Breaking books on the big screen

I saw this link go by on Twitter, so I clicked it. It’s not what I thought it was, but it’s worth watching:

No Books Were Harmed In The Filming Of This Video

What I thought it was

How many times have you read a book, enjoyed it, and then watched the disappointing “film adaptation”?

I thought this was going to be a review of a book-turned-movie that was awesome and true to the original. It was awesome (particularly the word “read” and the picnickers), but not what I expected.

Why do we want books on the big screen?

But it got me thinking about adaptations. I read a book, love it, and want to see it honoured in Hollywood. Unfortunately, the parts of books that I love most are the most difficult to translate into film – character motivations, internal struggles, narration,…. I can’t imagine why I think my favourite books could possibly make it onto Blu-ray unscathed, but I usually ponder it a little after finishing each brilliant story.

I realize that many movies come from books, and that seeing the movie on its own isn’t necessarily disappointing. I’m not anti-film, I’m just sad for what’s lost in translation.

Maybe shorter books do better

When I see an adaptation of a long book, I know how much had to be cut to fit it into 90 minutes (or 178 minutes – I’m looking at you, Fellowship of the Ring). That sometimes is material that should have been cut from the book before publication, but more often it’s the stuff that makes the story richer for the reader.

Perhaps a short book stands a better chance of surviving the transition to the screen.

Good examples?

Are there books you loved which were adapted very well to film?

I’d love it if filmmakers tried to be careful. Wouldn’t it be great to watch the closing credits at the theatre and see “No books were harmed in the making of this film”?

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