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Books to Films

Monday, August 8, 2011

I know a lot of book lovers watch films based on books that they like; however, I've never been much of a fan of books to films. I did watch the first four Harry Potter movies. The first copy were pretty good--the actors really looked and acted the part!-- but after movie four, it became apparent to me that the films couldn't live up to the books. It's been the same for most any book-based films for me. Being based off someone else's interpretation of the book, it isn't always a guarantee that it'll be what I see. Or, in the case of the Harry Potter (and many other) films, they can't squeeze a novel into two hours.

Not to say that I haven't enjoyed any book-based films.

When it comes to watching a film based off a book, I tend to fall into two extreme categories. On the one hand, I like it when the movie director take the novel and gives an entirely different take on the same set of characters and general plot. On the other, I adore films that give an accurate representation of the book.

I actually watched Miyazaki Hayao's Howl's Moving Castle before reading the novel, and I loved it. I don't think watching it after having read the book would have ruined the experience for me. He gives a completely original take on the character and the plot. If I had read the book beforehand, I would have been on the lookout for certain aspects that weren't there; however, I would have lost my expectations in his original take on the novel. Both Diana Wynne Jones (the novel's author) and Miyazaki both deliver a magical set of characters with surreal experiences. I loved them both.

So far, I've only found one movie that fulfilled my expectations of the novel: The BBC film version of Pride and Prejudice. To be fair, I would have expected Jane to be more stunning being the more beautiful of the two elder Bennet sisters, though the elegant simplicity that the actress took on really suits Jane's nature.

The complete version is longer than most movies nowadays, being a TV serial; however, it's the only way to tell such a complex story. I often wish that more movies would take the time to really tell a novel's story rather than try to condense it into two hours for the quick entertainment of the general public. It may work for shorter novels, but for longer works like the later Harry Potter books and classics, we need more than two hours to really get the story. Hence, the origin of my issue with most books to films.

I also like what I've seen of the one and only take on Gone with the Wind, but I can't say for sure that I liked the movie since I have yet to finish it (my DVDs broke before I could). All I know is that no one else can play Scarlett O'Hara and Rhett Butler like Vivien Leigh and Clark Gable.


How about you? What is your opinion on books to films? What are your favorite book-based films?

4 comments on "Books to Films"
  1. Great post! Thanks for sharing this :)

    Don't be a stranger; stop by my blog and say hi! I regretfully cannot remember if we're fellow followers, but I follow you!

    Looking forward to hearing back from you,
    Cory @ Anti-Drug Reads

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  2. I go back and forth about Harry Potter with my husband. Harry Potter was SUCH a good series- could I ever really be satisfied unless each movie was 8 hours long?

    Movies that started as books that I like....

    Possession (Gwenyth Paltrow)
    Bridget Jones Diary
    The Blind Side
    Circle of Friends
    Jane Eyre
    Emma
    Little Women
    Memoirs of a Geisha
    PS I love you
    The Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe


    I do think YA books/ movies have a bigger percentage of fail to them ;)

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  3. Personally I thought the first two movies were great, the 3rd and the 4th were okay and I didn't particularly care for the 5th or 6th movies. That being said I absolutely LOVED The Deathly Hallows part one and part two films! These two movies actually made me cry when Dobby, Snape, Fred, Lupin and Tonks died. IN the other movies I didn't cry when Cedric, Sirius, or Dumbledore died in the movies (I cried for all of them in the books). I highly recommend that you at least watch 7.1 and 7.2 because they were fantastic and they are my favorite HP movies.

    I ready Howl's Moving Castle before I watched the movie and I didn't like the movie at all! I think if I had watched the movie first I might have liked it more (my friend loved it and we have similar tastes). I actually found Howl as the weird bird thing really creepy! lol

    One of my friend's mom is a huge Jane Austen fan and she recommended that movie for me to watch and I'm really looking forward to it :)!

    I have to add that the worst book to movie that I have ever seen was Eragon! It was ABSOLUTELY terrible!

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  4. I agree that the HP story needs an adaptation that allows more time - it would make a great TV series. Game of Thrones was a great adaptation of the book because with 10 episode, it got 10 hours to tell the story.

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