Two years ago when I met author Jasper Fforde I asked him during the Q&A session his opinion on the fans’ speculations as to who should play his characters should the books make it to the big screen. He didn’t really have an opinion on actors except to say that if his books were turned into movies it would either be over his dead body or if he made them himself so it wouldn’t matter how horrible they ended up. So, this begs the age-old question- Should books be made into movies?
Clearly, Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince just having been released to theaters yesterday, someone believes the answer is yes. (Don’t worry, I won’t put any movie spoilers in here from yesterday, but just know I saw it and I composed this post before seeing the movie. In fact, I’m writing this a week before you’re seeing it!) Check out Agent Kristin’s discussion of the same sort of topic for more. Every time I see a movie based on a book I’ve read I drive myself and especially my mother crazy dissecting what was left out, altered, set design, etc.
In my often-annoying opinion there’s a wide range of how well-done these films actually are. It largely depends on how much I adored the book or if I’ve just recently read/re-read the book in question. In one instance I’ve point-blank refused to see a film based on a book because of word-of-mouth, that all-powerful weapon of mass destruction that we bow down to in this industry.* I have since had it confirmed to me that this was the correct decision. I’ve also heard rumors that despite many fans panning the film, the filmmakers are going ahead with films of the rest of the series. In other cases, I’ve only been able to find minor nits to pick and harp on which sometimes drives my mother even crazier than harping on what’s left out.
Should we just abandon hope that we’ll ever be satisfied with a film based on a book and avoid all confrontation on the issue? (I had a roommate once who was adamant that Peter Jackson’s film version of Tolkien’s classic, The Lord of the Rings, was far superior to the books. Blasphemy!
*Not meant in any way to offend or cause controversy.