Should movie adaptations follow the book?

Photo illustration by Khang Do.

By Jennifer Trend, Staff Writer

More and more books are being signed to movie deals, and with it comes along a question: how closely should movies follow the book plot? Authors and fans alike want nothing more than an accurate movie, but sometimes things may not work out that way.

Authors never really get a say in the movie making process, and it is rare for them to have any input, much less contribute a lot to the movie, so the movie script is completely out of their hands the moment they sign the deal. The team may add or take out scenes, and in turn, make something that is exactly or nothing like the book.

Movies should find the line between following the book plot and making its own variation of it. Following the book word for word would be too much of a hassle. While it would give fans what they want, it doesn’t offer a new subplot for the fans, and they may become displeased with the way things are presented.

Meanwhile, making a movie that has almost nothing in relation to the book plot would not be a good idea. Although it does give it a more creative touch, it may also separate it from the book it was made after, and fans would be extremely displeased that the book they’ve read is completely different from the movie.

There are few movies that follow closely along the plot of a book, and there are pros and cons to doing so. With the short amount of time given in a movie, there will always be parts of the book that are left out and added so the movie storyline will make more sense. But if done poorly, this may lead to a confusing plot, and in turn, a bad movie.

A movie that knows the line between something new and following the book is one that will most likely succeed. If it were to present the characters and setting accurately, and follow the main points of the plot, but insert in new scenes or subplots to help the story move along, it would leave fans happy with what they were given.

J.K. Rowling, author of the “Harry Potter” series, had more input in the movies than most authors would get. Given, it was very limited in what she could contribute, but she did have a say in a few things. This was partially due to only a few of the books being out at the time, and only she knew what would happen in the future. When the movies came out, fans were pleased as it not only stayed mostly true to the books, but it also presented the plot, characters and settings in a way that made it its own, while staying connected to the books.

Other movies were not so lucky to incorporate the book so much into it. While it may have been a good movie, from someone who had read the books, it would be a disappointment.

Popular book to movie adaptations include “Percy Jackson”, “City of Bones”, “The Hunger Games” and so much more. These movies have gotten mixed reviews, both as a movie and as a book to movie adaptation. We can only hope that future adaptations such as “Love, Simon” (“Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda”, “The Death Cure”, and all the others live up to their book counterparts.

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