doesn’t do anyone any good. Finding what went wrong and noting how the problem could’ve been avoided, if possible, does.

Third step, write the review. In a perfect world, I’d have a six to eight week buffer built up and ready to go so that there’s no schedule slippage. Unfortunately, I live in this world** and slippage happens. Sometimes I don’t have the time to watch a remake. Sometimes I don’t have access to the original. A planned review of The Addams Family with Raul Julia keeps getting pushed back because I need to find a few of the original comics strips.

I’m going to take a moment to do an aside. My preference is to go to the original work and make direct comparisons. If I’m commenting on a Sherlock Holmes adaptation, I will read or re-read one of the original stories as a refresher before watching the remake. Using secondary and tertiary sources, such as Wikipedia or IMDB is reserved to double check dates and to jar my memory. My preference, especially for TV shows and movies, is the commentary*** in the special features. Interviews included in the special features are also handy for my purposes.

Once I get the review written, I go back and fill in details that I skipped over in the name of finishing the writing. Minor fact checking gets notated with a [?], while major work research work is highlighted. I make sure any links I need are in my notes so I can add the hyperlinks before posting.

The last part, the posting, involves making sure that spelling is good, that my markup notations are properly replaced, and the paragraphing isn’t broken. I add the needed tags, make sure that I’ve left nothing out, then schedule for Saturday morning.

And that’s what happens behind the curtain.

Coming up on Lost in Translation
More reviews.
Guest spots.
An example of me using what I’ve discovered about remakes and adaptation using my NaNoWriMo project as a base.

* Like Jay Sherman.
** When I’m not allowed to be in my own little world.
*** I learned a lot about film making by having /Die Hard/’s commentary turned on.

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