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Monday, January 20, 2014

Monday Discussion: How Do You Feel About Books Made Into Movies

It's movie awards season, which means people are talking about all of the books that have been turned into great movies.  This year, there seems to be a bumper crop of movies, in many categories, based on books.  This article in The Christian Science Monitor discusses it all.

But for every good movie that has been based (even very, very loosely) on a book, there are plenty of terrible one.  In fact, some great movies that were based on a book are a terrible representation of the book but still an excellent movie in their own right.  A current example is Frozen, a very good movie that does not share much with its source material, The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Anderson.

Currently, my daughter is devouring Divergent.  She loves the book, the story, and especially the Chicago setting. Now, she is so excited to the see the movie version coming out in March.

I told her I would take her, but in the back of my head, I am worried for her.  She loves the book and chances are that the movie will not live up to her expectations.  Maybe I am wrong, but I have been let down so many times by the movie version of a favorite book that I am at the point where I go out of my way NOT to see a movie if it is based on a book I enjoyed.

All of this made me think of throwing this issue out to the rest of you.  How do you feel when you find out one of your favorite books is being made into a movie?  Do you run away in panic? Are your cautiously optimistic?

For today's Monday Discussion, share your feeling about books made into movies, whatever they are.

For pat Monday Discussions, click here.


Betty said...

The worst ever, I believe, was the movie version of Correlli's Mandolin with Nicholas Gage. Scraped a vapid plot out of a full-bodied, sad and lyrical book.

John BPL RA said...

Generally speaking, movies don't live up to the books they were based on. Usually it is because they have to chop down the storyline to fit into a two-hour film or because of bad casting decisions. There are some exceptions though. I really wish they would make a Vampire Diaries movie. Also a True Blood movie. The books were so popular and they were huge as TV shows. What are they waiting for? It's as if Hollywood has lost all business sense.

Carey Gibbons said...

I think a movie adaptation's quality depends on the talents of those involved and the author of the original source material and whether or not he/she is involved. I love The Hunger Games and Catching Fire movies. I dislike most of the Harry Potter movies. I'm really picky about movie adaptations, not because I need to see every aspect of the book in the movie, but because I feel a lot of them miss the point of the book. Then again, Apocalypse Now is one of my favorite movies of all time. It's different from Conrad's Heart of Darkness but retained the spirit of the original.

bplTEENS Tara said...

Books and film are two very different media. Adapting one for the other takes finesse and dedication to the central themes of the work, but also an understanding of both media. We all hear about how film adaptations don't live up to the novel. And they never will; they're not books. They can't do what books do, but that doesn't mean they can't be good movies. Peter Jackson's The Hobbit is a beautifully-made, action-packed film full of complex characters and compelling plot lines. But, it is NOT J.R.R. Tolkien's The Hobbit. It has some of the same words, but it's a completely different beast. And, I want to love it for its own worth. But, I just can't. And, it's not because it doesn't live up to the book. It's because Bilbo doesn't look like I've always pictured him (which he doesn't). It's not because Jackson's depiction of Rivendell didn't fully encapsulate the magic and majesty of the Elves (which it can't because it's stuck in reality). It was because Jackson didn't stay true to the story and the nature of the characters. He made Bilbo an intentional hero and made the dwarves badass warriors on a mission to regain their glory and honor. In the book, Bilbo was more lucky than smart and the dwarves were bumbling idiots. Yet, Bilbo still managed to succeed. That was the whole point. Jackson missed that. And that's why I can't love his Hobbit as I do Tolkien's. There are some wonderful adaptations as well, but I ranted too long and now there's no room for anything else. Sorry.

Donna said...

Since I enjoy a good long philosophical novel, I accept the fact going in that there are two works of art with the same title and probably the same character names, but which bear little resemblance to one another. "Les Miserables" is a good example. Fine as a movie/play for what it is, but missing a lot of the important stuff that's in the book. Of course, most people don't want a 12 hour movie. Same is true of "War and Peace" and the Henry Fonda movie version. I especially disliked the movie "Man of La Mancha" because "Don Quioxte" is such a stunning novel which any movie will never be able to capture. Songs were nice, but the whole movie missed the message of the book.

Tracy G. said...

I am generally more inclined to see a movie based on a book I have read and enjoyed. Even if I hear terrible things, my curiosity will get the better of me.

This even includes stomaching video game adaptations after the Resident Evil broke my young heart haha