Never Judge a Book by its Movie

I needed to be in the right frame of mind to write this post; the rational, not too irate frame of mind. I all but develop a twitch when people talk about book to movie adaptations without reading the book first. Even worse when they detest the movie, but I know the book was a million times better… <deep breaths>.

I’ve been in many a debate about adaptations, and many people believe that the books and films should be viewed as totally separate things. I’m sorry, but no. Why make a book into a movie if you’re going to significantly alter the narrative, omit characters, and pretty much screw the story over. Go and write your own screenplay if that is the case.

Don’t get me wrong, a successful book to movie adaptation requires creativity. It’s not simply translating a book to screen. It’s about interpreting the novel and emphasising the parts that sell movies and engage the audience. However, that doesn’t mean changing the story. I want creative fidelity… I don’t want much, eh?

Successful Adaptations:

Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling.

I’m a huge fan of both the books and the movies. The most important thing about adaptations for me, is that they stay as true to the story as possible. I feel that the directors of the Harry Potter films have done exactly that. This is partly thanks to JK Rowling’s involvement on the films, keeping a watchful eye over her baby.

The last few movies lacked the detail you gain from the books, but that’s due to the fast paced nature of the films. They did, however, stay true to J.K Rowling’s story arc.

Book Link: Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling

Film Trailer: Harry Potter Trailer

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

I will stick my neck out and say that if I had to pick my one favourite book it would be Jane Eyre. I love this book to such an extent that I was almost scared to watch the movie adaptation. I thoroughly enjoyed the series adaptations through the years, but the film with Michael Fassbender and Mia Wasikowska worried me. However, I watched  it and thought it beautifully scripted and acted, and I fell in love all over again.

The ending was a little abrupt compared to the book, but the tone of the movie was spot on.

Book Link: Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Film Trailer: Jane Eyre Trailer

Adaptation Failures:

The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.

I adored the book, but what in the name of all that is good, happened with the film? The worst adaptation I have ever had the displeasure to sit through. What were you thinking, Peter Jackson?

Alice Sebold describes, in shocking detail, the rape and murder of Susie Salmon by her neighbour, Mr Harvey, but she does so with a poetic brilliance. It is of such significance to the book, that it happens in the first chapter. However, the film omits the whole scene, not even touching on Susie’s murder, other than to show the perverted neighbour’s underground lair, and Susie as a ghost.

The film lacks the mournful soul of the book. It is either trying to freak the audience out or dazzle them with bizarre heaven fantasy scenes.

Book Link: The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

Film Trailer: The Lovely Bones Trailer

Insurgent by Veronica Roth.

The first film, Divergent, was enjoyable, true to the story arc, and gave me no complaints. The Insurgent film, however, was undeniably different from the book. I spent the whole movie thinking, ‘What is in that box? There was never a box in the book. This is all too much for me.’

They leave out Marcus Eaton’s story arc almost completely, and instead of Tori killing Jeanine, they have Evelyn do it?

The movie itself would have been enjoyable… if I hadn’t read the book.

And just as a side note- Why’d they pick Naomi Evans to play Theo James’ mother?

Book Link: Insurgent by Veronica Roth

Film Trailer: Insurgent Trailer

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5 thoughts on “Never Judge a Book by its Movie

  1. I have to disagree with you on Insurgent. I never read the book and I still didn’t find the movie to be at all compelling. It was pretty much laughably bad in some places. In fact, when the scene came up with Four’s mother calling him Tobias, I humorously yelled out, “My name is Four!” because sometimes I like to say ridiculous things during movies that I know the characters wouldn’t say for the sake of at least serviceable writing. So you can imagine my breakout of laughter when Four pounded his hand on the table and yelled, “My name is Four!” immediately following my having already said it. I couldn’t take the film seriously after that. I’m not sure I took the film seriously before that.

    But I agree with you on Divergent. I kind of liked it (It’s no Twilight, but what is?). So much so that in my second book, I put in a little reference to it in which two female characters see a group of guys running past them then a short time later see the same group run past them again to which they point and call out, in unison, “Dauntless!”

    You know, because in Divergent the Dauntless group is usually running everywhere.

    I thought it was funny.

    It’s probably not.

    That said, this was a great post. I enjoyed reading it. 🙂

    Like

    1. Thank you- I deliberately left Twilight out as I’m not a fan of the whole possessive, old man boyfriend, and damsel in distress story- bleugh! When it comes to Twilight the films are better than the books. It pains me to say it, and it is the only time I will ever say it.

      Yep, Divergent was much better. Perhaps, if they stuck more closely to the Insurgent book narrative it would be a different scenario.

      I love cultural references in novels, especially YA novels. If they don’t understand the reference, then it’s their loss in my opinion 😉 I’d appreciate a good Dauntless reference!

      Back to Divergent and Insurgent- I could never take Four seriously after my other half pointed out that Four is actually the guy from The Inbetweeners movie who gets shit on his nose… breaking the fantasies of Four fans everywhere!!!

      Liked by 1 person

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