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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

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Adaptations: The Book vs. The Movie

The latest trend in Hollywood seems to be leaning towards making anything but original content. There are sequels. There are movies based on plays, based on video games, based on other movies! But the most popular things to base movies on are books.

This is great for the kids in high school who have refused to do their summer reading, because there's probably a movie based on whatever book they've skipped. But is it great for all of the book fans of the world? It's fun to see your favorite characters come to life, but it can be heartbreaking when it's done poorly.

I work in the entertainment industry, and I know that movies can't be the same as the books. There are certain things that work in a book that just will not work on screen. I get it. And yet I still get disappointed if my favorite scene is taken out or something is just completely wrong. But what really disappoints me is when the adaptation misses the whole point of the book.
The Lovely Bones, for example, is a great book that is about how everyone deals with death differently, including the deceased. I felt like the movie adaptation missed that. It was a thriller, a mystery who-done-it, which does make for a better movie, but everything I loved about the book seemed to be muted in the background.
And let's not even talk about Life of Pie! I LOVED the book, and really did not like the movie. It was so bland compared to the book. The book inspired so much awe, I got goosebumps while reading. The movie was just me thinking how fake Richard Parker looked.

But there are some movies that, I think, actually enhance the book. The Help is a great book and movie. The two compliment each other. And I don't have any problems with the changes made for the big screen, because the movie stuck to the heart of the book.
The Great Gatsby is another great example of this. I am not a huge fan of the book. The characters, especially Daisy, were spoiled and boring to me. But when I saw them in the theater, I understood them. They truly came to life for me. Now, if you don't like Baz Luhrmann's style, you probably won't like the movie. But I actually liked it more than the book.

So what do you think? Do you love adaptations? Hate them? Do you get really excited or really nervous when you find out one of your favorite books will make it over to the big screen?


  1. It can go either way, but I'm less afraid of book adaptations than sequels. That said, any movie that features shit pie is a winner in my book.

    1. That's true. Sequels can definitely be worse than adaptations.

  2. Love them but I really do get disappointed when my favorite parts of a book are left out or characters that were essential in the books turn into background characters on screen.