Pages - Menu


Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Pin It



The transition from novel to film is (usually) a rocky one. In more recent years, the use of popular novels in Hollywood has become the norm, especially for the Young Adult audience. With every film adaptation of a novel, there are three kinds of people that I come across: the reader, the movie-goer, and the hybrid. Being that I live 85% of my life on the internet, I think I have a pretty good grasp on the general consensus of most fandoms, and therefore I feel like an ambassador of sorts for these, ahem, "special fans" that congregate on websites like Tumblr. I understand them; I speak their language, but I can also comment on the inherit flaws that plague the vision of a legit fangirl.

THE READER: Ah, the reader. I, myself, fit only into this category for many years. The reader is that friend that has read every book that could ever possibly be made into a movie. This seems impossible, but the reader either a) reads everything or b) trolls sites that predict upcoming adaptations and reads all of them. This may seem strange, but the reader has a very specific method to their madness. The reader knows that the movie will NEVER do the book justice. In the reader's mind, the movie is a distraction from the subtleties and heart of the book. Unfortunately, no casting choice could possibly be right. It doesn't matter if they make the movie three hours, or they split it up into two parts, the movie will always leave essential elements out. The reader assumes that there is no way in hell that anyone who only watches the movie could possibly understand the story as well as the reader does. And they will not let you forget this fact. Ever.

THE MOVIE-GOER: Alas, the polar opposite of the reader. The movie-goer may be a film fanatic, or perhaps they simply do not enjoy reading, but for them, the movie is enough. They will argue endlessly over the decision to watch a two hour film vs reading for weeks, to essentially garner the same result. Think of all of the stories you could enjoy if you only had to watch them for two hours each! The movie-goer doesn't feel like they have missed out on anything, and they would probably be bothered by all the excess detail that a book might offer. Whatever the case may be, these people are NOT interested in reading the source material.

THE HYBRID: The hybrid is the dream participant in either medium of entertainment. The hybrid read a handful of books this year, three of which they made into movies. The hybrid went to the theater, maybe a matinee the week after its release, saw the film with a couple of friends, and engaged in a tasteful discussion once the entire party had vacated the theater. While the book did offer a more meaningful glimpse into the mind of a soldier in WWI, the movie did make excellent use of special effects and score. The hybrid realizes the limitations of both art forms and therefore does not attempt to hold them side by side and analyze them. Both have their strengths, both will have their weaknesses, but without getting their hopes up for something extraordinary, they managed to enjoy the story just fine.

I'd like to think I have become a hybrid, but I went through all three of these phases at one point or another. When I saw the Time Traveler's Wife in theaters, I was furious. Ruined the book! Recently, I saw Divergent with some friends who had read the books (I have not), and I loved it (to their horror). I think the lesson learned is that there is never a perfect place to be when it comes to a cinematic adaptation of a literary classic (or literary trash), so you might as well float peacefully somewhere in the middle.


  1. I think I'm guilty of being all three!

  2. Concerning certain books, I find myself too attached to share my loyalties with any other medium. A lot of times, the movie is so bad, it feels like a personal attack on the book. I mean, thanks a lot... who will read the book now that the face of Eric Bana (worst actor ever) is on the cover (ahem, Time Traveler's Wife)?! Seriously, why do movies insist on casting actors in roles where they can't even try to act, because they're busy focusing on their terrible accents? But I digress... I think the argument with this train of thought is that we are allowing someone else to bring our own imaginations to life--to do the work for us. And for those of us with huge imaginations, they may not do it justice.

    But I do enjoy watching movies, so I try to recognize that the two can exist independently of each other. Some movies can even be better than their book counterparts, though this is rare. To me, the Lord of Rings trilogy proves that movies can succeed in bringing our beloved characters to life, evoke the same emotions as the book, and even exceed our imaginations with stimulating visuals and ground-breaking special effects--that scene where Legolas uses an enemy shield to skateboard down a flight of stairs while simultaneously killing a dozen Orcs with his bow and arrow? Yes, please.

    So I like to think of myself as a hybrid as well, but I will NEVER forgive the Harry Potter movies for allowing Michael Gambon to kill Dumbledore before Snape ever had the chance.

  3. Amen about Legolas. Though, all credit should PROBABLY be given to Orlando Bloom.