Why read a book, when you can just go and see the film? said no loyal book reader ever. But here’s the thing: movies that are based on books are now improving and rising in fame – it’s basically an invitation to all lazy people out there to put down their books and sit themselves down in front of a large cinema screen with a bucket of popcorn snuggled on their lap. For all movie goers, cinema has always been easy entertainment – with our eyes we watch and we allow the moving images to sink into our brains without hassle of turning pages or looking up complicated words in the dictionary (or worst yet, having to create images in our head all by ourselves!).
In the last decade or so, movies have focused on novels so much that it seems nearly every other trailer I see claims the tag line ‘based on the book by etc etc…’ It’s not altogether a terrible thing though. Movies have been with us since the end of the 19th century, creating a modern art that is both enjoyable and gripping. It’s just that it has come to a point where the most popular books cannot simply stay being books. On one hand, it is interesting to see how a book can be adapted, to see who will be casted, how the director will make certain scenes come alive, which scenes will be axed and which will be added. But on the other hand, I sometime feel that although I enjoyed the film adaption of a particular book, my own interpretation has blurred a little, and the original joy I felt whilst reading the book has broken apart a little. In truth, this has not happened with all adaptions, but most.
My Short List of Movies That Once Were Books:
Twilight – Stephanie Meyer
Before the Twilight saga became such a worldwide sensation, I was already a fan at the tender age of 14. And then it all blew out of proportion. With news of the upcoming film being advertised and spread around, I was one of those people who faithfully anticipated the movie release. As such, the first film was a huge disappointment and opened the gateway to thousands of unimpressed critics and sarcastic haters. In a nutshell, the casting wasn’t brilliant, acting was stoic, and the story wasn’t played out as well as the book. I know it’s hard to compress a book into a film, but this just taught me to be sceptical of movies based on books in the future. I think a book like Twilight should have been left to our own imaginations. Thankfully, whenever I get a chance to re-read the books, I don’t see the faces of Robert Pattinson or Kristen Stewart – but sometimes their presence creeps up and now the ultimate first-hand experience has disappeared forever. No worries, there are plenty of other good books to read any way!
Far From the Madding Crowd (2015) – Thomas Hardy
I loved this film (and I loved Hardy’s book just as much). Classics are always interesting to see on screen – particularly Jane Austen’s novels – but to see something that is generally not as popular as others is like a breath of fresh air. Acting was brilliant and really brought the characters to life. I’m glad this was a success.
The Hunger Games – Suzanne Collins
I read the first book, and absolutely loved it. I even wrote an essay on it at university, which shows how much I was into it. And then came the movie… and actually, to my utmost surprise, the film was equally brilliant. Great casting – Jennifer Lawrence suited Katniss, and everyone else played their character really well too. It’s easy to see why the series were such a hit. I started reading the second book, but I found that I couldn’t really be bothered to stay interested; but the funny thing was that I was still interested in the story. So naturally, I became lazy, and watched the film instead (Catching Fire), and I’m not really ashamed to say that I’ll probably never read the final two books either. Sorry Suzanne!
Harry Potter Series – J K Rowling
I’m going to admit – I watched most of the films first before common sense hit me and I decided to read the books. When I was younger I wasn’t much into reading books – and as a result I missed out on a literary genius at a young age. That said, I know people who still haven’t read the books because they’ve watched the films and now they can’t bothered to read them. What a waste of perfectly good reading! I’m glad I decided to read the books, finishing the series before the final few films came out.
The Martian (2015) – Andy Weir
Okay, so, I’m totally crazy about this book. I read it while on holiday in Cyprus (I know, it’s not a typical holiday book), and I was hooked from the first page. I really liked the scare factor in this story (astronaut stranded on Mars with no way home – or so we think), and how the main character works hard to get himself home. There is a lot of scientific and mathematical talk in the book, but it still didn’t put me off it. I’m no science boffin, but for some reason I was kept interested. I guess I just wanted to see if he got back to Earth or not. The film didn’t disappoint either, but in my heart I know that the book was still the best. Movies don’t quite beat books, especially books as good as The Martian.
John Green Books
There seems to be a real infatuation with transforming John Green’s books into films. At the moment it’s only The Fault in Our Stars and Paper Towns that have been adapted, but in 2016, Looking for Alaska will join the list too. I’ve only read Looking For Alaska before, but when I watched The Fault in Our Stars I thought that it seemed like a story that suited the big screen better. Still, I’m looking forwards to see Looking for Alaska when it comes out.
The list could go on and on and on, but I don’t have forever to write this. So instead I’ve included a list of books that will be released as films next year, and a Good Reads link to an even longer list!
The Choice by Nicholas Sparks (Feb 2016)
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E Smith
Looking for Alaska by John Green
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness (Oct 2016, with Liam Neeson)
Me Before You by JoJo Moyes
Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith