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.
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.