The evolution of books to movies

earts are filled with exaltation when book lovers hear the news that their favorite novel will be made into a movie. There is lots of excitement, but at the same time fans may be reluctant to watch it when it comes to the big screen. There is a fear in the back of their minds that the director will stomp all over something they have spent so much time pouring over. Throughout the years, books have become the motivation and basis for movies.

Whenever a book makes The New York Times bestseller list my immediate thought is, ‘when is the movie going to come out?’ Out of the top 10 young adult novels on The New York Times bestselling novels list, six have been made into movies. Books no longer stand alone as just books but now are, in most cases, the preceding scripts to movies. Although books are undoubtedly more detailed than movies, movies provide an aspect which the novels lack: Visuals. It is extremely exciting to see the characters that I have fallen in love with come to life on screen.

In the book The Fault in Our Stars, the relationship between the two main characters, Augustus Waters and Hazel Grace, was captivating and compelling. In my opinion, they are two of the easiest characters to fall in love with. This was clearly displayed in the movie. It was almost as if you were the actual characters, feeling the emotions they experienced and seeing different aspects of the movie from their point of view.

It is also interesting to see the creative decisions the directors and actors make, which are sometimes changes to the author’s perspective in their novel. In the movie Divergent, the director altered small details from the book, such as emphasizing the protagonist over the other characters.

These changes actually strengthened the movie, as including too much detail about other characters would result in a film that is too protracted and tedious. The question I asked myself is whether or not the integrity of the book was maintained. The movie did not have to imitate the book, all it needed to do was capture the true essence of Divergent. If you ask me, I think that was successful.

I do not mind when directors take out portions of the book which are not central to the plot, but other times they decide to take out parts that the readers, including myself, love. This reduces the emotions invoked within the reader, leaving only the basic outline of the story. Not all components can make the transition from page to screen, and nevertheless there is always something lost, however disappointing to the viewer.

In the first movie of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, The Lightning Thief,  the directors changed the ending of the story, which, reshaped the structure and lacked the detail of the novel.

The movie started off true to the book, as it brought the Greek mythological characters and visual effects to life. However, I was shocked by how different the book was from the movie by the end. I was also amazed at the portions the director left out or blatantly changed and I was slightly disappointed when I walked out of the theater, expecting more of the movie.

As far as seeing a movie born from a book that you had read and loved, you should not be too critical because even though they are from the same story line they should be judged individually. Books and movies should show off the talent of the writer, director, and actors. They should not be considered the same. Sometimes you agree with the director’s decisions and sometimes you do not.

It seems as if books are no longer written for the sole purpose of writing, but are shaped by a heavy awareness of how entertaining it could be as a movie. Authors should be writing books because of their artistic passion for writing and they should not be focused on the success and recognition that will be gained from transitioning the story to a movie. The value of writing a book should be intrinsic, and not influenced by its potential to become a movie.