Tearing up the pages

Fans of popular books speak out against their films

Most book adaptations are enough to make fans of the books hit their heads against walls. With errors to be made in storyline, casting, and execution, it’s not surprising that some loyal readers find the film versions of popular books to be eye-rolling horrors.

Sam King, a senior at C. M. Russell High School, is one follower who finds adaptations trying.

“If you watch the movie first and don’t read the book, then you’re not going to understand why we feel this way{…}, so like, a lot people just watch the movies and didn’t read the books, so a lot of people just don’t understand how we feel. Books. There’s movies. And multiple books.”

King, who is a fan of books like “Where The Red Fern Grows” and “Lord Of The Rings,” thinks that there is much to be improved by Hollywood.

“Where The Red Fern Grows was turned in to, like, two, three movies. And I watched the movies, and I died because they left out main plot points,” King says. “And I don’t think, if you make it in to a movie, you should leave out those. If you have to leave out anything, leave out the little things that don’t affect too much. Because I understand that they have to do that, because otherwise they’ll be, like, four-hour-long movies, and they can’t all do Lord Of The Rings, which was great. I felt like they left a lot out, and I don’t like the way they portrayed some of the characters, and the way it just went down in the movie. Even with the movie they had, and everything they left out, I think it could have been better.”

With over 200,000 new titles published in America each year, and more than 100,000 eager directors, it is no surprise that so many books hit the big screen after making their debut. With great stories like The Hunger Games or The Book Thief, it’s almost hard to imagine how they could go wrong. However, many of the fans that should be generating their revenue seem to be disappointed.

Junior Taylor Vercolen is one such fan. Following series like The Inheritance Cycle (Eragon) and Percy Jackson And The Olympians (The Lightning Thief and The Sea Of Monsters) led him to frustration in the cinema.

“Percy Jackson. The first movie killed any feeling I would have had for the next one and the ones they’re going to do. I’m glad they didn’t do more Eragon movies, because that would have killed the series for me. And it was horrible. I mean, to put all of that in to one word, deplorable. Disappointing. Ridiculous. And downright ludicrous, how they did the movie.”

Vercolen says that he takes the most issue with movies that gloss over the emotional ties that are prevalent in books. He feels that more directors should read the books and do research in to their backgrounds, consulting with the authors as needed. Vercolen also thinks that the casting of book adaptations needs to be undertaken more cautiously.

“Take the cast as close as you can, not only physically, but the actors and actresses have to be able to get to where the character goes. If I had to choose [from quality or physicality], I would have to go for the quality of the acting. Get the actors to not just flatline as the character is, get them where the character is supposed to be.”

Both Vercolen and King are in agreement when it comes to book adaptations- few are done right, and most need improvement.

“Watch the movies, versus reading the books. They miss out on stuff that’s important. Like the little things, that they leave out in movies, are important too. I think it’s nice to know what they did in the book, and how they turned that in to a movie,” King said.