Let’s Talk Bookish is a weekly meme created by Rukky @ Eternity Books and hosted by Aria @ Book Nook Bits where we discuss certain topics, share our opinions, and spread the love by visiting each others’ posts. Today’s topic is: Book to Film Adaptations.
What are your favorite book to film adaptations? What are your least favorite ones?
Some of my favorite book to screen adaptations are Lord of the Rings (no surprise there), Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, The Princess Diaries, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Fault In Our Stars, Pride and Prejudice (1995) and most recently, Shadow and Bone, which is really promising so far. I was enjoying Game of Thrones until the last season, but the early seasons were great, so I’m including it here.
A few I didn’t like are the Percy Jackson movies (I keep trying to forget those exist), The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones, Ella Enchanted, Divergent and Twilight. Admittedly, I am heavily biased with that last one since I never liked the books in the first place, but it was like the movies just made it so much worse.
Several other adaptations are on my list such as To All The Boys I Loved Before, Love, Simon, and Everything, Everything. I’m also very excited for the Red, White and Royal Blue movie!
Do you think that books translate better to movies or shows? Would you rather see a standalone or a book series adapted?
Generally speaking, I think standalones translate best to movies, while series work better as shows. Standalones are self contained stories, and there’s not a single wasted moment. I find that the best ones get straight to the point and jump right into the thick of things, rarely meandering from the plot. As such, they make for much better movies where time is a constraint.
Series on the other hand tend to have a lot more depth, with more intricate plotlines, world building and character arcs, and as such there’s so much more material to work with. There’s also a lot of background information and tons of small but significant details and subplots that a movie simply would not have the time to do justice to. Series make great shows in my opinion because with one season per book, it can really explore the story and world.
There are several books that have been split up into multiple movies and in my experience, it rarely works. For example, The Hobbit, which is just over 300 pages, was split into three movies, and while they were decent enough, it really wasn’t necessary. There simply isn’t enough material in that one book to make three movies out of and they added new characters and additional plotlines which frankly, I hated. The same thing was done with Mockingjay and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, and they weren’t bad, but I’ve noticed that when this is done, all the exciting parts of the plot are naturally in one of the movies, making the others comparatively lacklustre.
What do you think is important for a successful book to film adaptation?
An adaptation that sticks to the book is one I’m always more likely to enjoy. So many films/shows get caught up in introducing new characters and plotlines, and turning the story into something that makes a good viewing experience that they often leave out crucial twists and key pieces of information. As someone who always reads the book before watching an adaptation, I find this to be something very important. I’m quite picky when it comes to my favorite books being adapted, and it’s the worst when the characters you know so well are completely unrecognizable on screen. The sole exception to this I’ve found so far is The Princess Diaries. While the base of the story (atleast the first movie) is the same, the rest is new, and it worked surprisingly well. Of course, I wasn’t a huge fan of the books, so that may play a role, but there are times when changing the plot can work.
Choosing the right cast is just as important, especially for YA movies where characters are often aged up or changed for seemingly no reason at all. Not all books make for good movie material either, so that should be considered when making an adaptation. If much of a book involves the character’s inner dialogue, it doesn’t translate too well and would need extensive modification for the screen, and the effectiveness of the portrayal would depend largely on the actors.
What are your favorite book to screen adaptations? Share your thoughts in the comments below!