As I was contemplating whether or not I could sacrifice a few of my exam study minutes to get through at least one of Doyle’s Sherlock adventures, something dawned on me: more and more of the books I happen to come across have begun appearing on the big screen. Not that this is anything new, of course. Thinking back to my high school classes, I can recall the teacher putting on the movie version of pretty much every novel we had to study in order to compare our interpretation of the novel with that of the director and the actors’ portrayal of the characters. But most of those novels, as I am sure you are aware, have been around for a good century or so, and the movies weren’t exactly that up-to-date either.
(To Kill A Mockingbird, 1962)
Today, it seems like as soon as a book starts becoming popular, or if statistics dictate that it will become a best seller, the directors leap on them like a school of hungry piranhas to get the rights to the book before anyone else. Not that there is anything wrong with this. Most of my favorite movies were originally published as novels, comic books and manga. Unfortunately, some of my least favorite movies happened to share the same origin. You could argue that perhaps the books themselves hadn’t been all that good, and if your argument was supported by the Twilight series then I would happily agree with you. I apologize for those I have offended, but I somehow found myself within the 1% category of those who just don’t buy the human/vampire romance story; but that’s a story for another day. That one literary example is insufficient, because I found Christopher Paolini’s Eragon to be a thrilling tale, yet the movie was nothing short of disappointing.
When you take a book and try to turn it into a blockbuster hit, you’re taking a pretty big gamble, because that one audience you’re trying to gain the approval of is divided into multiple sub-audiences, all of whom expect something different. Just off the top of my head, I can come up with five different groups of movie-goers who exist within a single audience. Just for the heck of it, let’s use the Twilight saga as an example.
1. those who are interested in the romance aspect of the film
2. those who are die hard fans of the books
3. those who are intrigued by their depiction of the mythical vampire
4. those who want to tag along with the popular band wagon
5. those who want to compare it to the novel and critique the accuracy with which they interpreted the authors intentions on their own blog(s)
They all have their own reasons for seeing the movies, and those reasons influence what they will take from the experience. Even with a movie based on an original script and story line, it’s hard to satisfy everyone, and they don’t even have to worry about movie-book comparisons or a devoted following looking for the slightest mistake/imperfection to blow out of proportion. I myself have been the sad victim of literary bias, but it is inevitable when you become attached to a story and the director fails to meet your expectations.
I’m not trying to bash the book-to-movie trend. When I heard that The Fault in Our Stars was going to be made into a film, I squealed and screamed just as much as the next John Green fan girl. It’s more of an observant curiosity. Why remake stories that already exist instead of coming up with an original story line? There have been some equally amazing stories that become popular without having to be printed, bound, published and read first. As much as I’m looking forward to seeing The Wolverine, The Hobbit 2, The Fault in Our Stars, Carrie, Ender’s Game and all of the other book-to-movie adaptations coming out this year, I wouldn’t mind seeing some original ideas make their way back onto the big screen.
That’s all for today. If you have something to say about this growing fad, or whether you even think it’s a growing fad, I encourage you to leave your opinions in the comments. I look forward to hearing what you have to say, and as always, happy reading!