Tuesday 16 August 2011

Books vs. TV & Film adaptations

I don't know about you guys, but I have a love-hate relationship with films and TV shows adapted from books. There's usually something that offends me about the way the story has been translated, whether I've seen the film first or vice versa. Although, this seems to happen to me more with feature-length films than television series's, as I guess the former have a lot less time fit the detail in. But there are times where I just feel they've made a few too many changes. Not all the time, as you shall see, but it's always something that's in the back of my mind.

Here are a few of the adaptations I've seen:

1. The Twilight Saga (The Twilight saga by Stephenie Meyer)

I watched Twilight before reading any of the books, initially falling victim to the hype and renting it out on DVD. I wasn't sure if I liked it that much, but went on to read the first installment and absolutely fell in love with it. Aside from preferring New Moon in movie form (not enough Edward in the book), I am more of a fan of the written. Eclipse is by far my favourite of the novels but my least favourite of the films, so needless to say I was pretty dissapointed about that one in particular. But I can't wait for Breaking Dawn Parts 1 & 2 to come out (so curious to see how they handle the whole Renesmee situation!)

2. Confessions Of A Shopaholic (The Shopaholic Series by Sophie Kinsella)

Having loved Sophie Kinsella's Shopaholic books, I couldn't wait to see Becky on the big screen. But here's another film that fell short of my expectations! I can't understand why they had to change so much of it. Firstly, why is Becky American? I'm sure London is interesting enough. Plus what did they do with Suze? She's completely different in the book! If I was in charge of casting, I would've no way picked Krysten Ritter to play her. So wrong. And Derek Smeath did not need to be that evil because he certainly wasn't in the book. I understand they have to change certain things for more 'cinematic effect', but was this really necessary?

3. Pride and Prejudice – 1995 BBC adaptation (Pride And Prejudice by Jane Austen)

This is my absolute favourite adaptation! I don't know if it's because my first experience reading Pride and Prejudice went alongside watching the BBC series as a study aid in school, but I think it captures the magic of the book with incredible precision. Sure there are a few scenes which have been taken out, altered or added in (most notably that famous wet t-shirt scene), but it's done so well. I just love everything - the casting, the locations, the costume, etc. Anyway, you get the point! ;-)

4. Marley And Me (Marley And Me by John Grogan)

I read the book a while ago and so can't remember all the particulars, but I do recall thinking that aside from leaving out a few scenes and altering others, the film pretty much stays true to John Grogan's memoir. I really like both versions, though I can't watch the film too often because the ending makes me bawl my eyes out! It's seriously one of the most touching films I've seen. They did well with this one.

5. The Hobbit (The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien)

Fear not; my time machine is still in the shop! But this adaptation I can't help but speculate about because I'm so. darn. excited! I loved The Lord of the Rings film trilogy, and loved reading The Hobbit so I'm very curious about how this will turn out. I do have my concerns though – I've heard that Cate Blanchett will be back as Galadriel and Orlando Bloom as Legolas, but their characters aren't in the book. I'll just trust Peter Jackson for now, though. I really must read The Lord of the Rings books to get some more perspective between now and next Christmas!

Of course, there are loads of famous adaptations that I've left out, like Harry Potter (haven't read the books or seen the films recently), Bridget Jones (haven't read the books yet), Game Of Thrones, Mildred Piece, Revolutionary Road, and so forth.

So let me ask you guys, what are some of your favourite and least favourite adaptations? Do you tend to reach for the film after you've read the book, or do you avoid them at all costs in case they ruin the story for you? I'm all ears!