Thursday, February 18, 2010

Think About It Thursday (4): Movie/Show Adaptations

Image used under Creative Commons - Original belongs to Salady
This isn't so much a 'Think About It' post, as it is a rant, but anyway.

Today I want to talk about books being turned into movies or television shows. Recently, The Twilight Saga, The Vampire Diaries, Dear John, Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief, as well as numerous other books or book series have been adapted for film or television. I've found that a lot of the time, the movies or shows pale in comparison to books. Sometimes they veer so far from the book that I can't even stand the movie or show.

I absolutely hated The Da Vinci Code because I read the book. I've heard other people thought it was a brilliant movie, but they never read the book. I personally believe that Twilight was a horrendous movie and I saw Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief over the past weekend and it was so far from the book that I couldn't really enjoy it. The people I went with had never read the book and they really enjoyed the movie, but the entire time I was watching it, I just kept thinking, this isn't right, that's not what happened, and they left that out. I'll have both a book review and a movie review thingy later on, but I can't help but think that sometimes books should just be left as books.

It's awesome to see some of your favorite literary characters brought to life, but only if it is done well. That, or you're able to completely separate the two and not be upset when things change. I'm able to do this with Harry Potter and I did really enjoy New Moon, but with other book to movie adaptations, I have more trouble.

So, to conclude my little (long) rant here: I think that if books are being turned into movies or shows, that the integrity of the story must be maintained. I'm not saying hair color or eye color can't be changed, but the important things and the major happenings need to translate. One thing about Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief that really bugged me, was that the Oracle wasn't present at all. There were tons of little things that got on my nerves, but there was no Oracle and the prophecy isn't discussed at all. Those are such major things, not only in the first book, but in the entire series, and it's completely cut out.

Let's hear those opinions!
Books to movies or tv shows?? Should it be done? I think the author should be able to step in a bit to help maintain the integrity of his/her art, but it rarely occurs. Do you think Hollywood should be more accommodating to the writers? Or is it always just going to be the whole 'we payed you and now it's ours to do with as we please' kind of deal?

-Side note: I've never read any of The Vampire Diaries books or Dear John, so I have no opinion on the adaptations. They were just examples.


Rheanna said...

I agree with your argument here. I usually get very excited when I see some of my favorite books being turned into movies. However; most of the time it is just a huge let down ): But I do have to commend shows like TruBlood, and movies like The Devil Wears Prada who stay pretty true to their book roots. I also wish if you're gonna use a book to create movie magic (and not be original) at least do that novel justice.

Elisabeth Marie said...

I'm fine with books to movies. It's hard sometimes to enjoy a movie if you know that's not the way something worked in the book so I think really it's about training yourself to be able to differentiate between the two and realize when you go see a movie about a book it really is a movie ABOUT a book and will not be the whole book on screen.

MannaB said...

I agree with you...One example that really bugged me was A Series of Unfortunate Events. I was so peeved when I found out that Jim Carrey was playing Olaf because he made into one big joke. Also the movie Ella Enchanted went off course too much, but I still somehow enjoyed the movie...

BrittLit said...

I find it really hard to go from book to movie, but it's much easier to go movie to book. Sometimes it ruins the book a bit if it's not very good and you know how it ends. But with certain books like Fight Club it's fine that you already knew what was going on.

Nikki (Wicked Awesome Books) said...

There are some book-to-movie adaptations that completely rock, but other times I think the movie just kills it. I can't really give an opinion on the ones mentioned because I've never read the books, but I always try to do what Elisabeth Marie said and keep them separate. It can be tough at times though.

Even though some book to movie translation get me angry, I always find myself excited when I hear it's happening. I guess I'll just have to prepare myself for disappointment and hopefully be pleasantly surprised.

Stephanie said...

I was really disappointed by the absence of the oracle and the prophecy in The Lightning Thief, too. I wonder if they thought it would be hard to bring the oracle to life without making it cheesy.

I think the thing that bugged me the most about The Lightning Thief was their aging the kids and making them seem sexy. I know it must be hard to find young actors, but the characters they portrayed were barely related to the book characters I knew and loved, and I just couldn't connect with them.

misskallie2000 said...

I realize that the movie lasts 2 hrs and there is no way they can get into the movie all the good/important parts of the book. But I think the author should have input as to what is most important in the telling of the story. Some books that I have read were made into movies and they did more or less stick to the book but did not have the time to include everything and the movie was ok. Not great but ok. Movies have to make money so they do change or add to make it more appealing to an audience or the paying public.

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