Don’t judge a book by its movie

Can films ever properly portray the books they’re adapted from? News section editor Lauren Coppola explains the challenges Hollywood faces when translating words to images.

As I was clicking my life away searching through endless YouTube videos, movie trailers kept popping up on right side of the page.

It got me thinking: it seems like there are a lot more movies being made from books nowadays. I know that this isn’t anything new. It’s not like they’ve never made a movie based on a book before. It just seems that in modern society, more books are becoming film adapted more frequently.

The topic always brings about the question of which is better, the book or the movie? Personally, I always favor the book. Always. There’s just something in the details that, no matter how hard a movie tries to portray them, they can never get completely across. It also seems like a good portion of books being made into movies come from young adult genres that create popular dystopian novels such as The Hunger Games and Divergent. It makes you wonder if they have a specific target audience in mind.

Now, I’ve read books and seen movies they were made into and I’ve always come to the same conclusion. It’s true when it says based on the novel. It’s never quite the same when comparing the book to the movie. The little details are somehow lost in the process. However, I think movies are slowly becoming more closely adapted to novels they are based on. I get that you can’t take a hundred plus paged book and squish it into an hour and a half, two-hour movie. Some details must be forgotten. I think by reading those details though, they add to the overall story in the end.

I digress. Movies have their good points too. As great as our imaginations are as human beings, it’s nice to put an actual picture to the elaborate scenes described in the books we read. All special effects, scene shooting and CGI’s aside, it’s nice to see what the world created in the book would have looked like if it were real. The watcher becomes engrossed in this new world with these characters that we can actually see as “real” people. It gives life to simple words on a page.

When books are adapted into films, there are always positive reactions mixed with negative. Whenever a very popular book gets turned into a movie, there always seems to be an up roar over whom is cast and whether or not the storylines coincide. Obviously without ever reading the book before, there are no expectations. You go to the theater expecting to see a good movie. But for those who have read the book before watching the movie, it turns into a make or break experience. Either the film lives up to or exceeds expectations, or it falls flat in disappointment. Sometimes the film just doesn’t quite live up to the expectations after reading the book.

There are always differences between film and book since it’s only based on the novel. For the most part, I try to read the book before the movie. When I do, I’m always left feeling a bit bereft after the movie ends. I like the small details. I like being able to get that background information, see what the character is thinking or feeling, or experiencing. I like not having to watch something and interpret what it means or why it’s happening. Films are great to watch; I’m not saying that. I’m just saying that for me, no matter how many times films are made from novels, they will never equal that of the pages in a book.

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Twitter: @lcoppola92