SHE SAID: Books Made Into Movies

Wow.  Jeremy’s passion in regards to this topic is evident in the amount of spelling mistakes and grammar violations in his post.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of the run on when you’re in the moment, but he’s never made this many violations in one post before.

Books made into movies.  Yawn.  I don’t think I know one person who would argue that a movie version of a story has been better than the book.  Have there been decent remakes?  Sure.  But decent is where it ends, and the number in that category is small.  More often, the movie is pretty terrible if you loved or respected the book and gives my mother ammunition for her anti-technology rants at the dinner table.

I don’t really understand the urge that must come over some film maker to make a book into a movie.  From the first moment of conception, you’re sacrificing something about the book.  If you enjoy something, why would you want to compromise it?  To work as a movie, the story needs to be truncated, since most books wouldn’t fit into the 2 hour time frame, and then forced to work visually on screen.

It bothers me that an author will slave for months and sometimes years over a book and then, to make it into a movie, scenes and characters will be cut.  And what bothers me even more is when a romantic interest is added because apparently America’s audience can’t sit through a movie unless there is some heavy petting going on, or at least some heavy pining or lusting.

And as far as the visual element goes, most times I’m more psyched with what my head envisioned than with what is mass force fed the audience in the theater.  I’m risking sounding like my mother here, but the imagination does wonders with the written word and there is something lost by succumbing to someone else’s vision of Terabithia or Hogwarts or a dashing leading man.

And when I see that Atlas Shrugged (the book responsible for turning me into an unbearable elitist asshole for the last of my teen years) is going to be translated for a theater audience and will now be accessible to people not willing to work through the 1000 pages of the book, I wonder how the producers and directors don’t see the irony.  Although, perhaps some people would disagree with me and argue that making the “Republican Bible” more available is a good thing.

There are great movies that have been made from books: The Graduate, The Godfather.  There are also some important historical movies that have been made based on books: Gone with the Wind.  But for the most part, I think movies do better when they are not based on a book.  Or at the very least, not based on a beloved book.  There are times when a picture is not worth a thousand words.  And it’s clear both movies and books have their significance without needing to borrow from one another.

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