Not All Adaptations Are Perfect

With the influx of book-to-movie adaptations out there, I’ve started thinking what actually makes adaptations good or not.

For me, personally, I guess the most important part is how the plot is incorporated into the movie/tv show. If the book is nothing like the movie, then I’ll most likely be disappointed. I don’t expect the adaptation to have EVERY.SINGLE.THING. because I’m realistic. However I do expect that the original book be followed. If it was a succesful best-seller AS IT IS, why change it? Why make it into something completely different from what it is? Also, what is with withholding important details? Why is it that sometimes a movie would rather throw you in blind than actually explain what and why something is hapenning? Those who don’t read the book don’t have a clue what’s going on! I don’t know if it’s a ploy to get people to buy the books, but I find it kind of rude.

Another important aspect that captures my attention with adaptations is the casting. For the casting, I don’t really care if they look like the characters or not. I care more about how the actors bring the character to life. When I saw Divergent, I wasn’t sure about Theo James for Four, but after seeing him acting I was hooked. Same happened with The Fault in Our Stars. I didn’t think Ansel Elgort would be able to portray Gus. And he did. Wonderfully. I also really love to see if there’s good chemistry between the characters. I don’t need them to be madly in love with each other in real life, I just need them to make me think that they’re in love.

The direction. Believe it or not, this is really important. If you watched the first Twilight movie and compared it with the others, you’ll notice there’s a big difference. First of all, the weird green-ish tint that was everywhere. Secondly unnecessary close-ups and shoddy timeline work. All of this interfered with the overall movie experience. The reason Catching Fire was so amazing as a movie is the fact that no details were spared. The arena was wonderfully created and nothing looked “cheap”.

Finally, the romance. If there’s a romance in the book, and you make these characters fall in love in less than 5 minutes in the movie, I’ll probably hate it. Just becaue they’re in love in the books doesn’t mean you shouldn’t show them actually falling in love.

I’m writing this post just after my review/rant of the Delirium pilot went live. I think I’m still a little bit bitter, ha xD. Anyways, this post is also inspired after reading an article online called “Sixteen things you won’t see in ‘The Fault in Our Stars“. I personally loved the movie and didn’t think anything was missing. When I read this article I was kind of disappointed. The things that were “missing” were so little in comparison to the movie. They literally added nothing to the movie. However people assumed it was really vital to the movie.

What makes an adaptation “good” for you? What makes it “bad”? Let me know in the comments below!

14 thoughts on “Not All Adaptations Are Perfect

  1. Zoe @ The Infinite To-Read Shelf says:

    I think that as long as the movie follows the book and stays as close to the book as possible, I’ll consider it a “good” adaption. Sure, I understand some unnecessary scenes have to be cut (I mean, we can’t really include everything!), but as long as it’s evident the production team tried to stay as close to the book as they could, I’m a happy viewer. 🙂

    I’m interested in seeing how The Maze Runner and The Giver will do in theaters when they release. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see! Thanks for sharing Marianne, and, as always, BRILLIANT post! ❤

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  2. Carmel @ Rabid Reads says:

    Movie adaptations are difficult because it’s impossible to please everyone. I think the film needs to be able to stand on its own while still staying somewhat true to the book. Some scenes are better when read while others feel like they were made for the big screen. Casting can make a HUGE difference too. Really, I think I could go on all day about this topic. LOL Great post!

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  3. Miranda @ Tempest Books says:

    I really like this whole post, but my favorite part was when you were saying how the casting is really important and how the actors don’t even have to necessarily look like the characters as long as they can play them really well. And I think that’s such a good point! Embodying the personalities of the characters is so much more important than how they look. And they have to have chemistry with the other actors, etc. Delirium was such a good example of what NOT to do with an adaptation. Seriously, everything was SO WRONG. Great post 😀

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  4. Jeann @ Happy Indulgence says:

    Really awesome discussion point Marianne! I think what makes a good adaptation to me is that they capture the overall feeling and the most important parts of a novel, and make it into a movie worth seeing. We’ve seen a lot of terrible movie adaptations especially when it comes to Beautiful Creatures or City of Bones *shudders*. So it’s important for them to make an effort out of it.

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  5. Jessica @ Rabid Reads says:

    What’s most important to me in an adaptation is that the integrity of the book is preserved. You’re right–the book was popular for a reason, and in most cases (The Queen of the Tearling being an obvious exception with the movie rights being purchased BEFORE the book was released) that popularity is directly responsible for the interest in adapting it to screen. So why change it dramatically? And who cares if a blonde actress plays a brunette book heroine (or whatever)? Pfft. After remaining true to the original plot line, the most important thing is actors who capture the spirit of the characters. Gwyneth Paltrow will always be my favorite Emma Woodhouse, regardless of her looking physically more like Harriet Smith. Why? B/c she WAS Emma Woodhouse. Everything about her was perfect. Jennifer Love Hewitt playing Audrey Hepburn on the other hand . . . *raises eyebrows* . . . not so much. Great discussion 😉

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  6. Joséphine @ Word Revel says:

    I hardly run out to watch book to movie adaptations but I did have to watch Divergent. Of course I’ve watched Harry Potter. And I was forced to watch Twilight. I wasn’t a fan of the Twilight books but the movies were way worse. They were so ridiculous, I had to stuff my jacket sleeves into my mouth to muffle my laughter. As for Divergent, I liked the movie adaptation but I did feel a little underwhelmed. Something went missing and I think that was soul. The cinematography was amazing, and the actors made me believe they were exactly those characters that they were cast for but what I look for is that the soul of a book comes to life on screen.

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