I think its interesting that the first review and the first post on the craft of writing came from my mother, but that the first Rag fell to me. If you knew me, which you don’t, but will soon, you would know that I have a great many opinions, and, for the most part, they are in all ways superior to everyone else’s.
I’m totally joking. Kind of.
This week its books. And movies. Mostly books that are turned into movies and people who feel the need to complain about them.
The Hunger Games (OMGOMGOMG) came out this week in all its third-best-opening-weekend-in-US-history glory, and for the most part, the reviews were favorable. I, for one, may or may not have squealed like a little girl. Seriously, have you seen the kid who plays Gale? Delish.
Among the reviews, though, were the obligatory “OMG, seriously, it was TERRIBLE. It was nothing like the book, they messed it all up!!”
To which I say “really?”
The thing about book to movie conversions is that they are tricky, at best, and at worst:
The issue here is that literature and film are two separate mediums, two separate ways of telling the same story. In literature, our imaginations form and shape these beloved characters. Every sound, smell, touch; all felt by the reader, but only within the realm of their own minds, fashioned by the joining of their imaginations with the words on the page. The craft of an author, and the ability to evoke such emotion with nothing more than letter sand ink, is truly a gift.
Film, while less appreciated, perhaps, by the literary crowd, is a medium that is just as beautiful. A group of people that share a love of the original work, must come together and bring a loved fantasy world to life and place it in a three dimensional world while maintaining the integrity of the story. Filmmakers aren’t always successful at this. (See Exhibit A above. Seriously, not ok), but when they are, it is beautiful.
The problem comes when people try to compare the two. It is never, never, never going to be a fair comparison. What is plausible and believable on the page may not translate well to the screen, and something that was never even part of the book may help the story move more fluidly as a film. The story stays intact (usually), but the manner of storytelling changes. It has to. Can you imagine if the Harry Potter moves had been 100% true the books? They would have been 18 hours long. Each. And they wouldn’t have made any sense, because subplots that a reader can keep track of just make a movie seem muddled.
The point is, folks, it’s ok to enjoy them both. It’s ok if the book is better than the movie (Spoiler alert: it always is), and it’s ok if the movie takes out your absolute favorite scene because it makes no sense in the context of the movie.
It’s also, and most importantly, ok to love them both in different ways, and to love them for what they are instead of what you wish they were.
Also, who’s ready for Catching Fire already? Because I sure am.