Monday, January 31, 2011

Book versus Movie?

I had a fantastic half-post written up about info-dumps and exposition, but between work, more work, Kingdom Hearts and writing, I forgot to get it finished in time. Expect it from me when my turn rolls around again!

Seems to me like more and more YA books are being made into movies as of late. Or maybe I've just become more aware of it? We have the Twilight movies, Harry Potter, Beastly, Hunger Games, If I Stay... Now I'm hearing talks of Firelight and The Forest of Hands and Teeth (OHGODIHOPESO) being movie-ized as well.

I personally love seeing the transition from paper to film. Except... here's where I'm weird: I enjoy seeing the movie first. I like seeing the visuals. I like getting to know the characters a little and falling in love with the story, and loving it enough that I run out to buy the book(s).

When I read the book first, I don't get as much enjoyment from the film. Too much picking at it, pointing out, "They missed this detail. That isn't how it happened!" Because, let's face it, no decent-lengthed YA book can be properly contained in two hours of movie time. Not to mention all the internatilizing and inner monologues/thoughts happening on-page just don't always translate well on screen.

(Often when reading, though, I picture everything in my head like a movie. I get a sense for what scenes would translate well and what wouldn't. It's something I do a lot when writing, too; if the scene doesn't move well in my head as moving pictures, then the words don't flow well.)

Of course, a good movie (or TV series, for that matter) can make all the changes it wants, run with the plot in a different direction, and still have a masterpiece. (I'm looking at you, Vampire Diaries.) Just as a book can take an age-old plot line and make it something beautiful with the right characters and unique details, a movie can do the same, I think.

What do you guys think? Totally hate or love movie versions of books? Any favorite book-to-movie adaptations (YA or otherwise)?


  1. I love what they've done with the Vampire Diaries Show!!

  2. Yes, there are a ton of YA books going visual! Mortal Instruments, too.
    It's really hard for me to watch a movie version of a book that I've loved. And I find that if I see a film version first, even if I like it, I probably won't pick up the book because now I know what's going to happen.

  3. I Love seeing books turn into movies. I know they NEVER do the book justice, because it's pretty impossible, but I still love watching them. I think its great seeing characters I love visually (besides just in my head).

    I can't wait for Mortal Instruments!

    Love my Jace :)

  4. First off, the Vampire Diaries (show) = AMAZING! :-) Haha. But if done well, I love a film adaptation of a book. Mostly because a movie brings my favorite characters and their story to life. I don't normally read a book before seeing the movie, though. Not even for the Twilight ones. I don't like going in expecting certain scenes to be in there, so if I've already read the book, I'll wait to reread it after the movie. I did just read Red Riding Hood, though, and in this case I'm hoping the movie is better. Ugh, sorry for the rant-ish comment!

  5. I agree, I love what they've done with the Vampire Diaries TV show! I admit, I liked Damon better in the books, but I also have a huge crush on TV-Damon. Ahem.

    Wendy, I actually read the Twilight books because of the movie. Don't care for the books, but I liked the movies all right, haha.

  6. I am with you on often liking it best when I see the movie first and then reading the book. I saw Pride & Prejudice before I ever read the book, but that's what sparked my interest in it. I think the same was true of Jane Eyre as well. After I've read the book, though, I'm a bit of a purist and definitely picking up on all the details that have been changed!

  7. I think there's a huge difference between "turning a book INTO a movie/show" and "making a movie/show BASED on a book". A lot of times, a book-into-movie transition falls short of fans expectations, alienating them instead of drawing them in.

    Having a movie based on a book (Ella Enchanted, How to Train Your Dragon, LotR [to some extent]) automatically lets the audience know that this isn't meant to be a literal translation of the book. It's more of an adaptation, a re-telling.

    Mostly, I think the key to making a good movie is just that. Make a movie, make sure it has all the key elements that will make people love it, then try to shape the book around that model. I wish more studios would be willing to slap on a "Based on the bestselling novel ________ by _____" on the picture.