Why are book adaptations bad?

It so prevalent now, the most common saying when seeing a movie based after a book is, “Oh, the book was sooo much better”.  I believe I have come up with two reasons why.

1.  Your imagination can never live up to the movie.

Really I mean to say is that your imagination isn’t the same as the film makers.  You imagined your favorite character with bigger eyes, you imagined the character with a larger walking gait.  The world is plainer then in your head.  Your character would never say that line.

The other thing is, movies are made by tons of people.  Even a huge profile director still has to appease financial backers by kowtowing to producers once in a while.  There are very few movies we see that are only made from one persons mind completely.  timeline-movie1

So this collective is making a movie based on the commingling of several imaginations, mashed into one.  No wonder many book adaptations fail miserably.

<—Case in point.  Timeline for me is a travesty.  The original book by Michael Crichton is fantastic.  It was smart, it moved quickly, and it mixed several genres.  Though Crichton was never known for his character development, the plot and events are exciting.

This movie is truly atrocious.  Not by book to film standards either,  just straight up bad movie.

The movie, Queen of the Damned, was another mishandled book to movie film.  It took everything (in my mind) that was great about the book and turned it crappy.  Though with that movie, I have heard several people I know, like it.  How?  I don’t know.

When you read a book, the characters become real in a way.  You know the characters, you spend time in that world with them.  A movie couldn’t be more superficial.  It’s a hard task, which I don’t envy.  They have to mash up a 500 page book full of exposition and character development into a 150 page script.

The casting directors are looking for stars, their looking for an actor that can fulfil the 15-20 niche market for women, and the 30-40 market for men, whilst still staying true to the book?  Not likely.  This all leads me to the second reason why films are never as good as the books…

2.  Script writers/Directors “improve” upon the books.

As I said, I don’t envy the writers having to condense books into scripts.  It is a near impossible task.  It is when the film makers make up characters and scenes to suit their own purposes.lotr

Biggest case in point is the huge movie trilogy, The Lord of the Rings.  It is basically impossible to turn a thousand page book into three movies.  Especially something as dense as L.O.T.R.  My issue wasn’t melding scenes into each other, in order to keep the plot moving, or having other characters say someone elses lines.  It is the blatant adding of character importance, and adding extra silly scenes that aren’t needed.

The opening of the movie, when I first saw it, was great!  It wasn’t in the direct narrative of L.O.T.R. but it worked!  It was taken from the appendices.  That kind of alteration works, and I was pleased.  I could go on and on about the things that annoyed me about these movies.

(It is a huge compliment to say I was insanely annoyed with the movies, and still love them at the same time)

Why does Legolas know everything?  He is barely a character in the books.  Why does Arwen have scenes?  (Cause they needed a strong female character).

Their are rare occasions when the movie ends of overshadowing the book.  The movie Fight Club is one such film.  Even the author  Chuck Palahniuk said the movie was better then his book.  If the author could say that, then that his indeed high praise.

– Why do filmmakers feel they are better than the Author? –

They adapt a tried and true classic.  A book beloved by generations, and they improve it?  I wish I could understand the logic behind that.  What really needs to happen is for Hollywood to come up with some original ideas and leave the books to be books.  As much as I want some of my favorite books to make real, I would rather them stay unsullied in my mind.game-of-thrones-poster

The new way of film, is the Tv series.  The successful show Game of Thrones has given hope to me and many out there.  It follows the books pretty faithfully.  Why?  They have time to develop characters.  They can put time into exposition.  They simply have time.

Though, eventually, it will crack under the pressure.  Take True Blood or Dexter.  Both started as faithful adaptions.  Both of which ,the first seasons are the best, and eventually started going out on their own and messing everything up.

Wheres the love?  Why want to adapt something, then go around and change it?  I know it can’t stay exactly like the book, but why make stuff up and add gibberish.

You aren’t as smart as the authors you are trying to adapt Hollywood.

One Response to “Why are book adaptations bad?”
  1. wayneconway124 says:

    Reblogged this on wayneconwayFilm and commented:
    Why are book adaptations bad ?

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