books and stuff


This is why book adaptations are usually shit

It’s a dispute that’s been around since the beginning of time. (Almost.) Book lovers say books are best but film buffs argue the movie rules. For some, there isn’t an issue: books and films are separate things. But for others (me) it’s a HUGE issue that needs to be discussed.

In this post, I’m comparing the changes I’ve seen to some major novels when they’ve become movies and collected your thoughts on the ‘book vs film’ debate.

Turning words into cinema sellouts

If your book is a major success, wins awards, and creates a mass following, there’s a high chance that Hollywood will start sniffing around.

When Tinseltown gets its hands on your book, it no longer belongs to you: it’s theirs. They can – and usually do – change your work to make it as profitable as possible.

This is completely fine if the changes are logical, enjoyable and offer something the book may have missed. For example:

  • Daryl Dixon didn’t exist in the Walking Dead comics. Luckily this crossbow wielding creation paid off and Daryl has morphed into one of the main protagonists.
  • Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park offers extensive scientific theories and descriptions, which is exhausting to read at times. By adding characters and action the narrative becomes exciting – a T-rex eats a man alive whilst he’s on the toilet (the man, not the dinosaur).
  • In The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, Dorothy’s shoes are silver, rather than the movie’s magical and symbolic red.

However, this success is a rarity. It’s been proven that chopping, changing and adding of storylines, characters and settings doesn’t pay off very often. Adaptations can leave readers feeling cheated.

“So what?”, I hear you film lovers cry: “who cares?”

We, who cannot eat, drink or sleep until we have finished reading, do. We, who have cried when fictional characters die (yes I do mean Dumbledore). We, who have mourned long after we’ve finished the last page… we care.

Read more here.



One comment on “This is why book adaptations are usually shit

  1. Pingback: Do you have to like the protagonist to enjoy the novel? – fictionfactory

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