Thursday, July 24, 2014

Book to Movie Adaptations

         Books. Movies. Books made into movies. Oh, this topic. I'm surprised I haven't touched on this topic sooner. Frankly, I hate most of the movies based off books. Being someone who loves to read I want the movie to be as true to the book as possible. I understand that some things must be changed for the silver screen, but some things are NOT that hard to keep. Let's go over some examples. Keep in mind I'm only talking about books of YA or middle grade.
Something as simple as hair can't possibly be that hard to keep the same. If the character is blonde hire a blonde actor or dye their hair. Harry Potter did this beautifully. We all know the actors playing Fred and George are natural brunettes. Even so, those boys were red-heads for years. Perfection. Now, in the Percy Jackson movie (The Lightning Thief) Annabeth is meant to be blonde. The author mentions her hair many times, yet in the movie she's brunette. Hmmm. Yes, that did not ruin the movie (There was plenty of other things that helped with that) but was it so hard to make her blonde? Maybe it's just me.
Not only hair, but when an actor is hired and they aren't the correct race that drives me crazy. Imagine if Gale (The Hunger Games) had been, say, Asian/Black/Indian. Pretty much anything besides White. I would have been sitting in the theater with furrowed eyebrows. That happened in The Lightning thief (yes, that movie again). Grover is described as scrawny with acne. Sadly, no matter how good an actor movie Grover was, he just wasn't Grover.
Now, I'm not saying every character needs to look just as described in the book. If it's a minor character or someone who isn't in the story for very long, then I don't care too much how they look on screen. The characters need to be close enough. Just enough. Heck, I'll overlook the hair thing if the character is otherwise spot on.
I understand that movies and books are different. I love movies, don't get me wrong. I adore them. That's why it's so hard when things go so wrong. It's even better when things go so right. I'm going to go out on a limb here and talk about a movie that hasn't come out yet. Call it wishful thinking.
The Maze Runner. Obviously I haven't seen this movie yet, but I'm such a huge fan of the book that I've watched/read interviews concerning it. Without giving away any spoilers, the author as gone over a few things that happened in the book that won't happen in the movie. At first when I heard these things I was sad. I loved those things about the book. However, when the author explained the reasons for cutting them from the movie it actually made sense. To keep those things in the movie... well it would be corny. A lot of standing awkwardly in front of the camera. After he said that I wanted to thank them. We don't need another Twilight*.
Lastly, I would like to take a moment to touch on sequels. I love a good sequel. When done right, both book and movie can be a joy. Even some of the bad Harry Potter movies are still good. And then... we reach the Part 1/Part 2. The Deathly Hallows is such a large book and the final chapter in the epicness that is Harry Potter that it made sense to split it into two movies. It stayed true to the book without rushing it. Even with all the added random stuff for the 3D aspect. Plus, I'm sure those involved didn't mind the extra cash they got for the extra movie.
So, Potter aside, there came all the other movies. We'll mention Mockingjay. That book isn't any larger than the first two. The first movies were done in one go. One movie per book. So... why is Mockingjay being split in two? There is no need. I can only imagine it'll be stretched out with added scenes to fill time. It's kind of like what is happening with The Hobbit. That book isn't large enough for three movies each being three hours. I mean... I can see why die-hard fans are irritated. I'd say, if a book is borderline six hundred pages then they can consider breaking it in two. Other than that... I see no reason besides making extra cash.
Books to movies. It can be an amazing ride for reader. The Hunger Games, Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, The Lord of the Rings. And it can be a readers worst nightmare. The Lightning Thief, Eragon, Divergent.
Good luck to all the future book to movie adaptations. It's not easy, but it can be done.

*I loved the Twilight books. The movies though... not so much. It's such a large topic I won't even bring it up more than this. It deserves its own blog post. Sigh.

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