From Story to Script: My “Take” on Book to Movie Adaptations

Readers can either jump for joy or grimace when they hear these words: book to movie adaptations. On one hand, it can be unimaginably exciting to see your favorite characters come to life on a new platform. At the same time, many fans can get very protective of their favorites stories and have major complaints if the movie doesn’t meet their expectations. I’ve seen awesome movies based on books, and I’ve seen some that have really fallen short. It’s a controversial topic, but I’ll do my best to cover all sides.

Let’s first talk about the positives of book to movie adaptations. I’m going to pull a story from my personal life to help support this. One of my favorite things that come from turning books are the conversations that are started because of it. For example, one of my favorite Sci-Fi books, The Martian by Andy Weir, was a diamond in the rough for a very long time. I absolutely loved it and convinced (more like forced) most of my friend group to read it. They all thought it was amazing too, but it wasn’t nearly as talked about as a lot of other books out there. When I heard they were making a movie, I was a little nervous it wouldn’t hold against the book, but I was mostly excited. In the end, I’m very happy with how the movie came out. Matt Damon did a great job portraying Mark Watney and definitely captured his quirky personality. Today, I’ve heard countless people about how much they loved the movie and how it made them want to pick up the book. I’m a book first then movie person, but any excuse for someone to pick up the book is good enough for me! I was recently on a plane ride and I saw someone watching The Martian — I cannot express how happy I was! 🙂

Now, the negatives. As soon as you read that, I’m sure there was a certain book or movie that popped into your head. A common ground for this train of thought is (sadly) Percy Jackson. The series that everyone loved as kids were made into a movie not too long ago, and pretty much everyone was disappointed. It didn’t stick to the book and had a completely different plot. It made fans very unhappy and brought up the topic of whether book to movie adaptations was a good thing. I heard a lot of people saying something along the lines of “How could the author let this happen to their book?” Well, it’s not completely their fault. A lot of times, when an author signs over the rights of their book to a movie company, they don’t have much say with how closely the movie sticks to the book. It has to do with what the contract says. It’s the author’s choice if they decide to make that agreement, but it’s not uncommon for writers to have little to no say in how the book is portrayed. It’s a fact we sadly have to face when thinking about movies based on books.

Another major complaint from fans is that it’s extremely difficult for multi-hundred-page books to be properly condensed into a moderate length feature film. A lot is lost from the original plot of the book. But I have good news! There is a new platform where writers are bringing books to life: television programs! With each episode sixty minutes or more, it offers way more time to flesh out characters and plots than in a movie. We can already see some popular franchises taking advantage of this option: Game of Thrones, Shadowhunters, and Thirteen Reasons Why to name a few. Personally, I think this is a great option for books to reach new audiences and still have plenty of time to properly portray the story.

What are your thoughts on book to movie adaptations? Do you have an opinion on books being turned into television shows?

Thanks for reading! How you enjoyed!

— J. L. Willow

2 thoughts on “From Story to Script: My “Take” on Book to Movie Adaptations

  1. JW says:

    I personally love the book to movie adaptations (book first of course). Watching stories like Lord of the Rings come to life is an incredible experience. Can’t wait for the next big screen adapt- Stephen Kings The Dark Tower series.

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  2. alevanpa1 says:

    Very interesting. You’re absolutely right about books into movies. Most of them are ally done.

    My favorite book series, done into movies- The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien-was very well done. I’ve enjoyed rewatching the three films several times. Their only drawback is that, for modern films, they are very long. It is difficult to find time to view any one of them completely in one sitting.

    I should make a “Lord of the Rings” day and do nothing except watch the films-one after the other…. Not! Grand-mom would not sit still for it. (Pun intended)

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