Thursday, August 29, 2013

From Words to the Screen: Book to Movie Adaptations


Every year the movie industry is always brimming with the latest concoction of Hollywood and among the long list of titles, we will surely see something that stems its origins from novels. I am honestly one of those readers that tend to jump into the wagon once a book is about to become “A Major Motion Picture”. Recently I read City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (the review of the book will be coming out, eventually) all because of the film adaptation. It is nice to see the effect of movie adaptations towards people, enticing them to read the novel before going to see the movie, and for me as an aspiring novelist I would be totally lying if I didn’t want my novel to be translated into the silver screen and have the same effect.


Adaptation
Adapting a book into a 2 to 3 hour movie is, I'm only guessing, a herculean task. Although the efforts of Hollywood in participating in the literary pop culture is admirable, the outcome of their adaptations can fall in to these categories (DISCLAIMER: This is stemming only from my own personal views and is not an actual fact but only an opinion):

a) Faithful Adaptation
The biggest thing for some bibliophiles are looking for in an adaptation is the faithfulness of the screenplay to the book/s. Most are incredibly meticulous in the details of the original story and how it was projected into the movie that they would go out on a limb just to nitpick those details out of the film. So when a film captures the book perfectly be prepared for greatness.

Here are a few personal adaptations that I think is faithful:
1) The Help
2) Memoirs of a Geisha
3) The Harry Potter Film Franchise

b) What The Hell? Adaptation
This kind of adaptation is the nightmare of all book lovers out there. These are films that either screwed the whole premise or the quality of the film wasn't up to par with expectations of the movie goers. 

Personal example of films like this are as follows:
1) The Lightning Thief
2) Beautiful Creatures

Personally, I feel disappointed with the adaptations involving the Young Adult or YA novels. The main reason I think is that movie makers almost always change something major, that is essential in the plot of the novel, for whatever reason and that usually pisses me off as a fan of the novel. I know that you can’t breakdown the whole book into a one and a half to two hour movie experience but why change scenes that are completely different from the novel?

Christine Riccio of PolandBananasBooks and PolandBananas20, a Booktuber and Youtube personality, discussed about the topic at hand in the latter part of her TMI: City of Bones movie review and I agree with a lot of what she said (13:50-15:23 to be specific). This particular statement really got me thinking:

“The thing is a lot of them [book to movie adaptations] are shittingly done because Hollywood is like ‘I can make a lot of money off of this built-in fan base - haha suckers’. YA adaptations belittle their audience. We want better quality shit and they think we’re happy with shitty shit. You’re belittling us and you’re belittling the story when you try to smoosh it into a teeny-bopper format.”

I am just saddened that movie makers think that we, the readers and lovers of the novels, will be easily satisfied with an adaptation even though it wasn’t well adapted at all. They have to value us, the readers, when they create movies like these because we are the ones that are so attached to the books they are adapting and let’s face it we are the harshest of critics.

c) Wild Card Adaptation
Have you guys ever had an experience wherein you saw a movie adaptation of your favorite book and the whole movie changed almost everything about the story while leaving just a few bits and pieces yet oddly enough you found yourself enjoying the whole film?

Or

You read a book that, in your opinion, sucked as hell however it was adapted into a really well-made movie, in which you suddenly liked the movie more than the book?

I did experience those scenarios with the following movies:
1) Confessions of A Shopaholic (Scenario A)
2) The Devil Wears Prada (Scenario B)

Book to Movie Adaptation is, in my opinion, a really tricky endeavor which definitely requires a whole lot of courage if one wants it to be successful. Movie-makers also has to realize that in order to have a successful franchise they should be able to satisfy the people that loved the books. We aren't easily fooled anymore, we are much more opinionated and we are not afraid to tell the truth. 

What were the best or worst book-to-movie adaptations you have watched? What are your thoughts about this topic? Please do share it by commenting down below.

Happy Reading/Watching,

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