Magazine topic: 
Entertainment
Total votes: 83

From book to film

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by : 
ReganS

Like many people, I get an initial feeling of dread when I hear that a book I like has been turned into a film. Sometimes I won't even watch the film even though I love the story! This is a sentiment shared by many and for good reasons too. Here are, what I believe to be, the main problems with films adapted from books.

Firstly, the characters are NEVER as you imagined them. Even if a novel provides a clear physical description and detailed analysis of all of their quirks and characteristics, the character is always different. It can also be difficult when a well-known celebrity is playing the role as it is hard to separate the real-person and the character.

Secondly, if a novel is long or filled with lots of action and events it is generally impossible to condense it down into a two hour long film without cutting parts out. Of course, nowadays it has become common to split a novel into two parts, making two films. However, if there is an event in the novel that does not necessarily progress the narrative and is not something that will appeal to the majority of the audience, then it is likely to be cut from the story completely.

Thirdly, filmmakers like to use a bit of artistic license, and can sometimes change a storyline completely. This can be to suit the audience the film is being aimed at or just because they feel their interpretation is more appropriate.

Finally, a film is just one interpretation of a novel. If a novel has been read by a million people then that means there are a million versions of that novel floating around in people's minds. Therefore it is extremely improbable that the filmmaker has the same interpretation as you, or the other 999,999 readers.

It can be annoying watching a film that completely changes a story you like. The recent, award-winning film, Silver Linings Playbook, for example, was based on a book I love. It was changed an awful lot from the book, with various characters and events completely altered. However, despite being incredibly different, it maintained the same positive, feel-good mood of the book, making it really enjoyable. Do not be deterred from watching an adaptation, just because it might be different does not mean that you will definitely not enjoy it.

Discussion

Have you read any books that have been made into films? Which version did you prefer, the book or the film? 

Comments

initiate's picture
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initiate 2 January, 2016 - 16:49

I read Divergent , Harry Potter, Percy Jackson series. And i watch their film versions. I think books are better than films. Because while you're reading books you can imagine the character's appearances. But films are i don't know they aren't creative :)

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19 users have voted.
emojiunicorn's picture
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emojiunicorn 29 November, 2015 - 10:01

Yes,I read Vampire Diaries and later I watched the first season.The characters in book were different than in series .I will pick a book because it is better that you use your imagination while you are reading.

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22 users have voted.
italiangirl's picture
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italiangirl 8 March, 2015 - 20:57

Hello people, I have read a lot of books... my favorite movie is that was based on a book is "Nine hundred"
and I prefer the movie at the book but generally I prefer the books.

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28 users have voted.
english_student94's picture
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english_student94 24 February, 2015 - 14:26

hello everybody, I also have read some books that have been made into films. In general, I prefer to read books at first than to watch a film. But my first experience wasn't so good. I decided to read "The Vampire Diaries". The book was remarkable!And it impressed me very much. After that I watched the film. It was awful! The book differed from the film very much, as if I read and watched absolutely different versions. After this I watched the film "Twilight Saga" and then read the book. I decided to make on the contrary). It was great!Even the remarks of heroes coincided!
So I think, it depends on many factors choosing version the book or film.

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31 users have voted.
Crystallized's picture
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Crystallized 27 March, 2014 - 10:01

Recently, I've watched The Hunger Games: Catching Fire. As a fan of the books, I was COMPLETELY blown away. (Since the first was just mediocre). Honorable mentions are The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Harry Potter series.
As for the bad - The Mortal Instruments. The book was okay but... I hated the movie. With a passion. The golden compass was just awful as opposed to the book. The infamous 'The Da Vinci Code' adaptation. The chronicles of narnia. Everyone seemed to love them but i just could not. And The Percy Jackson movies. I mean DID THEY EVEN TRY? Well, the second one is better than the first but it was STILL bad.

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29 users have voted.
Potterhead14's picture
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Potterhead14 4 October, 2014 - 19:06

I really agree. The chronicles of narnia are nice books, but the films are... bad. And before Catching Fire, make sure you rewatch the previous Hunger Games film.

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26 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Jonathan - Coor... 28 March, 2014 - 07:19

Hi Crystallized. Nice comment! What was it about the film adaptations of The Mortal Instruments and the others that you didn't like? Was it the actors, or something else? For me, I usually prefer the original novels because they contain so much detail and interesting scenes which often don't make their way into the films. I really liked Catching Fire too but was slightly disappointed that some of my favourite scenes in the book weren't included. What film adaptations are you looking forward to?
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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19 users have voted.
Crystallized's picture
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Crystallized 31 March, 2014 - 15:05

Thanks! The Mortal Instruments (the movie) seemed so rushed to me. I know it is hard to adapt a 500 page book into a movie, but there have been lots of good movies that were adapted from very long books. The characters were nothing like in the books and the acting felt dull. I think the reasons I did not like these movies are all pretty much the same. Bad pacing, casting, acting, storyline order and the trustworthiness to the books. Sometimes it's just 'the feel' of the movie that makes me hate it (I think i can never be a movie critic. xD)

As for Catching Fire, I think I was not expecting much, due to the disappointment brought by the first one so that was the reason behind my amazement.

I am really looking forward to see the new "The fault in our stars" adaption, but I fear that somehow they will mess it up. Yet I'm sure I will still shed crocodile tears at the end. Same thing for the upcoming adaptations of "Daughter of smoke and bone", "Angelfall", "The 5th Wave", "Mockingjay" and "The Hobbit: There and back again". I also added "The Giver" and "The Maze Runner" to my 'to read' bookshelf. And I will go berserk if they don't show "Divergent" in our cinemas (It has been canceled for now. I hope it's not permanent. I am sitting here, chanting my prayers as I type.)

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27 users have voted.
Jonathan - Coordinator's picture
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Jonathan - Coor... 3 April, 2014 - 03:51

Hi! Divergent has just come out where I live but I haven't seen it yet. I haven't read the book either. I really hope you get the chance to see it. If anyone's seen it, please post a short review! Thanks!
Jonathan (LearnEnglish Teens Team)

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28 users have voted.
Oliii98's picture
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Oliii98 16 November, 2013 - 21:04

I prefer reading books, even school ones. I don't like watching films, and when I have to pick book or film I pick book. That why I'm so angry when I'm with my friends and suddenly they want to watch a film. I watch only horrors sometimes, but never alone. Spending time with a book is really good. For example, you can have a break from phone, TV, computer screen. Reading makes us smarter too.

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28 users have voted.
MALINE's picture
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MALINE 10 November, 2013 - 02:19

I preffer books you can use your imagination and pictured the scene and the characters and you can get the minimal detail on books.

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24 users have voted.
WildChild's picture
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WildChild 4 November, 2013 - 21:15

Twilight (all parts). I like both versions but it's more interesting when you watch a movie..

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19 users have voted.
RehinaParker's picture
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RehinaParker 31 October, 2013 - 19:22

Yes I have read some books that make into films i like both because if I read I make part of the book and my imagination start working :P:)

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23 users have voted.
Natalija's picture
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Natalija 28 October, 2013 - 20:59

And I'd like to take a moment and reflect on the bad influence of the film adaptations. I've noticed that many teens nowadays don't read books for school, but search the film online, and instead of reading 250-300 pages, they spend 2 hours watching a film, and save time. I've seen that in my school, and I think we should focus more on reading, not on films.

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25 users have voted.
Natalija's picture
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Natalija 28 October, 2013 - 20:56

I don't like film adaptations, it's so boring, and it can't replace a book in any sense. The only film adaptation I watched was The Notebook and I really liked it, but others were really bad, like Ana Karenina, The Great Gatsby, Gone with the wind, and many others. I couldn't even menage to watch the whole film, just the parts, because film adaptations're the thing I really can't stand.
Book is book, and film is film.

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18 users have voted.
Harabeli Supersweet's picture
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Harabeli Supersweet 25 October, 2013 - 15:57

Yes, I have read some books that have been made into films, like "Pollyanna", "The last song", "Anna Karenina", "A walk to remember". I have always prefered books more, because when I'm reading I can imagine characters in my way and it's dissapointed to watch that they are so different in the movie. I don't like it when the story is changed too. But it's nice to watch the movie after you have read the book, because you can compare them.

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21 users have voted.
sailor moon's picture
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sailor moon 21 October, 2013 - 19:54

i have read The Da Vinci Code of Dan Brown. i`ll recomand this book everyone it is amazing. i have also seen the film. I think the book is more amazing, so i prefer the book because i can image the environment like i want to create it but in the film it is ready. you need only to see it.

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26 users have voted.
Jelenaa2's picture
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Jelenaa2 22 October, 2013 - 14:27

I agree with you, I think that book has much more details and the movie doesn't contain all of them. It's just not the same, to read a book and to watch a movie. I know that it's much easier to watch a movie (2-3 hours) than to take a book and spend hours and hours reading it. So if I have to choose, I'll pick the book just because it's much better.

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21 users have voted.