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Animal Farm: Comparison between Novel and Film

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Having studied Animal Farm, the novel, by George Orwell it was interesting to see the adaptation of the book within a film. The first feature noticed after viewing the film was that it was very much a film for children. The film uses live animals, with animated mouths and also uses robotic representations of the animals. The reason for this is because it would be impossible to use real animals to create some of the scenes that are needed in order to create this film. However it could also be said that Animal Farm the movie uses animals to make fun of human beings.

Within the film the strong use of colour gives it a vivid, garish, dream like quality. This helps explain different times of the year. Within the book time is often portrayed through obvious statements such as ‘Next Summer’, however to portray this within the film would be difficult, and so the use of colour gives the different effects of the time of year. The film also began with a storm giving an uncomfortable feeling. The beginning was showing what life was like after everything had happened.

The opening statement commenced, ‘Storm of judgement’. This was not the same within the book, as it was not written retrospectively; however another alteration from the novel was that the film was narrated retrospectively, through the voice of Jessie the dog. This made Jessie a bit more of a main character within the film, however she was not as main a character within the book. A lot of comedy was incorporated within the film and much of this was within the bedroom scene between Mr. Jones and Mrs. Pilkington.

The book is written very seriously and is a warning about human behaviour, whereas the film as well as consisting of comedy, it has an artificially happy ending. The film is not a perfect adaptation of the book some scenes have had to be added and some scenes removed from that in the book such as the three windmills. Instead of there being three windmills there was only one. For a screenwriter translating a the novel of Animal Farm into a dramatic script, they must focus on writing a story which uses film techniques to their fullest, instead of relying on narrative novel methods.

What this will ultimately mean is that the screenplay may differ significantly from the novel in several respects, omitting large chunks of the novel, deleting or combining characters, and inventing new scenes and characters in order to make the novels tale dramatic. It is for this reason that extra scenes were added and some were removed from the original version. The book, written by George Orwell, published in 1945, tells a simple tale of hypocrisy and deceit within a farm, which mirrors the Russian Revolution.

Each of the animal’s characters play one of the members involved within the revolution, so each of the character’s opinions and actions throughout the novel is imperative when understanding it as an account of the revolution. The book is often read as a children’s book and is therefore not usually interpreted as a version of the Russian Revolution. When understood just as a humble and modest story, the animals have human qualities such as vanity and sincerity and are consequently understood as humans.

Although the book is quite childish in its vocabulary and its syntax, the book is read as quite adult in its meaning and interpretation. Due to the fact that the film cannot be incorporated as with the parallel of the Russian Revolution, some of the serious moral message is removed, in a way not providing the actual interpretation. Once the film has started and Jessie has spoken a bit, there was a flashback. This consisted of a relatively small clip of the barn, the animals and the hills in bright sunshine, giving the impression of happiness and livelihood.

The film starts off with an idyllic countryside scene, bright colours, a typical spring morning with birds singing. As the scene moves from this image to a dark and miserable farm with deep, dramatic music, highlighted ‘Animal Farm , the audience can evidently see the comparison between this utopian image and the desolate and bleak image of Animal Farm. When this bleak image of Animal Farm was shown the music transformed accordingly. It became more horrific and cold, then suddenly when the scene changes again the music became orchestral.

There was slight irony within the beginning of the film. This was that when the Pilkingtons from next door were driving proudly into the Jones’ driveway, the children were playing around with the pigs. At this particular point their mother, Mrs Pilkington ordered her children not to play with the pigs as one day the pigs will come and play with you. Another aspect within this film is that each of the characters are more emphasised than their written counterparts.

For example, Mr Jones is emphasised as a neglectful, ignorant drunk and is meant to be hated by both the animals on the screen and the audience alike. In the book, Mr Jones is portrayed as this also, but there isn’t as much emphasis on his character, so the audience picture him for themselves. Due to these reasons the film is am adaptation of the book rather than a representation of the novel. In my opinion neither, the book nor the film is better, they are both different methods of getting the plot across to the audience.

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