As a former teacher, movies of books were both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because the films sometimes held interesting interpretations of the books, or really brought the characters to life in a way that resonated with how we had seen them as we read. They were a treasure trove of conversation points as we compared the two arts.
And then there were the kids who either only watched the movies, rather than reading the books, or who were so very visual that they were unable to come up with their own ideas of what the characters looked or acted like (I’m looking at you here, Peter Jackson and The Lord of the Rings).
As a reader, I like to create my own interpretations of books. Of characters, of settings, of stories. If I really, really love a book, I will often avoid seeing a movie version altogether (especially if it’s rumored to be awful – I’m looking at you here, The House of the Spirits), because I want to hang on to the world I’ve created in my head.
And even if the movie is not bad, I am invariably disappointed by it in some way, not because it’s bad on its own, but because it just can’t hold a candle to the world I create in my mind as I read (I’m looking at you here, Harry Potter).
And as a writer, I know that there are many, many gifted screenwriters out there with their own unique, wonderful ideas for stories that they created specifically to tell them on the screen, and I think it’s a shame when they miss getting a shot because we’re re-creating a property instead.
I’ve skipped over a lot of the excellent reasons people do make movies out of books in order to focus on my reservations. But what do you think?
Do the benefits of having a book made into a movie outweigh the drawbacks?