Read this, watch that
It’s one of the most highly discussed topics in recent history. It can insight feuds even among the closest friends. It is the one question that really doesn’t have a right answer. Which is better? The book? Or the movie?
You’ve heard this discussion too, probably many times. The long hours usually just play out by each side explaining their thinking. Voices get raised and people begin to walk away. In the end, neither side gives up and the topic is unresolved. Does this sound familiar?
The truth is, you really can’t compare the two. They’re two different mediums. Both the book and movie have to be judged separately, because they’re always different. This is what my college minor in film self tells me. In fact, I took a whole class dedicated to the differences between novel and film. Unfortunately, sometimes it’s hard to see it that way.
When any beloved book is turned into a movie, there is always that moment of fright. Will it stay true to the book? What scenes are they going to change? Will it be terrible? It’s a guessing game. If a small amount of the storyline from the book is intact, the film industry see’s it as a successful re-imagining of the source material. Which to I say . . . Well I can’t say, because there might be young ears in the room.
Time and time again, I’ve been disappointed in book to movie adaptations. The Da Vinci Code and Twilight seem to be the obvious examples. Both have a blatant disregard for the original novel. Scenes have been added, scenes have been radically changed, and the storylines aren’t parallel to the book. I don’t expect it to be the same (Actually, I do). It can’t be the same. But is it so hard to ask that it stay true to the original source material? I don’t think so.
I think with any book you love, you will always feel like the book is better. However, there are exceptions. Forrest Gump is an exception. The book is strangely different from the film. I don’t even remember any scene from the book being in the film. In the book, Forrest Gump becomes an astronaut and lives with cannibals. I don’t know about you, but I never saw that. In my opinion, the film is a million times better than the novel. I can’t even recognize the novel. Forrest Gump, the film, is perfection. And the book is not.
Those are the two usual groups that novel to film adaptations fall in – love it or hate it. But, is there an in-between? Yes. I believe there is. The two that come to mind are The Notebook and Harry Potter. There are some slight differences between the novels and film versions, but they still stay true to the original. The films complement their novel counterparts. There can be a successful adaptation from page to screen. It’s very rare, but it does happen.
Love it or hate it, these money hungry film industries are going to continue to make novel to film adaptations. Some good, some bad, some okay. It’s all up in the air. No matter how much I would like to see every adaptation true to the original, it won’t happen. Most studios only care whether a film will make money, not if it the film will accurately capture the novel. In some cases, it works out. Mostly, it doesn’t. From the page to the screen, there are always going to be successes and failures. If only there was a way to make sure that failure never happens to the books we love.
What book to movie adaptations do you love? Which do you hate? Which ones are in-between? Have you seen an adapted movie that made you want to read the novel? Which future novel to film adaptations are you looking forward to? Tell me in the comments!