Friday 18 January 2013

Books into movies in 2013

So, last week I went to watch The Hobbit at the cinema, and although I loved it, it felt a little bit different from how I remember the book, and generally how I'd pictured the landscape and characters whilst reading.
Reading is a solitary and subjective thing sometimes, and I think everyone imagines the world of the books slightly differently. A lot of the time my imagination is bigger and better than whatever Hollywood can create, and so I usually prefer reading the book to watching the film.

Having said that though- there are a few films which I think were even better than the book.
Lord of the Rings felt so much grander and more magical on the screen than between the pages, and I thought that the films kept all the heart and drama, but cut out a lot of the waffle and poetry from the books.
The Jane Austen Book Club I thought was sweeter as a film than as a book.
I liked The Hunger Games as well because it was so very faithful to the book.
And I never would have found I Am Number Four, if not for the film- and now I love this series.

2013 seems to be the year of the book to movie adaptation. Although this is sometimes a good thing as it encourages even more publicity and excitement over certain books- and sales of the books go up after a film comes out (more people reading books is always a good thing) sometimes it is quite scary to think that a director's vision or choice of actor, or a badly written screenplay will completely ruin what you thought of as a fantastic book.

This is just my opinion- but these are some movies that I thought were truly awful adaptations of fantastic books.

  • The Golden Compass-adaption of Northern Lights by Philip Pullman- (in my opinion this is one of the best series of books ever written)- don't bother watching the film it is DIRE!
  • Eragon by Christopher Paolini
  • City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
  • Harry Potter by J.K Rowling. (yes, I know).
  • Inkheart by Cornelia Funke
  • Beastly by Alex Flinn
  • How To Train Your Dragon by Cressida Cowell
One of the films coming to cinemas this year is City of Bones, and it is terrifies me. I LOVE these books- how are they ever go to do them justice on the screen?

Here is the movie trailer for it- I have to say, it doesn't make me any less nervous. What do you think of it?

Another one that I'm 50% excited to see and 50% scared they'll ruin it is The Host. I love this book because it is so emotional, and I loved the characters, and again I'm not sure quite how it will translate onto the screen. This film is scheduled to release in August this year

Warm Bodies is a quirky zombie romance book ("zombie" and "romance"- two words that you would never expect to see in a sentence together, but I swear it works) that I really enjoyed because it is so witty. This is due for release in cinemas in February this year.

And finally- Beautiful Creatures adapted from the novel by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. This is due for release in February 2013. It looks very dramatic! What do you think?

Casting has started for the film adaptation of Divergent by Veronica Roth, another favourite book of mine and the film rights have also been bought for- 
  • Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
  • The Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck
  • The Maze Runner by James Dashner
  • The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak
  • Septimus Heap by Angie Sage
  • Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  • Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater
  • Blood Red Road by Moira Young
  • The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
  • Matched by Ally Condie
  • The Selection by Keira Cass (TV series)
with the possibility that movies could be coming from these books as well. 

My plea: Directors/ producers- please don't butcher my favourite books!

What do you think about books being made into films? Are the books always better? Books are able to go into so much more detail, and you get an insight into what the character is thinking and feeling. Do you prefer to be able to picture the setting and the character's faces yourself, or is it easier to be shown the director's vision on screen?

But would such books as Harry Potter or the Twilight series have taken off quite like they did without the films? Do films sometimes promote the book better than anything else could have? Do they encourage even more people to pick up your favourite books and give them a read-  and do films create more exposure for the books that might otherwise be ignored?

Are there some books that should just be left alone?


  1. I think 99% of the time the books are better than the films, probably just because that's the way the story was written and meant to be told. A film tends to lose something - even a very good film can't really match your own imagination.

    And I think a lot of books actually don't suit films anyway - they'd be better as TV series. I think short stories are much better suited to being adapted for film - the length and the pacing is done differently and just works better. Films of books often try to cram too much in and so the pacing feels weird. Anyway, those are my very waffly thoughts! xD

    I'm nervous for The Host too!

  2. I always have to tell myself that they're simply two different mediums, like comparing apples to oranges. That's not to say we can't hope for an excellent retelling of our favorite story, like you say!

    A few years back, I'd just finished Wuthering Heights, and was so excited to watch the movie. I think I rented the newest adaptation, and convinced my husband to watch with me. I couldn't stop laughing, because the screenplay made absolutely no sense and my husband hated it.

    Unfortunately, now it's nearly impossible to talk my husband into watching a classic with me. Dang Wuthering Heights screenplay ruined these possible nuggets for us!

    Like you, I loved the Hunger Games adaptation, and am both excited and nervous about The Forest of Hands and Teeth and the Uglies series. I think they are awesome stories that more people can experience, because there will always be more people who watch TV.

    Thoughtful post! I think about this quite a lot! I *do* wish we could capture every look and thought in a book on screen, but that would just mean a butt-load of voice overs, and that would be pretty bad. ;)

  3. I'm typically not too picky when it comes to movie adaptations, because I know both the book and movie medium have different strengths and limitations. For example, I love the Hunger Games movie because I think it stayed true to the heart of the book, *and* since we weren't just in Katniss' head we actually got to see things like the gamemakers, etc. As long as the movies stay true to the heart and tone with of the book, I'm generally okay with them deleting scenes, adding scenes, etc. There are some movie adaptations that were terrible--Eragon and the one they made over The Dark is Rising comes to mind--but on the whole I'm pretty lenient with movies, so I tend to be more excited than scared when I find books are being made into movies. I'm looking forward to the Divergent movie--it's such an action-packed book that I think it'll translate to the screen well.

  4. Most of the time the book is better than the movie, although I do agree that The Jane Austen Book Club was a better movie than book. I really don't like when they mess with a book I love when making movies - Blood and Chocolate is absolutely nothing like the book :(

    Sometimes I end up liking how different things end up though - Practical Magic had been a favourite movie for years before I read the book, which is very different. That didn't bother me too much but I tend to regard them as different entities.

    1. I loved Practical Magic too! I read the book after the movie, and I liked them both. They were very different.

  5. Great post! I did one in December listing info from Movie Pilot (my source for movies!) on all the upcoming deals I'm following!

    I get excited, but there are certain books I get nervous about, too. City of Bones, Divergent, and Beautiful Creatures are the ones I'm most apprehensive about.

    Movies that sucked? I agree with Eragon, The Golden Compass, and Inkheart. I loved Harry Potter, but I loved the books way more! Twilight--the same. I loved I Am Number Four! And yes, it also got me to read the books!
    I also liked How to Train Your Dragon, but I never read the book.

    I usually like the books better than the movies. I try to read the book before I see the movie. If I don't, I will never read the book. The movie will ruin the experience for me.

    There are some books that don't need a movie made. Harry Potter and Twilight are 2 series that really didn't need to be made into movies. They were already a cultural phenomenon. The Hunger Games was as well, but it did grow even more exponentially after the movie. I loved The Hunger Games movie, it was one of the best book to movie adaptations I've ever seen!

    I can think of only one movie that I liked better than the book. Its my favorite movie of all time, To Kill a Mockingbird with Gregory Peck.

    1. I forgot to mention:

      Percy Jackson. UGH! I love these books, and the movie was just terrible! It had great moments, but the pacing was just bad, and most of it was soooo cheesy! If they make the rest of them, they need a new director! And considering it was Chris Columbus--I just don't know what happened!


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