Book To Film Adaptations?


A DSLR photo of an open book with a CD in front of it. Some other books are visible at the background. Shallow depth of field. Can illustrate the concept of digital audio books instead of standard paper books. book to film adaptations

Some screenwriters have a bad habit of turning the pages of a novel so fast that the spine cracks open a portal to the world of poor book to film adaptations.

Skimming the written details and editing them out of the final cut has never sat well with readers. And often, the real fantasy is the thought that a book could ever be forced into the mould of a one and a half hour film.

But I don’t think film adaptations are a bad thing. I don’t actually favour one medium over the other. I appreciate that they are two very different methods of storytelling, and I thoroughly enjoy both. But just as screenplays don’t make very interesting reads on their own, some books don’t translate well onscreen and are better off sticking to the old ink on paper style of narrative.

And just as you get bad books, you also get bad films… and more often than not a bad film turns out to be a poorly crafted book to screen adaptation.

It takes a very clever and incredibly skilled screenwriter to successfully adapt a book to screen, and it has been done well multiple times before. However, I think recently it’s become a bit of a fad. Everyone’s doing it. And as the frequency increases, so does the likelihood of someone making a fairly terrible job of it.

I don’t know if many of you are Stephen King fans, but I am for sure! And the film world has a particular fascination with his work.

I’ve been steadily making my way through The Dark Tower book series – his magnum opus! And last night I tried watching the film… which attempted to squeeze seven books into one.

How awful it was, actually inspired this blog post.

The level of detail that King, like most authors, write with just does not seem to bode well for adaptations of his books. I think directors get caught up in how visually spectacular his writing is that they miss his love of symbolism and talent for creating real depth of character. It’s strange, and it must just be a difference in priority.

I think this sentiment echoes throughout the book-loving community. Often, you want Hollywood to just leave your favourite book alone. And it’s a shame because I love seeing books come to life and experiencing my favourite stories in a new way. Book to film adaptations do have the potential to be great. But far too often the screenwriters just don’t capture the heart of the story, so it doesn’t really come to life. Rather, it dies a little.

I wonder what you all think. Do you love film adaptations if they’re done well like I do? Or do you think films and books should remain separate entities forevermore?

H

Check out my last blog here, Delving Into Daily Serials

 

 

Hannah McLaren

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