Adaptations – Part 2
I discussed book to movie adaptations waaayyy back when I’d just started this meme two years ago. Back then, I didn’t even think I could ever form a decisive opinion on the matter. Yet here I am, opinionated and decisive.
***You might want to read last week’s Bookmarked Thoughts where I discussed what I define as a good movie so you can see where I’m coming from.
Books and movies are different forms of media for a reason. Movies are a collection of images; books are a collection of words. They do different things, move us in different ways. However, I feel many people overlook a key difference between books and movies and therefore have a misconception about what a movie adaptation is.
Books can only suggest images, while movies show actual images. I believe one of the reasons we read, and the beauty of it, is that two people can read the same book and take something different from it. There is so much room for personal interpretation, because how I feel about a book reflects more about me than the book itself. The reason I see things a certain way is because of my experiences up to that date. That’s why a book is so magical – it gives you the words so you can build whatever picture you like. When that book becomes a movie, I’m seeing the producer/director’s interpretation of the book. The images shown in the movie aren’t the ‘right’ ones; they don’t show you ‘how things are’ in the book – it’s just a visual representation of the book, one out of many.
With that in mind…
The problem I have with adaptations is that most take books that aren’t movie material and contort the plot into a screenplay. This ruins the book and lowers the standards of the movie industry. ‘A good book’ is not synonymous with ‘a good movie’. And more importantly, just because a book is popular doesn’t mean it will make a good movie. Nowadays, popular books immediately get converted into movies, not because they work as movies, but because the movie has a guaranteed audience and the industry doesn’t have to worry about investing in a movie that will tank at the box office. This forces anyone whose read the book to suffer through a lousy movie while knowing exactly what’s going to happen next.
Movies can and should be inspired by books, based on books even – but I’m getting tired of direct adaptations that are pointless and lame.
What are your thoughts on adaptations? I’d love to hear from you!