You’ll always hear someone say that the ‘book is better than the movie’ when referring to just about any book adaptation movie there is. It’s practically the most common complaint and criticism of viewers about every movie that brought a published piece of work to the big screen. A lot of book fans who looked forward to seeing their favorite titles in theaters usually go home disappointed because they believe that the movie missed a crucial part of the book.
This is why it’s quite safe to say that book adaptations, no matter how well they do at the box office, will always leave a sour taste in some viewers’ mouths. Not everyone will be completely happy with them because they’re not ‘faithful’ enough or they ‘didn’t really translate the book’s story well’.
While this is a disservice to the hard work of the production team, it’s an inevitable truth that every outfit who intends to adapt a bestselling title should be ready for. It’s unfortunate that a good chunk of the people who hyped and looked forward to the movie’s release will go home disappointed and write bad reviews about the film.
If you’re one of these bookworms who are hardly satisfied with how Hollywood interprets popular books, you might be wondering why is this the case. There should be a reason behind this trend, right? It’s not just some wicked twist of fate that a good portion of the book fans finds the books better than the movies.
We’ve looked at what experts say about this phenomenon and came up with a few explanations why this could be the case. Check them out below.
Your connection with the book is at the personal level.
You’ve seen the story unfold in your mind’s eye so you have your own interpretation of the book after poring through its pages. You have most likely savored every scene and character description to complete the picture in your mind. This won’t always align with the filmmakers’ version mostly because you have different values, experiences, and viewpoints in life.
This is practically the very reason why every book adaptation doesn’t feel faithful to its source material. Because it feels alien to you, the reader, it won’t feel like you’re necessarily consuming the same narrative. It won’t feel like the film is telling the same story as the book you’ve read and loved.
Books will let your imagination run wild even if you’re just consuming a story that someone else has already created for you. You might even have a different interpretation of it compared to the author, mostly because the two of you do not share the same experiences.
And because movies are tailored to have a mass market appeal, they’re created to provide a more ‘cinematic experience’. This will hardly be the same as the world you have created in your mind for the book’s story, so you’ll end up feeling like the movie didn’t deliver what you have expected from it.
Book narrations don’t always work for the big screen.
Let’s face it, some bestselling titles will definitely lose the suspense they hold if they were transformed into a movie in the exact same way they were narrated in the book. It’s just that, some book narrations are dead giveaways to the most important parts of the story. Some are told from various viewpoints which can be too complicated to translate the exact same way in a movie.
With this, we can say that the unfaithfulness of a movie adaptation can also be blamed on the difference between the two forms of media. It could just really be impossible for a movie to tell the story the exact same way as the author did in writing.
There are time constraints when presenting a story in a movie.
Sometimes there are also some characters merged or even completely cut out of the picture. This tends to upset a lot of readers but it can be a necessary change to keep the plot intact. Movies just really cannot have too many characters because the storyline will feel too cluttered. While books have the luxury of time to pursue their storylines, a movie that’s barely 2 hours long don’t.
These, of course, are just some of the reasons why it’s nearly impossible for a book adaptation to be as faithful as you’d want them to be to the books they’ve been based on. Books and movies just really have different ways of presenting the story, so maybe it would be nice to cut the latter some slack? Look at it as a different way to consume your favorite title and you might just find yourself enjoying the movie.
Keep this in mind on your next trip to the MJR and you might just save yourself from getting disappointed that the movie adaptation you just saw was nothing like the book you enjoyed.