Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Movie Adaptations

Last night, after a long, and not so great week, I convinced my husband to go with me to see Divergent.  I was pretty late in finding the series, I only heard about it when Allegiant came out, so I’ve read all three books in the past month or so. 

Going into the movie, I wasn’t expecting to be wowed.  It’s been a very long time since I’ve seen a good movie adaptation of a book.  Honestly, there’s a part of me that wonders why I even bother to go.

I think a part of it has to do with the fact that I can create the world while reading.  The author may have created it first, but every reader has their own viewpoint.  And there’s always the challenge of taking every thought and idea and deciding which ones are most important.  Books will always have more than the movie, unless it’s split into several different movies, and even then, something’s bound to be missing.

I can’t even count the number of movies I saw that were perfectly ‘okay’ but left me disappointed.  They may have left out one of my favorite minor characters from a book.  They may have adapted a slower novel into a politically driven movie, dumping the whole character of the book by the wayside.  (I’m looking at you Ella Enchanted.)    I’ve even seen movie skip over the rising action portion of the book, the part where the hero learns whatever it is that they need to win in the end, turning it into a short, music filled montage. 

Even movies that are more or less true to the novel, I’ve come out shaking my head, wondering where the ‘heart’ is.  Essentially, that is the essence of my complaint.  I want to feel the same way watching the movie as I did reading the book.  That’s really why I read, for the characters and for the journey.  But at the heart of every book is the way that it makes me feel. 

I think that's why I've never thought about whether or not any of my novels become a movie.  I honestly don't know if I'd enjoy that.  I've always felt that if that were to happen, they'd be stripped of their essentials. 

So going into this movie, I was ready to be disappointed.  But I think I grinned through the entire thing.  Not because it’s an entirely happy movie.  It’s not.  I was ecstatic because I was watching what I’d read.  Sure, they had to drop some characters, and numerous plot points.  And yes, there were points that were a bit disappointing, but in the end, when I walked out of the theatre knowing that I’d watched the movie of what I’d read.  They’d captured the essence of the book, its tone, its soul and put it on screen.

I wish there were more adaptations like that one. 

What do you think?  Are you a fan of movie adaptations of books?  Did you enjoy Divergent?