Movie Adaptations of Books

Movie Adaptations of Books

A few days ago I saw Catching Fire, based on Suzanne Collins’ book, and I was floored by the movie itself. The first movie was amazing, but the second movie is just stunning, matching with the trilogy’s pacing of the sequel being better than the previous book. Thus far, these movies are the best book to movie adaptions I have ever seen, and this might be due to the fact that Suzanne Collins was actually able to be involved in the actual making of the film to ensure that it stayed true to the book. Oh certainly some things had to be manipulated, such as scenes involving President Snow’s perspective, but this type of manipulation helps the viewers, especially those who haven’t read the books, to understand the world Katniss lives in. I think the best adaptations are ones that can be loved by both people who loved the books and those who haven’t. 

Cover of
Cover via Amazon

In any case, upon updating my Facebook feed that I thought the movie was amazing, one of my Facebook friends commented that the book is still better. I agree that the books are still better, simply because they are the original work, but I think trying to compare the book to the film is like comparing apples to oranges; they’re ENTIRELY different media–or fruit–and should be treated as such. Not everything in the book will work well on screen, which is why I mention that some things in the trilogy are being manipulated or axed entirely. For example, while I would have liked to see the avox from book one, I also realize there are time constraints in a film, and that the avox, film-wise, wasn’t that important to include. Now we could treat the book like BBC’s Pride and Prejudice, but I think a lot of people would rather see it in theatres, and would rather see the entire book in the film, instead of it being divided up into a bunch of parts (I think the last book is being divided into two, though. Not entirely certain on this one). So when viewing a film adaptation of a book, I think it’s important that readers of the books try to keep the book and movie separate. This is a difficult thing to do, because we want the film to stay true to the book, but not only do I think readers need to look for how well the film stays true to the book, but also how well the movie itself is. How well do the actors play the characters? How good are the visuals, the camera angles, the scenes, ect.? Basically, these questions are how you would analyze any film.

Of course, there are films that are just major flops, like Cassandra Clare’s recent book to movie adaption, or the Beautiful Creatures movie, that are just so far from the book that readers are going to posit that the book is definitely better than the film, but this is absolutely contingent on who wrote the screenplay, who is directing it, and whether or not there is author involvement–which I think there should be, because author involvement seems to help create an awesome film. John Green has been involved in The Fault in Our Stars, and I’m confident that because of his involvement that the movie is going to be pretty awesome. But then there are some books that will never work as films because not all books are meant to  for a variety of reasons, like the book being too complex that axing any part of it could destroy the film, or trying to fit a large book into an hour and a half.

So, Stars, what is your take on movie adaptations of books? I’d be really interested to know. 

The Increasing Popularity of Young Adult Literature Among Adults

The Increasing Popularity of Young Adult Literature Among Adults

Screenshot (8) This post has been taken out of context, so if you’re curious about the full article, just type the headline into Google.

Young adult literature is popular, as evidenced by the above post. What caught me most about this specific passage though was the mention that it is embarrassing that so many adults read young adult novels, the implication being that you’re hooked on to your teenage years. I don’t know about you, but I don’t wear any rose-colored glasses about my teenage years. I suppose the older one gets though, the more tempting it is to put on rose-colored glasses about one’s childhood, forgetting all the messy emotions you feel as you’re growing up, the total lack of freedom, having to be 100% dependent on people to care for you, and all sorts of other things that actually make me grateful that I am not a child anymore. I suppose one can wish to return to one’s childhood with the wisdom one has now, but no one is going to treat you as any less of a child just because you know arguing with your parents is senseless.

In any case, I find it offensive that young adult novels are still being held below adult novels and literary classics. Sure, there are some classics among young adult novels, but they’re classics for children, not classics overall. No one considers it embarrassing that there are kids who read adult books or that teens are forced to read classics they likely don’t relate to. But we’re still belittling young adult novels as less than other genres, even children’s literature, for reasons I can’t comprehend.

I suppose popularity breeds resentment, but books are popular for a reason. The public isn’t concerned about the nuances of writing so much as writers themselves, so they’re not as picky about artful writing as we are, which is probably why a book like Twilight was so popular among average readers but so scorned among the writing community.

I don’t think young adult fiction is popular among adults because we want to re-claim our teen years. I think young adult fiction is popular among adults because we want to remind ourselves how messy the teen years actually are. And they are. They’re rife with muddled emotions, hormones that screw with every decision you make, relationships that can turn potentially disastrous; forced to act like an adult but treated as a child; and so many other things that make the young adult genre as popular as it is.

I love the young adult genre because I love dramatic character change and emotional stories. Teens are chockfull of the potential to develop dramatically, thus creating emotion-centered characters that are very much about themselves.

While Suzanne Collins may not have the best prose available, she sure the heck knows how to craft an ingenious story, and story should take precedence over whether or not you can create artful prose that rivals the prose of the classics (I shoot for both, but at the end of the day, I want readers to love my story more than my writing).

I think it’s fantastic that teen fiction is popular among adults. This popularity has brought more notice and awareness to the young adult genre as a whole, and I find that amazing. While some people still scoff, you can’t deny how popular young adult literature has become within the last ten years.