Books Into Films

Over the last month near enough every film to be released has been based on a book. The Hobbit, Life of Pi, Gangster Squad, Jack Reacher, Les Miserables. All books. I’ve only seen 2 of these, The Hobbit and Reacher and I enjoyed both. I find that some people see adaptations as never going to be as good as the book. I know someone who got angry when Scott Pillgrim was changed to fit into one film. I’m sorry if I’m rude, but don’t watch it then. The top four highest grossing films last year were all adaptations of books so most people either don’t care or have to see it to pick fault. I didn’t think I was going to enjoy The Hobbit, but I had to see it. It is one of my favourite books ever and I wanted to see if they could turn it into three films. They could. It was a good film. The additions were very few, but didn’t seem out of place. It was visually stunning. I can’t wait for the next one. I do think, however, that this will be the only book that is quicker to read than watching the film.

I went to see Jack Reacher last week, with high expectations. I’ve read the first 3 books and thought they were all right. The first one was really good, second one was alright and the third was just silly. I might go and read the fourth one now though. I’m not a big Tom Cruise fan, but he does make some good films. He was brilliant for the part, despite being much shorter than the 6’5” character from the books. One of the people I went to see it with is a big Reacher fan. She introduced me to the series, and has loved every single book. She wasn’t quiet about not wanting a film to be made, and I couldn’t help but laugh when Cruise was cast, and her reaction to it. She only agreed to go because she had to see the film, just to be annoyed. Even she thought it was good.

The way I see it is that the book and the film should be completely separate. I know that’s never going to happen, but I try to look at it that way. If I wanted something exactly like the book I would reread the book. The film should be it’s own thing. Reacher works like that, The Hobbit works like that. I try to judge films based on books, as their own thing. I do have to own up and say that my main problem with From Hell is that it takes the core bit of the book and butchers it into a film. The only reason they called it From Hell was to pray on comic fans who loved Moore’s book. It was a dreadful film, and I couldn’t sit through it. Adaptation aside the film was bad. Poorly paced and not convincing. Even League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was better than From Hell.

One recent adaptation that doesn’t work is The Walking Dead. I know that isn’t a film, but it’s crap compared to the comic. I really wanted to love it. I thought the first episode was brilliant, and then it went down hill. It deviated from the comic, which I have no problem with, but it didn’t go anywhere. The dialogue was awful, and the serious bits kept on making me laugh. There was one bit, I think in the second episode, where Rick was hacking a dead body to pieces and it was so overdone, it became ridiculous. I gave up after the first series, but have been told it gets better. I’m not sure if I will ever watch the second series, but I don’t have high hopes.

Thanks for reading,


About ashleymanningwriter

Young Adult Fiction writer. Horror and fantasy blended together.
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6 Responses to Books Into Films

  1. Kat Laurange says:

    I agree that you should try to view the film adaptation as something separate from the book. Sometimes it’s easy, other times not so much. I wonder if it depends on how devoted you are to the original source material?


  2. Kerry says:

    I have not read the Reacher books but really likes the film, watching the film has actually made me want to read the books. I find you learn so much more by reading the books ie The Hunger Games, so much more was explained about the process of the reaping in the book, however I really enjoyed the adaptions they made to the film.


    • I’ve not seen The Hunger Games. It is on my pile, and I really enjoyed the books. I agree that the books are better, and give better insight. It just annoys me when people complain about an adaptation because it differs from the book. Especially on little details. Also some films are just better. Like the Harry Potter films are much better than the books. I know a lot of people disagree (And agree) with me, but I’ve always thought that.


  3. geekylola says:

    I often find the movies fail the books they are meant to be an adaptation of. But that may be because I do expect the movie to be just that, an adaptation. A movie of a book, especially one the continually advertise as based on the book should closely follow the story, should be just that, the movie version of the book. Also, most of the movies I find disappoint the readers, are movies that don’t just skip the little details but also greater one, even if a movie watcher would never know it was gone. Such as the last Harry Potter film which quite a few people who had never read the books confused about the ending and whether or not Harry died and was indeed brought back. Also, the subject of the Horcruxes were less understood.


    • I understand your point. I think the best adaptations are those which take the idea and change it. Look at The Colorado Kid by Stephen King and the TV series Haven. They are completely different, but are both good in their own right.


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