June 6, 2016

June #InkRipples – Movies


Why is the book often better than the movie? I’m pretty sure I’ve figured this out. Well, most people have figured out why a book is better than a movie, but I’ve figured out how not to be mega disappointed in the movie.

Expectation.

People often walk into the movie thinking the book will magically be shown in its entirety and they’re gobsmacked when one of their favorite supporting characters is cut completely out of the story line and the subplot about the characters’ tchotchke collection obsession is dropped. “That’s a major character building element that was missing. How do people who haven’t read the book understand the intricacies of that character’s mania?”  And… “Henry Spellgood…he added so much to the story! I was so sad we didn’t see him at all.”

I call these viewers “purists.” They don’t want anything to change. They don’t want to find a single element missing and they refuse to accept the time restraints the film producers and editors faced when putting together a final product. They are the reason so many books are being made into two and three movies. Much to my chagrin.

I am not a purist.

Perhaps because I’m expected to write blurbs for my books, I’m accustomed to seeing the ‘high level’ story. I know – no, I understand – that you can’t convert the entire book into a 150-word blurb any easier than you can a film. You have to find the drop dead important aspects of a story and skip the rest. Often, simply introducing the many characters that stroll through a book onto the screen (especially supporting characters) takes far more time than their character is worth. Of course those quirky characters add tons to the book – just like they would IRL (in real life) – but on screen, having to condense their introduction and back story in order to make their presence make any sense, takes far more time than they are worth and so their important actions/characteristics are given to a more significant character and they are erased completely.

Now, do the screenwriters and editors always choose the important aspects of the story? No. And sometimes it really ruins the story and leaves viewers frustrated. They may think the reason the story failed on film is because Henry Spellgood was left out, when in reality it was because the screenwriters cut too much back story or the editors had crappy scene transitions.

But then there are the Harry Potter films. Perhaps their success is because the author was involved in the screenwriting process. I thought the Hunger Games movies were well done too. Was that author involved? Allegiant? Not so great. The Mortal Instruments (movie - I haven't seen the t.v. show)? Ugh!

However, I thought Eragon was better than the book and I was sad they didn’t continue with that series – even though I didn’t read the rest of the books.

Which books have you enjoyed as movies? Were any of them better on screen, in your humble opinion?

Ripples in the Inkwell is a themed meme hosted by Mary Waibel, Katie L. Carroll, and Kai Strand posting on the second Monday of every month. To participate compose your own post regarding the theme of the month, and link back to the three host blogs. Feel free to post whenever you want during the month, but be sure to include #inkripples when you promote so readers can find you. The idea is that we toss a word or idea into the inkwell and each post is a new ripple. There is no wrong interpretation. Themes and images and more information can be found here.

13 comments:

  1. I almost always think the book is better than the movie. (One exception I can think of is The Bourne Identity...movie was definitely better than the book...Matt Damon might have had something to do with that!) I think the key to having a successful adaption of a book to film is to keep the heart of the film the same as it was in the book.

    And to answer your question, Suzanne Collins was involved in the Hunger Games movies.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah - I suspected she was, but was too lazy to look it up. Thanks for that tidbit. I love the Bourne movies. Damon does a fantastic job every time.

      Delete
  2. I'm such a stick in the mud when it comes to seeing a movie after reading the story. I did make an exception to Hunger Games because I was hounded into seeing it. But I'm glad I did because I have to say it out-stripped the the book.

    Posted my #InkRipples today. Fun theme.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Fortunately for me I have a horrible memory. So another thing I do is make sure I haven't read the book recently - that way I have only a vague recall of the plot. Makes for happy viewing.

      Delete
  3. I have seldom seen a book better on screen, however, The Client John Grisham stuck pretty close on screen, The First Harry Potter movie was as good, brought it to life and close on screen, Gone With The Wind was as good as the book although not complete. I would not say the movies were better but the did do them justice.
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do appreciate when a movie does a book justice. I think that's hard to do. I don't envy screenplay writers.

      Delete
  4. I have seldom seen a book better on screen, however, The Client John Grisham stuck pretty close on screen, The First Harry Potter movie was as good, brought it to life and close on screen, Gone With The Wind was as good as the book although not complete. I would not say the movies were better but the did do them justice.
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

    ReplyDelete
  5. I enjoyed The Hunger Games, but went back and watched the previous ones before watching the final one. I wish they could space them closer together because I forget. :)
    Of course, Gone With the Wind was super because of Rhett Butler. They did leave things out of the movie, like Scarlett had more than one child. It was great anyway.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do like a movie marathon of a good series!

      Delete
  6. I usually like the oak enter than the movies. My exceptions are The Hunger Games and Pride and Prejudice. I like those movies better than the books.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Grrr. Darn auto correct! That should read I usually like the BOOK BETTER than the movie. :-)

      Delete
    2. I can't read Shakespeare to save my life, but I love a well acted Shakespearean movie. Joss Whedon's Much Ado About Nothing was great! Mid Summer's Night Dream was fun.

      Delete
  7. So many books are just torn apart on screen. The Hunger Games was very well done. Outlander, while there are some changes between the books and show, is being very well done and the changes still fit in with the story or help to convey the same things the books did.

    ReplyDelete