The Sunday Symposium is a weekly feature in which I'll be discussing various bookish topics and asking for your commentary, as well. This week, let's talk about books being adapted into movies and television shows, shall we?
In the last couple of years, it seems like nearly every successful YA book or series is being adapted for the screen. In fact, the movie rights to some novels are being purchased before the books have even made it to readers; for example, Ridley Scott's London production company purchased the rights to Moira Young's Blood Red Road a year before the book was published (source) and Kass Morgan's The 100 is already slated for the CW's fall lineup (source), even though the novel won't be released until September.
Personally, when I hear that a book I've read, favorite or not, is being adapted for the silver screen or for television audiences, I'm initially excited. The thought of seeing a book come to life is exhilarating...but also unimaginable. And so, soon after talk of a movie is addressed, I find myself worrying that the movie could never live up to the preconceived notions I have from the book. (They rarely ever do.) Then the casting begins, and I'm left even less sure of the film's success in my own mind, let alone the thousands of other readers who will be weighing in.
If I forbid myself from re-reading the book prior to a movie's release, I'm less likely to judge the film so harshly. That was the case withThe Host and with Warm Bodies earlier this year. Also, if I watch the movie first, I tend to find it more appealing than the book, as with The Neverending Story and The Princess Bride. Basically, it comes down to timing, I suppose. How recently I read the book. If I even read the book prior to seeing the movie or tv show. These are definitely big factors in how much I enjoy an adaptation, as are casting and how true the story remains to the original book. Some I have control over, some I do not.
But sometimes, TV and movie execs get it right, whether they remained true to the story or not. As with the CW's The Vampire Diaries. I only read the first two novels in the series, and to me, they were complete shite. There's no nice way to say it. I read them over the course of a couple of weeks at the gym, and in the end, I flat-out hated myself for it. And I swore I'd never waste my precious time watching a show based on such a farce of a story. But then I saw that Boone from Lost was a recurring character, and well, eye candy is eye candy. So, I gave the show a shot. And then I was addicted, much to the dismay of my husband. But that dismay didn't last long...he's as hooked as I am now, and we both kind of stared open-mouthed at each other after last Thursday's season finale. Did. Not. See. That. Coming.
Anyways, book adaptations...they can be a good thing, or they can be a really, really bad idea. There are a lot of aspects that affect the success, or lack thereof, of a book-to-screen adaptation. And it goes without saying that no two adaptations will have the same results. Obviously.
What makes or breaks an adaptation in your eyes? What are some of your favorites? Which ones were big ole flops, as far as you're concerned? Are there any that you're particularly excited about? Or maybe over-protectively leery of? :P
And what say you on the recent news that FOX decided not to pick up the series based on the Delirium books by Lauren Oliver? (source) I'm actually relieved about that one. With the slew of changes that the producers had decided to back, I was sure it would make for a pretty good tv show, but as an adaptation? It was going to be awful.
I know it will never work out this way, but I wish adaptations would appeal to the readers first and then to the masses. *sigh*
Any and all commentary, chastising, and public flogging is welcome, as per usual. And thanks for stopping by!