Sunday, March 11, 2018

Why this Bookworm Enjoys Book-to-Movie Adaptations

You may have heard me complain about movies. You may have even heard me say I don’t like films. I am a bookworm, after all. Perhaps it comes from being raised with a family obsessed with movies. I can’t tell you how many movies my family likes to watch in a given week or how often we talk in movie quotes.

Sometimes, though, it’s relieving not to be surrounded by fellow bookworms. I don’t have to worry about spoilers. I have the freedom to summarize and give away plot points just so I can talk about a book. But still, it can be disheartening to pick up a book, thoroughly enjoy it, and know that I’m one of the one people nearby who will be able to appreciate it for what it is…

… until the movie comes out.

Book-to-movie adaptations help connect readers with non-readers.

There’s always going to be the debate between the movie fans and the purists who have read the books. Laying aside the controversy, can we just take the time to appreciate how people who might not read can be exposed to the story?

When I was studying for my undergraduate, every time I came home for Christmas Break, my dad and I would go out to see the latest Hunger Games film. Between the first two movies, I read the books, and could talk with my dad about his theories. The only bad part came when my dad and I were talking about dystopian book-to-movie adaptations, and I accidentally spoiled the end of Allegiant (book 3 in the Divergent trilogy). Whoops.

Movies help readers discover more books.

There are sooooo many books I discovered thanks to the film industry. Without having seen the latest musical adaptation (and my slight obsession with) Les Miserables, I wouldn’t have picked up the book. Without my dad’s obsession with sci-fi movies, I probably never would have started reading Ender’s Saga. If my brother hadn’t ended up seeing The Help and ranted about how good it was, I might not have discovered the book.

The list goes on.

Now, I make it my policy to read the book before I see the film. That means, if a film is coming to theaters, I have to get a head start and check it out from the library before everybody else. Otherwise, I’ll wait a year or two before all the hype dies down and then check out the books.

Watching your favorite characters be brought to life on screen is exciting!

What more is there to say? Movie posters, your favorite actors, your favorite quote made into a gif—they’re all exciting. Sure, you may have some inaccuracies. These are actual people you’re dealing with after all, not the characters themselves.

Another fun element is, of course, the setting. Honestly, sets tend to be far more detailed than my imagination is capable of.

The hype can be fun.

Whenever I’m super excited for a movie, I will re-watch the trailer over and over until I can quote it, annoying my sister whenever we see the trailer in theaters. I started this terrible habit a long time ago, before Prince Caspian came out. I replayed the trailer because I wanted a glimpse of King Miraz’s face, which they never actually showed in the trailer.

Even more recently, my sister and I have taken to wearing the colors of our favorite characters whenever we go to see a movie we’re excited about. For Captain America: Civil War, she wore red, I wore blue. For Thor: Ragnarok, we both wore green. You get the picture.

However, too much hype can lead to high expectations, which can lead to greater disappointment if the movie doesn’t meet them. It’s always best to remember that the movie probably won’t be accurate to the book.

Well-written soundtracks are fun to listen to over and over again.

I particularly enjoy writing to soundtracks, and I especially like picking certain soundtracks for certain stories. This is probably the writer in me speaking, but music is great for students as well. Not only do soundtracks help me concentrate on writing, but they also let me relive the experience of watching the film.

Just a couple of my favorite book-to-movie adaptations include Anne of Green Gables; The Book Thief; the most recent Bridge to Terabithia; Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell (actually adapted into a BBC series); the latest version of The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; The Lord of the Rings; To Kill a Mockingbird; and Wonder.

I’m not denying that there are downsides to book-to-movie adaptations. A lot of times, the director will change the plot, cut out certain important characters, you name it. Whenever it comes to books-turned-movies, readers are bound to be disappointed in one way or another. But let’s at least take the time to appreciate it for what it is—an interpretation. Whether it’s a good one or not, movies can bring bookworms and non-bookworms together. Readers unite!

Let’s chat! What are some of your favorite perks about book-to-movie adaptations? What are your least favorite aspects? And last but not least, what do you consider the best book-to-movie adaptation?


Film references: The Hunger Games; Allegiant; Les Miserables; Ender’s Game; The Help; Captain America: Civil War; Thor: Ragnarok; Anne of Green Gables (1985); The Book Thief; Bridge to Terabithia (2007); Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell; The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (2005); The Lord of the Rings; To Kill a Mockingbird; and Wonder.

Literary references: Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games trilogy; Veronica Roth’s Allegiant; Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables; Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Saga; Kathryn Stockett’s The Help; C. S. Lewis’ Prince Caspian and The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe; L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables; Markus Zusak’s The Book Thief; Katherine Paterson’s Bridge to Terabithia; Susanna Clarke’s Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell; J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings; Harper Lee’s To Kill a Mockingbird; and R. J. Palacio’s Wonder.

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