When a movie of a book I enjoy comes out I start to get really nervous. I don’t know about you, but I always have this big debate with myself over whether it’s going to be worth it to go see it. For some this discussion only lasts a few seconds. For instance I’ll always go see a Peter Jackson Tolkien film no matter how much he changes. I know it will always be entertaining even if he decides to go a bit off the rails, and often the stuff he adds in is from other Tolkien sources like the LOTR appendices and The Unfinished Tales.
Then there are movies like The Giver that I wish I could unsee. These are the type of films that make this argument with myself a necessary evil because they don’t even understand the spirit of the original source material. The Giver is, of course, not the worst example of a movie adaptation out there and for every one I say is awful someone will say it is their favorite.
The thing about a bad adaptation is that most of them come from really beloved stories. People have read and given these books pieces of themselves, become invested in the characters, and spent time in their world. Then someone comes and decides to get creative license with the things that readers love so much so that Hollywood and non-readers will accept it.
I’m sorry, but no. We want people to read the books because they like the story, not because you’ve made it so unrecognizable that it’s hardly the same thing anymore. I’m fine with changes, but changes that still leave the heart of the story intact. In the case of a movie like The Maze Runner I thought the changes made the movie almost better than the book. But for every Maze Runner you have a The Mortal Instruments or Percy Jackson film. Sure some people may like them, but it’s usually not the people who came for the book they loved.
This post may have gotten a bit on the ranty side but I’m very passionate about books and what filmmakers do to them. Will they make me love them or break my heart? And is it worth the frustration?
What do you think about bad movie adaptations? What are some of the ones you hate the most? Share in the comments.