Ok so let me start off by saying I love movies. I mean, LOVE movies. If I could be a movie, I would. If I could marry a movie, I would say “I do” quicker than you can say boo! I love them, alright?
That being said, when I hear that a movie is being made from a book that I like, it makes me cringe. It’s not that I can’t appreciate the fact that someone wants to visualize the book they love into reality. In fact, when I read a good book, I hope and pray that they make a movie out of it so that the story doesn’t have to end for me. Does that make any sense? Of course not! I’m a walking contradiction.
I don’t know if the folks in Hollywood have just finally realized that books are awesome, but everywhere I turn it’s “based on the best selling book.” And this should not be a bad thing. It can actually be a great thing, if it is done correctly.
However I have learned, as has my husband who has to hear every single complaint I have about how that didn’t happen in the book, that reading the book first is almost always a bad idea. Let’s face it, to take a book that creates an entirely different world in each reader’s mind, try to find the right script, the right actors, and then fit the whole 300-600 page book into 2 hours (or less) of a captivating story, must be an impossible challenge.
But isn’t that what these people sign up for when they decide to make a beloved book into a movie? They know the legions of dedicated fans will be expecting perfection. You would think they could rise to the occasion if they’re accepting the task. Of course they are trying to exploit the money made off of the books in another way, but they must also have a little love for the book, right?
Over the past 2 years, I have watched 27 movies based on books. Some I actually didn’t even know were books until later, which had me wanting to read the book because I enjoyed the movie so much. I can honestly say that there were three that went the other way. THREE. And it wasn’t that I loved the movies either, they just didn’t disappoint me.
Of course there are exceptions. Look at Harry Potter. But come on, isn’t Harry Potter the exception? They don’t just make a theme park for nothing. And I suppose I’ll have to include Nicholas Sparks in here too, but as you may have already read from previous posts, I have a love hate love relationship with N.S. books and movies. These are anomalies and when wizards or Ryan Gosling is involved, there is an unfair advantage.
I may not sound it, but I’m far from a book snob. I just don’t understand how they forget that when someone loves a book, we love a book the way it is written. I don’t want you to change the ending, add more action, or subtract main characters. These things can ruin the whole movie for me. I know, I know, time constraints, budgets, blah blah blah. I say, if you can’t make the movie as close to the book as possible, don’t make the movie. People have done it, and with great success, so don’t tell me it can’t be done.
Nevertheless, I love movies, and I will continue to love movies, and books. I will still watch, although if I hadn’t already read the book, I will try to watch the movie first so I am not highly disappointed when I don’t see my favorite part in the two hour time frame.
But I ask one thing of all the movie producers, the next time you find a paperback you’d like to put up on the big screen, read it first. Then read it again. Read it and fall in love with it and then make the movie as you would want to see it, as a reader. A writer puts their blood, sweat and tears into the words they put on paper. Please do them justice!