Should the Movie Always Follow the Book?

movies from books Today’s post may seem a little unconventional to all my bookworm friends. I realize that by stating my opinions today, some people may not think of me as highly in the book nerd world, but I’m going to say what I think anyway. Cause, you know, I’m just that kind of person. šŸ™‚

I’ve been watching a lot of movies lately that are based off of books. I think it’s great that the movie industry has found a niche for movies to be adapted from books. I always get excited when I hear that they’re going to make a movie out of a book that I’ve read and enjoyed so much. (I’ve been waiting for them to make the movie Ender’s Game since I was in 6th grade – it’s finally here!) It’s one of the reasons I like to write blogs that compare the movie to the book.

But I’ve been noticing a trend in these movies the last few years. They are trying really hard to stay as close to the story as possible. But let’s be real here, shall we? That doesn’t actually work. If someone sees this movie who has never read the book, they’re probably going to be bored and not enjoy it very much because the movie is so focused on following the book that it’s not as comprehensive of a movie anymore. I thought this as I’ve watched Hunger Games, The Host, Beautiful Creatures, and a gazillion others, but it would take too long to name them all. The movies (in my opinion) were pretty lame, didn’t keep me enthralled, and I would never watch them again. But the concepts for these movies are fantastic.

So what’s the problem? It’s that you can’t fit a book into a movie. It simply doesn’t work. That’s why these movies are referred to as adaptations. The filmmakers need to “Hollywood-ize” them so that movie goers everywhere will be fully entertained with a 2-3 hour flick.

Some examples of movies based off of books, but were adapted to entertain movie goers, are such as: Jack Reacher, Count of Monte Cristo, The Pelican Brief, The Princess Bride, The Scarlet Pimpernel, and Lord of the Rings. I think that these movies were able to capture the essence of the story and characters, but they didn’t follow the book too closely. In many cases, they changed several things (took out characters, changed the plotline a little) so it would fit better in the movie.

No matter how hard a movie tries to follow the book, everyone will almost always agree that the book was better anyway. I always say this – I even want a shirt that says it (It’s from ThinkGeek, if any of you are thinking of getting me something – that would be perfect! ;)). So why not stop trying to copy the book exactly, and use the great elements of movie studios to do what they do best: make it a real movie.

Mind you, I’m addressing movies that come out in the theater and are promoted as Blockbuster releases. I do know that there are some great mini-series based off of books that are able to follow the story closely while still capturing a wide audience. Even regular series, like HBO’s Game of Thrones, can pull that off amazingly well. But if you want to sit and be entertained for two hours, there is no way a movie can follow the book that closely. What will happen is that most people won’t like it and the movie will tank.

So Hollywood, I guess I’m asking you to go back to your older methods of adapting a movie from a book. Because what I‘ve been seeing lately really isn’t working for me.

Thoughts, anyone?