Stuff and Things: Surviving the Book to Movie Adaptation

Friday, April 10, 2015

So last week I got the great news that one of my favorite books, Ready Player One, is going to be made into a movie directed by Steven Spielberg. That's right, the director of some of the best films ever and my personal all time favorite movie, The Goonies, is going to be in working on this adaptation. Honestly, I couldn't imagine better hands to treat this book with the respect that it deserves!

But many, many, MANY times books to movies turn out completely different from the book or just plain awful. Just think: Eragon. Yikes, I just got a shiver of pure terror down my spine at the thought. As a book lover, I tend to get attached to how the story is set up and how the characters are portrayed and, you know, everything that makes that book great. Seems reasonable, right? So when this starts going down hill while watching a movie adaptation, I tend to panic and look for the emergency exits.

Here is a step by step method how to survive the book to movie adaptation:

1. Don't Reread the Book
This is the worst mistake you can do! And it's a mistake I make a lot! But by having the book so fresh in your mind, you can only think: "Oh no that's wrong." Doesn't exactly make for a pleasant movie viewing experience.

2. Lower Your Expectations
It's sad but true. They can't do everything perfectly. But if the expectation bar is set fairly low, it can only go up from there!

3. Realize that Casting Choices are Out of Your Control
When you spend a lot of time reading a book, you tend to get a mental image about what the characters look like. It's natural. And while you can fancast a book as much as you want, it is sadly someone else's job to do the real casting. Sometimes they nail it! And then other times...

4. Buy Lots of Popcorn to Eat Your Emotions When Your Favorite Scene is Cut
It's going to happen. With cutting down a book to fit into two hours, the likelihood is pretty high. So splurge on that overpriced popcorn at the theatre and stuff your mouth so you don't yell at the screen. Just remember that even with your mouth full your facial expressions can still show your horror.

5. Appreciate Some of the Scenes that Were Added
I actually really love when the movie gets a few little new additional scenes. Sometimes. When they are still in character. They can add scenes that expand on the characters past or show hilarious joking between the main character and his/her friend or even put in a touching moment with a character's family. I can totally appreciate those bits.

6. Just Watch the Movie!
It can be rough watching a book to movie because you can spend the entire time picking it apart. So just kick back and just watch it. Save the analyzing until after it's over. Try to enjoy it!

Good theory, yes? Is that typically what I do in practice? Not so much.

How do you guys survive watching book to adaptations? Is it even possible? Which are your favorites that got the transition right?

Leave a Comment

  1. Great post. Ready Player One is sitting on my shelf, but I haven’t gotten to it yet. I was nervous when The Hunger Games was being turned into a movie. I ended up loving the movie, so it all worked out.

    Aj @ Read All The Things!

    1. Thanks! I would definitely recommend reading it. It's great! Yeah I think everyone was a bit nervous about The Hunger Games movie, but they really did a great job!