Hello gorgeous readers, welcome to another instalment of Caitlin Considers, my fortnightly discussion post!
Today, I'm talking about book to film adaptations. I've been thinking about this for a while, but this post was kickstarted by both the release of The Hunger Games and a post Amber from Down the Rabbit Hole did last week.
I have a love/hate relationship with movie adaptations. I always get the anticipation, the excitement, the constant speculation about how certain scenes will play out/what will be left in, taken out, changed....and then I'm usually disappointed. Why? Well, mostly because a film can never look how you imagined it. And whilst, intellectually, I KNOW that, I still can't help but feel that crushing disappointment, the anger, the frustration when it just isn't right. Reading is such a personal experience that everyone will interpret a story differently, so an adaptation can never possibly satisfy every reader.
Most people bring to mind the Harry Potter franchise when they think of book to films, which is understandable really. Everyone has such love for these stories, and therefore such strong opinions about the films. I really have to take the books and films as completely separate entities otherwise I DO get very annoyed. Mostly because I feel they really cocked up on some pretty damn important elements (see my post here for more details).
And that's the issue for me with book to film adaptations I think. It's when they change something fundamental, something I don't think can be put down to just the translation from one medium to another. The best example I can think of is Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. Me and my boyfriend both love the books (one of the few books we have in common actually) and were both insanely excited for, then insanely disappointed in, the film. So much was changed, and changed so thoughtlessly, but what really got us was Annabeth. In the book Annabeth was a strong, independent character. She really gave Percy a run for his money and was very opinionated. Yet they turned her into some weak, submissive piece of eye candy in the film. It really irritated me that they took what was a great role model and 'hollywood-ised' her.
The Hunger Games however....I loved it. I came out only thinking about the positives and it wasn't until the emotional connection wore off that I could look at it rationally and see the minor faults...which is very unsual for me. It was so sensitively adapted; everyone was cast well and the detail that went into it was phenomenal. Jennifer Lawrence was a fantastic Katniss, I loved how they got round the fact we didn't have her insight in such creative ways. Yes, it wasn't perfect and yes, they did miss stuff out but that's going to happen unless you can make a 7 hour film. My only major issues were that they COULD have made it 15 minutes longer and given it a slightly less-rushed ending, the Haymitch/Katniss relationship (too easy) and the Peeta/Katniss relationship, but the latter two points were, I think, changed for commercial reasons. I don't think they wanted to make it too obvious how Katniss really feels for Peeta or how Haymitch actually acts for fear of too many people responding negatively. But also, these were complex relationships that you saw from a very one-sided perspective so in widening that perspective out they would appear differently.
Are you a fan of book to film adaptations? If so, what are some of your favourites? If you've seen The Hunger Games, what did you think of it? Are you like me and NEVER happy with an adaptation? Sound off in the comments!
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