One of the big issues that always seems to show up in the literature world is these book-movie adaptations. People in the literature world 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, a lot of readers seem to decide the worth of a book movie based entirely on its accuracy to the book's plot, characterization, and even small 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 only bogs 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. As an author, this is an important thing to me. Having my work made into a movie would be an incredible opportunity to spread the central idea I am working with even further. Doing it in a different way doesn't eliminate the strength of this.
I guess to round this post out, I'll talk about a few different book movies and people's responses to them, with my own thoughts.
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 and other details that had been changed seemed useless to me. Why argue over something that is really a different story? A movie is different from a book. That is a fact.
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 to this day had not been removed, and that was the character revealing scene in the fifth movie with James, Lily, and Snape. Even with that, the fifth movie was one of my favorites for a very long time. I had hated the fifth book. With the movie, the concept of it cleared in my head, and now I enjoy the book as well.
In movie format? The little details don't matter so much. And sometimes that's a good thing. Books will always be more important to me than movies, but movies have their own beauty. It's all in the storytelling.
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 at least she wasn't 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 deviances away from the book. There just better be way more Peeta in Catching Fire!
Yeah. It is nice when a movie doesn't deviate.
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 to enjoy. Book movies don't have to be accurate. They just have to tell a good story.
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 the respective movie studios.