Movie Adaptations…Some Thoughts

I have been sitting on the movie version of Ender’s Game for over a month. I want to watch it, but there’s that fear. It’s a fear I never knew when I was less bookly. I don’t even think that’s a word, but for lack of a better, we’ll go with it. Let me get some things off my chest.

The problem with loving books is the fact (and it’s an actual fact in my world) that the theatrical versions of books just don’t cut it for those of us who loved the book. Some are more disappointing than others and some are even enjoyable if you can set aside the fact that “in the book it happened like this”. Then there are the others that make you want to scream and if you really loved the book you may start crying at the blatant bastardization of something you loved so dearly.

I think we can mostly agree that the Harry Potter movies fall under the enjoyable if not 100% to the book to watch even if some of that most exciting parts of the  wonderful wizarding world is left out or altered. I also enjoyed the Lord Of The Rings trilogy on the big screen, though don’t even get me started on what they should have done differently to make it even more exciting. The Hobbit…just…no. Even Martin Freeman and Benedict Cumberbatch couldn’t save that one. Sherlock and Watson for god’s sake!

Then there are the movies that ruin it all for every book that announces it’s coming to theaters. I have a couple, but the one that really sticks out in my mind is a Nicholas Sparks adaptation that had Julianne Hough in the lead actress role. I think it was called Safe Haven. I really liked the book. It shouldn’t be too hard to fuck up a Nicholas Sparks adaptation as they have a pretty cut and dry formula…

  • Pretty girl or attractive guy wronged, more than likely by death or domestic.
  • Pretty girl or attractive guy meet.
  • Girl in skimpy bikini, guy shirtless (insert ripped abs)
  • Epic misunderstanding.
  • Happily ever after sleeping together.

Still, even with so little chance to go wrong this movie left me and a fellow reader physically upset…for hours. It wasn’t even a book we were horribly invested in!! (You know who you are, Heather.)

The reason was that the director or Satan or whoever holds the power in the movie industry reached out and ripped the very heart out of this story. What made it come alive for me was no longer there.

I guess the reason that I’ve been so stuck on this topic or at least the reason it’s been nagging at me is I have been reading some books that have recently gone to the big screen and I’m torn. I have watched the trailers out of that undying hope that some director out there will capture on screen what I saw in my head as I flipped the pages (Ron Howard has come closest in his Dan Brown adaptations for me, but that seems more like one of Bob Ross’s happy accidents than Ron Howard reading my mind). I have come away from YouTube and these trailers a bit horrified and deflated. Hope lost.

Perhaps I’m being too hard on the subject, my expectations are unbelievably high. Maybe the best way for me to enjoy the movie versions is to skip them altogether. Maybe I will eventually break down and watch them anyway just to bitch.

So here’s looking at you (maybe) The Girl On The Train, Miss Peregrines Home For Peculiar Children and Ender’s Game.

What are your thoughts on the whole book to movie topic? I would love to hear your thoughts.