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As a fan of both books and movies, you would think that I would be a fan of book-to-screen adaptations, as they are the crossover of two things that I love, and you would be right. I’m one of those people that sees an awesome movie trailer and digs up the book before watching the movie because to me there’s something special about watching the book world I created in my mind while reading come alive on the big screen.
However, while I usually enjoy book-to-screen adaptations, I’m more than well aware that there are plenty out there who don’t share my enthusiasm for that particular category of movies.
Now let me take a moment to clarify something: there have certainly been some particularly horrific adaptations that completely massacred their book parent, like this disaster. Of those, I am not fan, and I complain about them just as loudly as the other horrified readers.
I think the reason, however, that I tend to enjoy book-to-screen adaptations for the most part, is that I don’t go in expecting the movie to be exactly like the book. I understand that elements are going to be cut, and that sometimes elements that I really enjoyed or thought were particularly special are going to be altered or removed altogether. That’s the way it is, and to expect anything otherwise would be setting myself up for a massive disappointment.
The difference, is that unless there are enormous, plot-altering, character-destroying changes, I don’t let it destroy the rest of the movie for me.
For example, I just recently saw Warm Bodies, and I have to say that I enjoyed it. Was it exactly like the book? Hardly—in fact, they altered the ending in a way that I can’t say I was too fond of, however, the spirit of the book was still there. R’s witty internal commentary and the zombie-love awkwardness and the dry humor was reflected in the movie, and I loved watching a book that I enjoyed unfold before my very eyes.
Had I been counting scenes that they cut and changes that they made, however, I would have walked out of that theater as a rather unhappy person. If you nitpick at a book-to-screen adaptation, chances are you’ll never be happy with the result.
Now that’s not to say that I don’t understand why some people don’t like the adaptations—I definitely get wanting to see something that maintains the integrity of the novel, which is why book-to-screen disasters don’t sit well with me. But I suppose my love of movies combined with my love of books makes me a little soft when I watch adaptations because I want to enjoy the movie. I don’t go looking for reasons to dislike it and I even let changes and cuts slide as long as I feel the book is still well reflected. But some people are pickier than me, and I get that, too.
So now I want to hear from you: do you enjoy book-to-screen adaptations, or do you tend to avoid them? Somewhere in the middle? Share your thoughts in the comments below!