One of the big issues oft discussed in the literature world is these book-movie adaptations. We really like to complain about them. And sometimes, book movies do give readers legitimate reason to complain, simply because they just stink. The problem is that a lot of readers seem to evaluate the worth of a book movie based entirely on its accuracy to the book's plot, characterization, and even details. I know people who refuse to go to book movies simply because they are never satisfied with them. And that makes me really sad.
Movies aren't books, that's the thing. Movies are their own story.
When you do a book-movie adaptation, the director/producer/writers and even actors are all focusing on creating a story in a much different media form than what a book on paper is. This necessitates change. Change that will reflect what characters are thinking or feeling in a visible/audible way. Change that cuts out lots of detailing and exposition that would only bog down a medium that is all about forward motion. Change that strengthens a central point/symbolism/etc that the director/writers/producer want to stress. Change is inevitable, and every reader, I think, knows this at heart. However, when they go to this movie for something that's so dear to them, it becomes hard to think clearly about the actual movie story.
But movies aren't just for the readers, movies are for people who can't or don't read. They need a story that's set up for them too.
So here's some thoughts about a few different book movies and people's responses to them.
But my friends, who had also read the books, were angry. Very much so. I found that... strange, and I still do to this day, hence this post. Their reaction to the plot differences seemed useless to me. Why argue over something that is really a different story?
That was the day I learned about the issue of book-movie adaptations, and the first time I ever heard someone swear off book movies.
But the story is preserved, and the entire thing very well told, in its own way. This, naturally, benefits from the fact that J.K. Rowling, uniquely, was allowed a fair amount of control over the movies. Most authors don't get any control. There was only one part of the entire movie series I wish had not been removed, and that was the character revealing scene with James, Lily, and Snape in the fifth movie. Even with that, the fifth movie was one of my favorites for a very long time. It even helped me to enjoy the book more!
I did find it amusing, when my mom saw it, how many details she was able to catch that were wrong. That's the kind of thing that I see as ridiculous, but she wasn't particularly hating on them. She just pointed them all out: the trees being the wrong kinds, Buttercup being the wrong color (yeah, that was honestly weird), etc.
But really, The Hunger Games was a good movie, despite deviating away from the book. There just better be way more Peeta in Catching Fire!
Yeah. It is nice when a movie doesn't deviate, I'll admit.
But I stand by my previous point. Books and movies are not equal. If everyone would just accept that fact, and look to these adaptations as almost a new story, a different kind of story, it'd be much easier for us all! Evaluate them for themselves, not for the book--or at least try.
What are your thoughts on book-movie adaptations? Which did you hate? Which did you love? What books do you think should be made into movies?
Images via IMDB.