In this post, I will be discussing my opinions on popular film adaptations of my favourite books. As readers, the thought of watching our favourite books come to life on the big screen can seem appealling, however, are film adaptations of books really worth the hype?
I am going to discuss what I think are the main drawbacks of adapting books into film, before discussing my opinions on my favourite book to film adaptations.
Firstly, not all of the book can be adapted into a film, due to time. The average film lasts between 90 minutes to 120 minutes. When there are books that can be 600 pages long, some of the less vital scenes have to be cut. So essentially, the directors will work with the basic plot points of the book, and carve this into a film. In the mammoth process of creating a script for the film, some scenes will have to be altered, so that the film still flows and makes sense. For example, in Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s (Sorcerer’s) Stone, the Midnight Duel scene was cut from the film. Therefore, any further conversations that the characters may have had about it would have to be cut as well, in order for the film to make sense. Even though film adaptations are still incredible in their own rights, it can be frustrating to see to story changed from book to film. Similarly, TV series will only have a certain number of episodes and time to tell a story in, so scenes will have to be altered, added and removed. I personally think that, while it is annoying to see your favourite stories altered, as long as the basic plot stays the same, then it is fine.
Secondly, CGI and visual effects might not be developed enough to portray the stories that the authors have laid out. Obviously, many things can’t be done without technical assistance. For example, in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, the peculiarities would have been created with CGI (I doubt that any of us have met a flying girl, a boy who can reanimate the dead, a girl who can create fire, or a boy with bees living in his stomach)! If the film had been made 10 or 20 years earlier, then the visual effects would have been highly compromised. Things like this are obvious when you compare the 1939 film ‘The Wizard of Oz’ with the latest Star Wars films. In 1939, The Wizard of Oz would have been groundbreaking, but it is proof that CGI has massively developed over time. Therefore, some scenes in books will have to be altered for the big screens. However, anything that uses CGI is incredible, and a lot of work has gone into it, so even if the effect isn’t what the author wrote in the book, it is still amazing, and the visual effects team deserve lots of credit.
Now I am going to discuss film and TV adaptations of my favourite books.
Noughts & Crosses – Malorie Blackman:
Recently, Noughts & Crosses has been a BBC series. Having watched the first few episodes, I have noticed some differences between the books and the TV series. For example, Sephy and Callum are past school age, which will change how the story is told, as most of the first book takes place in a school. However, Callum’s struggle with being one of the first Nought students in a Cross school may be replaced with him training for the army. Also, Sephy has a Cross boyfriend in the TV series, which did not happen in the books. This may be used as a way to show the shame that she faced for having a Nought boyfriend later in the books. However, the bit that I feel changed the most is the plaster scene. In the books, there is a fight between the Noughts and the Crosses, which leads to the Noughts needing plasters. As society is dominated by Crosses, the plasters are dark, so it is obvious that the Noughts have plasters on. However, in the TV series, Callum cuts himself on glass, so Sephy gives him a plaster. While I agree that this scene is more effective in the books, I still like how it is portrayed in the series. Overall, some minor tweaks will not make me not like my favourite book series of all time on the big screen.
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children – Ransom Riggs:
Unlike with Noughts and Crosses, I watched the film first with Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. When I realised that the books were a trilogy (as of 2017), I assumed that the filmmakers had combined the three books into one film. However, through reading the books, I discovered that the film was based on the first part of the first book, and then killing the Hollowgasts in Blackpool was added for the purposes of the film. Although I do really enjoy the film, I find it hard to watch it, having the knowledge of the books. Due to the children killing the Wights and the Hollows, any sequel would have to skip to A Map of Days, as this book is set after Library of Souls. While the story does dramtically change, it still remains true to the characters, and it does end on a boat, like the first book does. However, there is a question that I have about the plot of the film. How were the children able to access the Blackpool loop, which is in the modern day, when it would not have existed in 1940? Please comment if you can answer this question.
Harry Potter – JK Rowling:
The film adaptations of Harry Potter remained very true to the books, which I liked a lot. For people that like Harry Potter, but aren’t obsessed with it, the films are amazing. However, for people (like me), who love Harry Potter, the films are still amazing, but we wish that all of the details had been included in the films, and nothing extra added in. For example, when the Burrow burns down in Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince, it never happened in the book, so why cause Potterheads that much sadness when watching the film?! Minor details have been missed out, but it hasn’t distrupted the flow of the films, so I believe it to be OK. When Professor Snape and Professor McGonagall have their fight in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, I believe it to be more tense in the film, as the whole school (what is left of it) is watching. Overall, despite some scenes being tweaked for the big screen, I think that Harry Potter was amazingly translated onto the big screen.
The Book Thief – Markus Zusak:
The film adaptation of the Book Thief stays very true to the book. The only thing that I would say suffers in the film is that, as the story is narrated by Death, some of the monologues (such as why hiding a Jew is like rolling a seven sided dice) can’t be translated easily onto the big screen. However, the main themes and storyline remain unchanged. Whether you have watched the film or read the book, I hope you can see why this is one of my favourite books of all time.
So, those are my opinions on film adaptations of books. Having said all this though, making a film can’t be easy, so this was wrote with all respect intended at film producers and directors.
Thank you for reading this post. On Sunday, I will be reviewing Hollow City by Ransom Riggs.