Should Books Be Made Into Movies?

books to movies header.png

I’ve been wanting to do a discussion post where I can hear your thoughts. So, after watching the third Hobbit movie yesterday, I wanted to ask you the big question: should books be made into movies? And what are the pros and cons of doing so?

I think every author, at least once, dreams of seeing their novel on the silver screen. And yet, readers are almost always unsatisfied with the job that the movie producers do.

So, should books be made into movies?

Ultimately, I want to hear your thoughts & your ideas, but I’m going to share some of the pros and cons of movie adaptations. Tell me if you agree or disagree with them!


PROS OF A MOVIE ADAPTATION

  • It brings more people to the book and gives the author a greater reading community.
  • It shares a good story with more people. Some people who don’t read books will watch the movie and get to share in the genius.
  • It’s easier on your mind when the book is hard to understand (*cough*Lord of the Rings*cough*) or when you’re just tired.
  • It has music! Which is awesome! Especially when you get a really cool soundtrack (Lord of the Rings, again!).
  • It helps you visualize. Especially when you’re like me and you can’t visualize what characters or settings look like. Plus, there can be awesome landscapes that are just awesome.
  • It can add new meaning to the story. Sometimes movies give me new perspective on the characters and story, and they can occasionally move me even more than the actual story does, or be a companion to it and make them both feel even awesome-er.

CONS OF A MOVIE ADAPTATION

  • The producers sometimes don’t read the book! Okay, not really, but they sometimes veer so far from the actual story line that it’s ridiculous. I’m looking at you, The Lightning Thief and Ella Enchanted.
  • People don’t always read the book (which is generally better) after seeing the movie. Isn’t it so frustrating when someone says they’ve seen the movie, whether or not they like it–and then they refuse to read the book? And it’s so awesome, but they just won’t.
  • Or, people don’t know it was a book in the first place! Has anyone else read How to Train Your Dragon? (I like the movie better…)
  • The story is reduced to a shorter time frame. Except in The Hobbit, when they made it longer. This means that things have to be cut (S.P.E.W. from Harry Potter!) and sometimes those things were important to the original plot, so it changes it. Sometimes, this can be a good thing, but most of the time it’s just frustrating.
  • It’s limited to what you can see. Which means that if a book uses a lot of internal dialogue and conflicts, it’s a lot harder to show those. So either those conflicts get changed, or they develop and resolve it through different means that don’t occur in the book.

Obviously, there are good and bad things about movie adaptations. So I want to hear your opinion:

Should books be made into movies? What movies are actually better than the books, if any? What are your favorite and least favorite movie adaptations? What components are needed in a good movie adaptation? If you could make any book into a movie, what would it be, and what would you change?

Ramble away, and we’ll discuss it!

 

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20 thoughts on “Should Books Be Made Into Movies?

  1. J.W. Martin June 24, 2017 / 9:09 PM

    You make many excellent points. Overall, I believe books should be made into movies. Generally, movies based off of books—though not as good as the books—are better than movies written as movies.

    Not only that, I can’t read every book out there. The ones that don’t make it to my TBR can easily make it onto my TV screen.

    Like

    • Lana June 26, 2017 / 5:39 PM

      Ahh, those are good points! I won’t say this is always the case, but I think that movies made as movies *should* be better than books made as movies because the screenwriter has an opportunity to write something that’s meant to be taken in just that way.

      That being said, my favorite movie is a book adaptation, so…you’re probably right with books being better as movies than movies. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  2. May @ Forever and Everly June 25, 2017 / 7:10 AM

    When I saw this post in my reader, I was like NO. NO NO NO. And then I read the pros you listed… and they’re all really good! Especially the visualizing one because goodness knows how I suck at imagining people and places. (Well, actually, the movie characters RUIN my own visualization of the characters??? Which sucks because I’ll remember the movie version. #nearphotographicmemory)

    I don’t have a problem with the adaption as a MOVIE, but the adaption as an adaption??? 9/10 THE ADAPTIONS SUCK. Because it doesn’t stay true to the book. I get that it’s in the producer and director’s hands now… but if you’re going to make a movie based on a book, make it AS SIMILAR AS POSSIBLE. (I’m look at you, Sea-of-Monsters-movie-who-made-Kronos-rise-when-he-rose-in-the-fifth-book.)

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    • Lana June 26, 2017 / 5:33 PM

      Haha, movie visualizations can sometimes be great or really bad. Depends if they actually get actors that look like the characters or not.

      It’s true! Most of the time. Although…I imagine it’s extremely difficult to write a screenplay from a novel since they’re such different mediums to work through. (But, yeah, the Percy Jackson movies were really bad…)

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Daisy Paquet June 25, 2017 / 2:58 PM

    Ugh, there are so many variables- I mean IS THERE AN ANSWER TO THIS CONUNDRUM?

    Like

    • Lana June 26, 2017 / 5:21 PM

      I KNOW!
      I was thinking of putting my opinion into the post, but then I realized…yeah, nope, that’s going to be way too rambly because I’m not entirely sure what my opinion is.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Kellyn Roth June 27, 2017 / 5:46 PM

    And I finally dig my way through the huge pile of posts I’ve neglected for the last couple days. *bows* I actually read this in my inbox earlier, though … so I just skimmed today.

    Should books be made into movies?:
    Um … okay, so I don’t know. I really love some book-to-movie adaptations … but some of them really mess with the best books ever! Like … *thinks* Well, I hate Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I was like a gorgeous book got totally torn to shreds. But then Gone with the Wind … Pride and Prejudice … ❤ So I don't know.

    What movies are actually better than the books, if any?:
    Well, I prefer most books to most movies … but I definitely liked the Hitchcock version of The 39 Steps waaaaay better than the book. I generally like books more than movies, though …

    What are your favorite and least favorite movie adaptations?:
    My favorite movie adaptation is probably Gone with the Wind. Or Pride and Prejudice ('05). My least favorite is probably Voyage of the Dawn Treader. But honestly, there are so many movie adaptations I have yet to see … because I'm scared …

    What components are needed in a good movie adaptation?:
    Well, GWTW doesn't follow the book too closely and I still love it … but it does capture the feeling of the book. I think that's the main thing.

    If you could make any book into a movie, what would it be, and what would you change?:
    Hmm … The Penderwicks. I don't think I'd change anything. Maybe make the whole Rosalind/Cagney thing a little less awkward … tone it down a ton or something.

    Like

    • Lana June 28, 2017 / 8:41 PM

      Ah, I love Pride and Prejudice! We just watched that a week or two ago…I decided that I’m going to have to ask for the piano score of the music for Christmas or something…it’s so pretty and I want to play all of it!

      -hasn’t seen or read Gone with the Wind…hehehh-

      I watched Voyage of the Dawn Treader but I don’t really remember it…I think I thought it was okay…but on second thought, I don’t think I ever read the book. (I’ve read the first two. Or I guess that would be 2 and 3, if The Magician’s Nephew is number 1…?) My least favorite movie adaption is Ella Enchanted. Ugh. I’m going to refrain from ranting about it…but it was bad.

      I think you’re definitely right with it getting the feeling of the book! I was trying to figure out what my opinion is, and I think that’s it! If the movie can make you feel the same way that the book does, regardless of what it changes, it’ll be a success. Like Howl’s Moving Castle… I liked both the book and the movie ’cause they felt the same, even though things happened differently in both of them! (Although you probably wouldn’t like the movie…’cause it’s anime. But both are pretty great.)

      Ooh, I kind of remember reading The Penderwicks. That was a while ago…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Kellyn Roth June 28, 2017 / 8:51 PM

        Which Pride and Prejudice? There are two versions … 1995 and 2005. I honestly prefer 2005, but everyone else thinks 2005 is total trash and 1995 is the only version … *sigh* I don’t know …

        Ooh, yeah! Ella Enchanted … that was ridiculous. Absolutely terrible.

        Yeah … anime and me just don’t get along for some reason …

        Like

      • Lana June 28, 2017 / 9:01 PM

        I’ve only seen the 2005 version, but I really like it! I absolutely love the music and Mr. Darcy is awesome. (Although, he’s awesome in the book too. I love him!)

        Ohhh you saw it too? Gah! Just…just…grrr.

        I really haven’t seen much anime, but it seems like it’s always a bit unrealistic. But it’s fun, too. 🙂 We’ve been watching Avatar: The Last Airbender this week…if that counts as anime.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kellyn Roth June 29, 2017 / 11:26 AM

        I actually haven’t seen the 1995 version all the way through … but I just know 2005 is better. Because of Keira Knightley. And the Mr. Darcy’s pretty awesome, too! I just love it!

        Yeah, it was on Netflix for a while. I was like, “Oh, that looks fun!” and then, “Nope. Just … nope.”

        I don’t know if it does or not … I think I’ve only watched one anime movie all the way through …

        Like

      • Lana June 29, 2017 / 10:19 PM

        I haven’t watched the 1995 version either. And Keira Knightley does an awesome job of playing Lizzie! (And their mom is always like “Jane is so beautiful and Lizzie isn’t” and…nope. Just look at her.)

        Good reaction.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kellyn Roth June 29, 2017 / 10:34 PM

        Yes, Keira Knightley does an amazing job! She’s quite beautiful, and her whole attitude is just so amazing!

        Like

      • Lana July 8, 2017 / 10:07 PM

        Agreed. 🙂 I’m debating whether or not to buy the piano music. Because it’s awesome, but…my hard earned money…and college is so expensive… (whyyy).

        Liked by 1 person

      • Kellyn Roth July 10, 2017 / 7:45 PM

        I want it! I didn’t know it was available … I’ll have to find it …

        Like

  5. Jordy Leigh June 28, 2017 / 11:30 PM

    What a great, original discussion idea!

    (When I’ve dreamed of my books being made into movies in the past, it’s basically been because I wanted the affirmation that my books are good enough to be made into movies. That’s not the most selfless motivation, is it?)

    But the more I come to think of it, the more I question whether I really want *my* books made into movies. Whenever an adaptation is made based off an original, it’s going to require some interpretation, since each reader’s experience is different. And where interpretation is involved, it strays a bit further from the original work… so there’s something to consider.

    I like your point about movies being reduced to what you can see. I hadn’t thought about that myself, but when you brought it up, I thought it very true and noteworthy.

    So now I’m leaning more towards that books shouldn’t be made into movies. What was your final verdict?

    Like

    • Lana June 29, 2017 / 10:15 PM

      Oh yeah, that’s a good point about every reader’s perspective being different! So while for one person the adaption might be how they imagined it, for another person it could be totally different…

      Well…I’m not sure entirely what I think. I mean, making movies out of books is so great for the industry, and there have been some good ones, so I don’t think they should stop…but maybe they should have to take more precautions. Like, actually getting characters’ hair colors right. 😉

      And Kellyn brought up the point about how even if a movie is different than the book, if it feels the same, then it’s okay, and I definitely agree with that! The movie should leave you feeling the way the book did, whether it was intense, humorous, or cute.

      Of course, then there’s the matter of which actors you pick and what budget you have, which can affect even a good screenplay…but maybe that’s getting a little too far into it. 😉

      I don’t know…I like the idea of one of my books becoming a movie, but I don’t know that I would actually like their version of it. I think it depends on the book as well and whether it lends itself to the screen. Some are just so internally based that it would be extremely hard to transfer them to a screenplay…

      Liked by 1 person

      • Jordy Leigh June 30, 2017 / 4:11 AM

        Oh what industry is that? The book or movie industry? Or both individually? Or entertainment in general? I honestly hadn’t put any thought into how movie industries affect various industries. Putting in that point makes it sound like you’ve studied this topic… or at least done more than scratched the surface.

        I think I’d agree with Kellyn’s point. I mean, the whole point of reading fiction (as opposed to reading non-fiction) is for the experience of feeling it, right? It’s a bout the heart, not the head. I don’t think that’s necessarily the *only* thing that ought to be preserved in the book-to-movie transition, but I definitely think that ought to be a major consideration. Actually, I think it should go without saying.

        Yes! If only we could see the prospective finished product *before* deciding whether or not we would consent to having our book turned into a movie… right? Do you tend to write with an emphasis on the internal conflict and plot?

        Like

      • Lana July 8, 2017 / 10:10 PM

        Well, both the book and the movie industries improve by creating a movie adaption (book readers watch the movie and movie watchers read the book…more or less of the time). I really haven’t studied the topic…but I do like thinking about it!

        I agree! But a lot of movies don’t seem to keep the same feeling and change it to be more action-y or whatever. (Which makes sense, considering the medium, but still.)

        I try to include external conflict as well, but yeah, a lot of my writing is about the internal conflict because I love playing with emotions and how different situations affect them.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Jordy Leigh July 9, 2017 / 10:57 PM

        I haven’t read and seen many book-movie pairs, so I’ll just have to trust you. 😉 But I *did* ready Les Mis after having seen one of the movie adaptations, so yeah, what you said must be true. X)

        Like

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