Books and the Media: Big screen adaptations

4 COMMENTS • This post is filed under: Media Monday

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone movie poster Show of hands: How many of you have ever said “I loved this book so much I wish they’d make a movie of it!”? I bet everyone has said it at least once, right? And the movie industry is being so obliging – the trend is becoming way more popular now with developments in special effects making it possible to translate almost anything your imagination can come up with onto the big screen.

Let’s take a look at the (not-so-official) stats, shall we? According to this article on Wikipedia a good FIFTH of the number 1’s are based on some kind of print media (either book or graphic novel.) There may be more – those are just the ones I recognized off the top of my head. Add to that the popularity of True Blood, Game of Thrones, Pretty Little Liars and other TV shows I’d say we’re looking at a large scale trend. My question is why?!

Think about it for a second. When was the last time you went to see a movie based on your favorite book? (Probably for a lot of you it was The Hunger Games, right?) How did you feel beforehand? Were you nervous? Did you feel queasy, just thinking about your favorite parts and wondering if they’d made the cut? How about your favorite characters? We all know there’s always that chance they’ll cut the one thing that makes the story magic. We know they can’t do everything, and please everyone. And yet, like gluttons for punishment, we still go to see the movies, even though there’s a chance it will ruin everything. Just look at The Last Airbender by M. Night Shyamalan. That should have been a much easier transition – TV show to movie, instead of text to movie – and from what I hear they STILL screwed it up majorly (I still haven’t brought myself to watch it, though I feel that someday I’ll have to, if only to see for myself).

Even the ones that do get it right tend to screw up a little. When I went to see the first Harry Potter film for the very first time, the biggest thing I took away wasn’t the amazement at seeing this beloved story acted out. No, it was indignation that they took out Peeves, who was and is still one of my favorite characters. Even The Hunger Games, as well done as I thought it was had some flaws – in fact for my review I had it about evenly matched between things I absolutely loved, and things I thought they could and should have done better.

And then, of course, we have the problem of changing the pictures we see in our heads. I know for me, at least, Jennifer Lawrence will now always be Katniss, though I pictured her rather differently when I read it the first time. And heck, I’m not the most careful reader – I missed that Malfoy was blonde for the first several books, and when the first movie came out I was shocked as all get out! Now, I can’t even remember what I originally thought he looked like.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the movies and tv shows as much as the next guy. There’s something so magical about seeing a story play out on the screen. There are some things a movie can do that the book just can’t. But with all these things that we know could go wrong, why do we put ourselves through it? I really don’t have an answer, and I’m just as guilty as the rest of you (I just finished Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, and let me tell you, I already have pretty much a full cast. It includes Ben Barnes. You’re welcome :) ). Maybe we are just big gluttons for punishment!


This is the fourth and last of the Books and the Media series. Thank you so much for reading along and participating! If you liked the series and would like to see more discussion series’, or if you have suggestions for specific discussions, please let me know!

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4 Responses to “Books and the Media: Big screen adaptations”

  1. I think what I dislike about some movies based on books is how much they change things, or certain aspects of the book that are removed. But then others, I think the movie adds so much! Like Harry Potter — the books are awesome, but the movies are pretty darn awesome, too. Or The Woman In Black — personally, I really didn’t like the book, but the movie was great.

    Of course, I wonder if I see the movie BEFORE reading the book — would I feel the same way? I’m doing that with Sex and the City soon … I LOVE the TV show, but still haven’t read the book, despite the fact that it’s been on my shelf for years and years. We’ll see how it goes!

    Great post!

    • Anne says:

      See the thing for me with watching the movie first is I then get bored trying to read the book. The *only* book I’ve ever managed to get all the way through after watching the movie is The Princess Bride and that’s only because it’s so dang good! I am tempted to break that rule for Game of Thrones though – so many people say the TV show is amazing, but I didn’t really enjoy the first book when I tried to read read it in high school.

  2. Julie says:

    I love adaptations…if they are done right. At first I was not so keen on the Harry Potter movies, but they got better. And I have to admit I have not seen Hunger Games and I’m a huge fan of the series! I’m wondering if it’s going live up to my expectations and suddenly it’s totally different than what I imagined. It’s nerve wracking. I definitely would read the book before seeing the movie. Some TV shows like True Blood are much different than the book series. The characters are the same, but it’s a darker, sexier and more violent TV show. I like the Vampire Diaries much better than the books. I’m really hoping The Selection is picked up by the CW. And I’m looking forward to The Great Gatsby….sigh Leo!

    • Anne says:

      Lol, but see that’s just what I meant – if we know they’re going to change stuff and we get so worried about it, then why do we put ourselves through the torture? In fact, we often WISH for it! Like I say, I don’t have an answer, it’s just a question I’m curious about.

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