Adaption and survival are like a pair of the twin bothers deeply reflecting the nature’s measure of success---survival of the fittest. Whether in nature or in the human world, it is the eternal and unchanged truth consistently breaking through people’s traditional ideology from the defenses of the dominant group, encouraging them to learn how to adapt themselves into the ever-changing environment and greatly helping them redefine their identities and values. In the film Adaption, the world-famous director Spike Jonze challenges audiences’ traditional, fidelity-based understandings of adaption, gives them a new definition of adaption and highlights the relationship between adaption and survival in the realistic world, which can be thought of as a typical American art film with innovative themes, avant-garde subjects, complicated structure, changing styles as well as turbid thoughts. Director Spike Jonze makes full use of some specific cultural attitudes that usually comply with the relevant traditional values in the Hollywood films to form a complete irony. In this sense, it is of great significance for audiences to know how Spike Jonze explore the adaption in this film.
Released in 2002, Spike Jonze’s film titled “Adaption” mainly depicted the creation crisis that an introverted but neurotic screenwriter named Charlie Kaufman faced during his adaption of Susan Orlean’s non-fiction book “The Orchid Thief” for screen. At the age of 40, Charlie was more eager to seek for new breakthroughs and new starts in his career rather than rested on the classic style of the Hollywood films. That he was really touched by Susan’s strong feelings towards orchid also inspired him to be faithful to this original book in which John Laroche was described as the crazy orchid hunter whose passion towards orchids made Susan Orlean experience the beauty of life for the first time. However, Charlie faced more thorny problems and he could not find enough materials to enrich the contents. Even worse, his thoughts about original adaption seemed to be incompatible with the entire adaption atmosphere that was obviously inclined to serving for the Hollywood commercial films and meet the public’s certain amounts and qualities of sensory stimulation. While Charlie’s twin brother--Donald Kaufman, an ignorant and incompetent dude, seemed to have a better understanding about the essence of adaption in that his creation even helped him win more than one million dollars. Therefore, under the influence of Donald, Charlie’ adaption gradually deviated from his original intentions. The social survival should be as the premise of the adaption.
All in all, in this film, whether from the plot development, or from the double meanings of the adaptions or from the film details, or form the reality or from the fantasy, or the interactions of the cross-editing, it is safe to come to conclusion that adaption and survival are closely combined with each other and people in society should be influenced by the specific culture, learn how to adapt themselves into it and reshape their understandings of the adaption both in nature and in human world. In the first half of this film, audiences can clearly capture the main contents of the intervened and leaping narrative space and time; in the latter part of the film, audiences can see that those time and spaces subtly integrate with each other and form the unified one and make their own response upon the relations between adaption and survival. In this sense, Charlie has successfully led audiences to a wonderful journey full of anguish, happiness, stasis, breakthrough, adaption as well as the rebellious adaption. In this way, the traditional, fidelity-based understandings of adaption are challenged and changed consistently.