Friday, October 15, 2010

From Pages In A Book to Pictures on the Screen

I admit it, I am a bookworm. I have been since I learned how to read. Ok, maybe not so much in junior high and high school, but once I hit college I got back into it... tenfold. I just love getting so wrapped up in a book that before I know it, hours have flown by. So when some of my favorite books are adapted into film, I'm ready to see how well they portrayed the story. I have the preconceived notion that books are ALWAYS going to be better than their movie counterparts... and I'm pretty much right. But, there is the occasional instance where I am pleased with how accurate a movie portrays the book. I would like to share with you some of the best (and the worst) book to movie adaptations I have seen.

*I warn you... there will be SPOILER ALERTS, especially with the ones I thought were the worst adaptations.

Let's start with the worst ones, shall we???

#1- Angels and Demons by Dan Brown- I have never been so disappointed in a movie... EVER. The book read like a movie plot so I figured Ron Howard wouldn't have a problem adapting it to film. Um, yea... he did. He omitted SO MUCH out of the book. The biggest part of the book... the arguments of science vs. religion was barely touched. Then, the character Maximillion Kohler wasn't even in the movie at all... he was a supporting character but played a key role in the film. I really wanted to see him in the film (and wanted to know who would have played him). One of my favorite parts of the book was also not covered in the movie: the realization that the carmelengo was the son of the Pope (yes Pope's cannot have sex or reproduce, but by the power of science, aka sperm donation, it was possible). For those who haven't watched the movie.... SKIP IT. Read the book.

#2- The Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot- Disney has a huge reputation for "sugar coating" films. As a parent, I do understand why they do this but when they base a film on a book series, I want to see accuracy. Ok, for one... the books have Mia and her mom living in SoHo, not San Francisco. Mia's father isn't dead... he had testicular cancer and can no longer produce heirs to the throne (which is why Mia found out she's royalty). Oh, and the best part of the books??? Mia and her friends are obsessed with The Rocky Horror Picture Show!!! There are several parts in the series where they bring it up... and go to the Midnight showings. Even though I was raised a Disney Brat... seeing the "sugar coated" adaptations make me sorely disappointed in the company. You gotta admit... it would be amusing to see the "Time Warp" in a Disney film... hehehe.

#3- My Sister's Keeper by Jodi Picoult- Ok, this one could have avoided being on the worst list if they didn't change the ending. I was fine with them omitting one of the characters... Julia, the guardian ad litem. I was also ok with the fact that they didn't cover much of Jesse's delinquent acts to get attention. But, to completely change the ending was just wrong. The movie ended where Kate died. In the book, Anna is granted medical emancipation and is on her way to the hospital to tell her sister. But Anna and her lawyer Campbell are involved in a car accident, leaving Anna brain dead. Her parents decide that Anna would have donated her kidneys to her sister Kate. So Kate receives both kidneys, and the book goes foward 10 years where Kate is still alive and has been in remission since the donation. I heard a lot of people didn't want to see the movie at all because they knew the ending was changed... and I don't blame them at all.

Ok, now to the "Meh" List!!!

#1 The DaVinci Code by Dan Brown- Compared to Angels and Demons, Ron Howard did a lot better turning this book into film. It flowed very well, you were able to follow the movie with ease (just like you could in the book), and there was no major omission of characters. I understand why some scenes were lightly touched, especially the ones with the ritualistic sex. Even though the readers were fine with it, many probably would have felt uncomfortable with visuals. They would have lost some of their audience. Oh well... I wouldn't have minded.

#2 The Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling- My favorite books!!! They are not in the best list for one major reason: a lot of fat had to be trimmed to get them adapted to film. Each movie averages about 2 1/2 hours. Some kids (even some adults) can't stand to sit through lengthy films. If all of these movies were dead on accurate to the books, we would have seen them converted into a miniseries. I still wish that Peeves the Poltergeist would have made the movies... you just gotta have someone constantly wrecking havoc on the students for their own personal amusement!!!

Finally... the ones that pleased me in their adaptations... in reverse order :-)

#4 Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice- This book was a very heavy read for me. It took me a while to read it and I caught myself nodding off a lot in the process. Once I finished the book, I realized that the movie was very accurate.  Anne Rice definitely has a talent with description, sometimes in a long-winded kind of way. But that's ok in the literary world, since you want the reader to get a detailed picture. This is one of the few times where if you don't necessarily want to read it, I would say that you were fine just watching the movie. But I would recommend reading the other books in the Vampire Chronicles. I have only read one other book, and that is The Vampire Lestat. Much more interesting than Interview and a lot more fun!

#3 The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks- This was just really easy to adapt, I mean, it's a love story! The book focuses primarily on the reunion of Noah and Allie, but in true form of movies, they have to expand the other parts to get a complete, beautiful story for their audience. Any woman out there will tell you that this is one of the best chick flicks out there, and a heartwarming book. I would have to agree. This book/movie also hits me on a personal level, since when I look at the relationship between Noah and Allie, all I see are my Grandma and Grandpa Savory. When you can get a story to relate to you or to people close to you, it just makes it more beautiful.

#2 Twilight, New Moon by Stephanie Meyer- *Sigh* Yes, I just went there... the Twilight Saga. And I admit they did a damn good job in adapting the books. I know a lot of it had to do with the hardcore fan base. They were not going to settle for any derivatives and fought hard for it (believe me I read the random articles saying so). I wish that the Harry Potter fans were more hardcore like the "Twihards," so the Harry Potter movies would be on the Best List. For the record, I'm still not the typical female who is obsessed with these books/movies. My curiosity of the saga was fulfilled when I read the books... that's it. My heart is still with True Blood and Interview with the Vampire (REAL vampires).

#1 Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events- I watched the movie before I read all 13 books. With that said, the personality of the movie was DEAD ON to the books. Realizing this made me feel like I was a kid again, just the awe and the excitement of a really great story and seeing that your imagination is in sync with what you see on the screen. What I am sad about is that they only made one movie (based on the first three books). I wanted more! At least I have all the books sitting on my shelf... and my very creative imagination.

Wow... this blog was a lot longer than I had anticipated. I was going to add videos and pictures, but I think my extensive amount of words is plenty :-)

I may do another one of these blogs.... there are a few books sitting on my shelf that have been made into movies. I just have to watch the movies so I can compare/contrast them!

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