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Film Art: An Introduction
David Bordwell, Kristin Thompson
The Metamorphosis - Franz Kafka, Kirsten Hasenpusch, Peter Kuper A comic adaptation of Kafka's famous story of the same name. It's what you'd expect from such an adaptation, really. There's not much new in the way of story (as is preferable with most adaptations) but the visual element actually takes away many of the things that made the text so good, e.g. the ambiguity, the symbolism, etc. In the text there's a constant air of uncertainty. With the added visual element things are much more literal and blunt. Which is why I'm hesitant to call this an adaptation (in the true sense at least). If it were an adaptation it would strive to present the same emotions and thoughts as the material it is adapting did, by means of a different medium. This graphic novel didn't quite fully achieve that. Which is why I see this more as an interpretation rather than an adaptation. It is merely showing a single way to interpret a story that can be interpreted countless ways. So it's better to view this (and indeed many works feigning adaptation as well) as an interpretation rather than a strict adaptation.

So the question must be then, how well was it interpreted? (a bit of a matter of subjectivity, no doubt, but critique-able nonetheless). Well, to start off, the presentation is very nice. The art style has a sense of expressionism and is quite beautiful in all its black & white glory. The lettering is nice too (it's font, not handwritten) and doesn't only appear in speech bubbles or boxes, but instead you'll find the text bending around the corners of the panels or swirling around characters and lingering on their bodies. The text is very involved; part of the story rather than on top of it. The art style, along with the text, do well to reflect the mood of a scene, whether it be anxiety or sorrow.

I daresay that the art style is just as pleasing if not more so than Robert Crumb's rendition of The Metamorphosis in R. Crumb's [b:Kafka|61352|Kafka|David Zane Mairowitz|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1328056589s/61352.jpg|59672]. I will say, however, that Peter Kuper took some very obvious influence from Crumb's rendition, especially in regards to character and location designs. I might as well also take this time to mention (and indeed recommend) Caroline Leaf's wonderful animated adaptation, The Metamorphosis Of Mr. Samsa, of which I still believe is the finest portrayal of the story (and the most beautiful too!).

In conclusion it's a fine adaptation (ahem! I mean interpretation) that will amuse nearly all but will surprise very few, especially if you've already read Kafka's story (which I highly recommend).

It deserves a bit more than 3 stars but a bit less than 4 (damn you, Goodreads, give me my half stars!), so a 3.5 it is. Recommended for fans of Kafka, but this is far from substitute.