For the love of everything reel: Books turning into movies
From books to movies.
For bookworms out there, how many times did we cringe when a film-maker announces he’s going to make a movie adaptation of our beloved books? How many times we got our heart broken when we get out of the moviehouse at last, determined to forget the monster Hollywood spawned out of our beloved stories?
Why is it hard for some film-makers to remain faithful to the material? Or is it the fault of the book that the plot won’t sell in the cinemas? What makes a good book a good movie? Is it with the incompatibility of methods used? Both media share the same ingredients, right? The power of a good storytelling compounded with strong imagery.
Although in books, your imagination is your TV screen. What I appreciate about books is they let you imagine whatever you want provided the facts and premises from the story. Writers will teach you how to paint with language, how to create the lyrical arrangement of tone and emotion behind words. There’s still imagery in a sense that the most effective writers can force you to imagine a world, a situation, a character, a place, a story.
Movies, meanwhile, show what it’s really happening but they do so in ways that would actually make you think and feel the visual essence of the story. They create attachments with camera angles, script, ambiance and overall message or the theme. Like books, a film needs to have a logical order of the story, although post-modern writers change the way they tell the story, there is still a sequence in the story.
It is quite common that avid bookworms, especially those who are big fans of a particular series or author, are strangled with fear when their favorite book will be turn into movies. And you don’t need to research why. So many times our hearts bleed when those movie-makers shred our favorite stories into pieces, cutting away very important parts and adding unnecessary elements then coldly serve this to the patronizing audience. Then our friends who haven’t read the stories first but watched through it will conclude that since the film is bad, the book is also bad. Whatever happened to judging the book by its cover, or more specifically, by its crappy film version?
But some movies or TV series have remained true to the books and to the author’s message. Movie adaptations of ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Lord of the Rings’ & ‘Schindler’s List’ may have at least restored our faith to the movie industry’s obsession with books. I think the directors of these movies just have the passion to introduce the book’s magic into film. Although the factor of fame and fortune is right there, their passion is evident in their works, the very same passion that rubs into the audience.
I guess my advice to these directors reflects the sentiments of both readers and the viewers. If you’re going to adapt a material, please do so in the sake of the art of storytelling. Make sure you are interested into the material before you take it in. Don’t just rely on cinematic effects or technology or star-studded casts. Just please, be truthful. Time will come when people won’t troop into the movie houses just to see the books they love in the big screens. That flimsy excuse won’t work anymore in the future.
List of good books turned to good movies that I’ve watched
1. Harry Potter (which in terms of its faithfulness to the plot, is pretty good overall)
2. Lord of the Rings
3. The Godfather
4. Schindler’s List (I could make another list why this movie is awesome!)
5. The Notebook (a good story combined with Ryan Gosling’s adorable droopy-eyed gaze, what can you ask for?)
6. Wuthering Heights (The 1939 version. Another classic you must watch ((and read)) before you die)
7. Jurassic Park (I remembered being scared sh*tless by this movie as a kid)
9. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (whether it’s the 1970 version or the 2005 one, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory can make its way into your hearts. Special mention is another Roald Dahl’s Matilda
10. Pride and Prejudice (Some critics would say the 1995 version is the better version ((or the one with better Darcy)) but the 2005 version can still leave an impression to you, especially if you are a historical fiction fan like me)
So, what are some good-books-turned-into-good-movies you know? Let me know 😀 I’m excited to hear your suggestions.