Monday, October 22, 2012

Book to Film

I've been seeing a lot of debate about this all over the internet lately, and both sides of the argument really do have fair points. Should books be turned into films or should they be left alone? Does making a movie out of a favourite story ruin the book? Does it prevent people from reading? Some people are very strongly anti-books into movies and while others are sitting on the absolute other side of the fence.

Me? I have to say I'm pro- books into movies. Before you jump down my throat, let me explain. My FH is in (well, trying to break into) the film industry. His process with making a film is the same as my process in writing a book. From the very beginning he'll have a vision for the film of how he wants a story portrayed, and he becomes very passionate about it. It becomes his baby just like my writing becomes mine. I have hope that many film makers around the world are like this, and therefore when handling your baby (that is, your novel), they'll be as careful and as passionate as you are.

I know a book can be adapted into a film in a really wonderful way. If the story is handled properly it can be a great success which can consequently have more people turning to read the book. Take Twilight for example. Uh, who hasn't heard of Twilight. Well before the film, I hadn't. I saw the film, and then was compelled to read the books. Within a week I'd purchased and read all of the books. Now what about The Hunger Games? I had heard about this film called The Hunger Games that was being made, and as the release date got closer more and more people began talking about the book. I had just purchased my kindle and made The Hunger Games one of the first series I read, and then I was beyond super excited for the film. Perks of Being a Wallflower? For months before the movie came out I'd heard a lot about the book, but I never read it until I watched the trailer for the film. 

So the point I'm getting across here is that it's not a particularly bad thing for a book to be made into a film, it can increase the fan base ten fold and it can help the author to write more stories for you. Granted, what you see on the screen won't always be the vision you had in your head when you read the novel, and sometimes you will be disappointed, but isn't it cool to see one of your favourite books played out in front of you like that?

To be honest, I've rarely been disappointed with a film adaption. I'm one of those people that won't particularly scrutinize a film, but will simply take it for what it is and enjoy it. I was very disappointed with the changed ending of My Sister's Keeper, but as a stand alone story it was a really lovely film. I was also disappointed with The Last Airbender adaptation, but that wasn't from a book so is a whole new rant!

To be honest, a number of my favourite novels I've discovered through going to see a film adaptation of the book. That has often led me onto reading more of the authors work. So when I hear that books I've enjoyed are going to be made into a film (or have at least had the rights sold), I do get excited. I know watching the film won't be the same as reading the book, but I take it for what it is and enjoy seeing how the film makers have made the story into a 90-minute portrayal.

In saying all that, I do get very nervous when a beloved book is being made into a film. I'm nervous about Divergent going to the screen. While it sounds like the film is in good hands, I can't help but worry about the casting, a known actress vs unknown, the director, how they'll shoot it etc. But at the end of the day, you can' t please everybody! We just have to sit back and let the professionals do their job!

What are your thoughts on books --> films. What are your favourite films that have been adapted from a book? For more film chit chat, check back on Wednesday for a book-->film themed Road Trip Wednesday

10 comments:

  1. I have to say, I am all about books being turned into films. I will probably always like the book better, but it's still great to see these things come alive on screen. I can't think of too many book-to-movie adaptations that have been disappointing. I'm especially thrilled that so many YA books are making it onto the screen. The more the merrier, I say! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great minds Jaime! I totally agree :)

      Delete
  2. I think many of the problems people have with film adaptations of novels arise from the fact that these are two very different media. A failure to appreciate this fact is bound to result in constant disappointment with film versions of favourite books. Most film makers are diligent to include the words "Based on the novel by..." somewhere in the opening titles. I think for a lot of people, these words mean "A slavish, word-perfect rendition of the novel by..." when that's precisely NOT what it means. It means the film maker has taken the basic storyline and characters, and re-created them as a motion picture. Once we can learn to disassociate the novel and the movie, and treat them as separate entities, we can then fairly assess both.

    All that said, when I compare a book with its movie version, I don't critique where "they left this out," or "they added that." I simply ask myself; "which story did I enjoy most?" I usually end up enjoying the novel version, simply because there's usually more to it--more character development, deeper plotting, more getting-inside-the-MC's-head, etc. But that doesn't always mean the movie version was bad. Just different, usually enjoyable, but not as much as the book.

    One exception: THE DEVIL WEARS PRADA. I enjoyed the movie more than the novel. I preferred Andrea's character in the movie than in the novel. And Meryl Streep is just amazing in that movie. Novel Miranda came to life in Streep's hands, and had a bit more dimension to her.

    There are my thoughts for what they're worth. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They're worth a lot :) I especially love your second paragraph, that's exactly how I take it as well. When it comes down to it, I enjoy them both as separate entities and I know it's not a direct translation of the book.

      The one film I loved more than the book is actually Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close. I liked the book, but I found the film much more interesting.

      Delete
  3. An interesting blog topic considering you're from the country chosen to be Middle Earth in the Lord of the Rings movies! Tolkien always said he didn't want movies made of his books (he was picturing some Disney-like cartoon), but if he could see the end result of Peter Jackson's movies I often wonder if he would have changed his mind. With special effects being so advanced now they can bring books to life in many ways they couldn't before. I think that makes a huge difference when it comes to translating the magic of certain books to the big screen. Now special effects are seamless and believable, which helps do justice to the story.

    That being said, I agree that books will always trump movies for me. The rule in our house is you read the book first and watch the movie second. The main reason for that is we want our son to use his own imagination to picture the story first before having a movie director influence him.

    When I love a book, I think it's so much fun to see it come alive in a new way, so while I'm loyal to the book, I'm always excited to see the movie!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha yeah, it's funny how in the last 12 years New Zealand has finally made it onto the map, however we're completely known as either "Middle Earth" or "The place the Flight of the Conchords" came from.

      I would really hope Tolkien would have changed his mind after he saw what PJ did with the film. He poured his heart and soul into it and I feel he did justice to those books. I'm looking forward to seeing what he has done with The Hobbit too.

      I love the rule you have in your house! That's a good one. I try and impose that on myself. It only fails when I see a movie that I don't realise has been based on a book! I agree, I remain loyal to the printed word, but always love to see how the portray it on film

      Delete
  4. I, too am not opposed to books being turned into films. There are several that have been done well. There are others that don't make me feel either angry or especially excited (The Hunger Games is a good example of that). One movie that I LOVED and thought was just as good as the book is Mysterious Skin. The movie stars Joseph Gordon-Levitt. You should check it out if you haven't seen it! Good post :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely. There are some books that are made into great films, and some that really don't enthuse me too much. I've never heard of Mysterious Skin, the book or the film, but I might have to check it out! Thanks for the comment!

      Delete
  5. I'm definitely not against turning books into movies. In fact, when I read a book, I typically try to imagine it as it would play out on the big screen (or maybe I just have unrealistic dreams about being a serious actress). Yeah, it sucks when the movie adaptation isn't so great, but someone out there likely enjoyed it, or maybe it inspired someone to read the book.

    I will admit that I am nervous about Divergent being a movie, too. Same for City of Bones. I really want them to be as awesome as the books, but I won't be overly angry if they're not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I do too! Try and imagine how it would be in the movies! (I also have unrealistic dreams...)

      Oh yeah, City of Bones - I haven't read it yet but I really want to before the movie comes out!

      Delete