Discussion | Why we want visual adaptations of books we love…

Now, if you read my excerpt, it may have seemed a little extreme. Here it is again if you missed it: Why do we cry out for movie adaptations, when all we do is complain about them when they’re released?

I know that there is often a lot to love about movie adaptations of books, but as huge advocates of literature, we bookworms will always be nitpickers when it comes down to it. We will always spot what was changed, how the actor doesn’t look exactly like we imagined, or how they took out that amazing scene from the book. It’s what we do.

If you’re anything like me, you may be at the stage where you want to have an open mind, but it’s just so damn hard. Over the years, I have come to realise that sometimes, the movie makers will simply have to change things from the book, as they just don’t work in the visual medium. But why, then, do they have to make big changes to the plot? Or play around with some of the fundamental aspects of the book’s universe?

Read the book

Sometimes they get it right, though. They make a few changes to make the story to make it work for the visual medium, but they still keep the integrity of the storytelling in tact. That’s what I consider great adaptation. I think it’s important to remember that it is, in fact, an adaptation, not a visualisation of the book. Some things will inevitably be changed.


Let’s look at a few examples, shall we?

  • The ever infamous Mortal Instruments film: Now, if you’ve read the TMI series and seen the movie, you will definitely know what I’m talking about. I haven’t spoken to anyone who is a fan of the books, who actually liked the movie. Now, you may have a different opinion, but the feeling of disdain seems to be fairly popular. A lot of fans, myself included, could talk about this for hours, if given the opportunity.
    I am very curious about the new Shadowhunters TV show though. The trailer and sneak peeks look a little odd, but given that it’s just for the pilot, I’m trying to keep an open mind (yeah right…). What are your thoughts on the movie and the upcoming TV series?
  • The Maze Runner and, more recently, The Scorch Trials: In the way of adaptation, these movies vary quite a bit. TMR was pretty similar to most adaptations; it mostly kept to the book, but took out and added in a few things. TST, however, was atrocious when it comes to relating it to the book. It was completely different. However, I found it to be a really good film in and of itself. I think that, because they changed pretty much everything, it was good. If they had kept in more of the book, I don’t think it would have been as good. It’s only because it deviated so completely that it was still a great movie.
  • Vampire Academy: You may have seen that I posted a Series Spotlight for this book series a couple of weeks ago. When I saw the movie version earlier in the year, I was rather offended. I felt it had been reduced to a petty chick flick that lacked the substance and character of the books.
  • Believe it or not, I don’t find all adaptations horrible! One that I loved was Perks of Being a Wallflower. It almost definitely was down to the fact that the author of the book was the screenwriter, but this fed my purist heart. From memory, this film basically is a visualisation of the book. But it worked, so it was great.
  • Of course, the Harry Potter movies are absolutely gorgeous, too. However, I have different perspective of this, as I only started reading the books just before the first part of DH came out. The movies are still great, though.

Harry Potter applause


So, what do you think of books being adapted into movies. Are you interested in maybe having more series be adapted into TV shows? What did you think of the above movies? Any others that you loved or loathed? I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

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4 thoughts on “Discussion | Why we want visual adaptations of books we love…

  1. Giselle @ Hardwork Boulevard October 22, 2015 / 8:42 PM

    This is such an interesting topic, Rachel! On my case, I view the two, movies and book, as a separate entity. That being said, I didn’t view the movie adaptation as a “bad/terrible version” of the book but rather a unique variation. I tried to accept the fact that movie directors, screenwriters, film makers had to change some scenarios of the book so the entire result would be “movie-like.” 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Rachel K October 22, 2015 / 8:51 PM

      I love that way of looking at it! I wish I could be that open-minded, and I’m definitely trying, but my natural instinct is to compare it to the book. Hopefully I can ease up on my purist mindset in the future 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Ayunda October 24, 2015 / 12:40 AM

    I know book lovers are very critical when watching a book they love, but it’s just because we don’t want the book to be ruined from a bad movie! And I agree about how some movies might not be as good as the book, but other movies might also be a good book-to-movie adaptation.

    Liked by 1 person

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