I know this isn’t a new thing, but it feels like this year there are more film adaptations of books than ever. With the TFiOS movie coming out in less than a month, the recent trailer for If I Stay, and the recent news that These Broken Stars (a book on my TBR list) is being made into a film … I’ve been thinking more and more about what I like and what I don’t like when my favorite books are turned into movies.
I know some people get upset when their favorite books are being turned into movies, but I’m usually pro when I find out about film adaptations of book I enjoy. It means more people will read the book and want to talk about it with me. It also prolongs in a strange way prolongs my experience of the story, something I’m always looking for with books I love.
Literary movie adaptations also often cause me to read books I might have otherwise missed. Even though it had been on my radar for years, I picked up The Perks of Being a Wallflower in order to read it before I saw the movie (both were fantastic) and recently enjoyed Gayle Forman’s If I Stay and Where She Went because I wanted to finish them before seeing the movie trailer. Yesterday, when I read that The Broken Stars was being turned into a movie, my first thought was I better read that soon.
What makes me happy about the recent film adaptation trailers I’ve seen is that they seem to follow the books very closely. I don’t really care if the characters or the settings look the way they are described in the books, but I want the plots and characters to be similar. Extra points when some of the dialogue follows what is actually written in the book.
I guess there are two ways you can turn a book into the movie. You can treat it as a completely separate story/art piece/whatever and change whatever you want to or you can make a movie to appeal to fans of the book. It might selfish of me, but I like when movies appeal to fans. I think this second strategy is what’s been behind the success of movies from Pride & Prejudice to Harry Potter to Hunger Games.
Of course, some moments in books will have to be condensed or cut, but when things are changed for no reason (I’m looking at you Ella Enchanted adaptation) it can be devastating.
What do you look for in film adaptations of your favorite books? Also what bookish movies are you looking forward to? I have too many to count: TFiOS, Gone Girl, The Giver, Mocking Jay, If I Stay, hopefully more Divergent movies, and probably other ones that I’m forgetting.