Respecting an author’s work

Movie adaptations of books should stay true to the story

Respecting+an+author%27s+work

One of my favorite things to do is read. I love to lounge around my house with an interesting book, get totally lost in the plot and imagine what it would be like if I was the main character. To me, it’s exciting when I can go and watch the movie that was adapted from a book so that I can see the main character do everything on a screen instead of imagining it.

However, whenever I hear that something I’ve read is going to be adapted into a movie, part of me is skeptical. I fear that the movie will be nothing like the book. Many times, directors change pivotal points of a story, because they believe their way of making that scene will sell or look better to the audience. This completely diminishes the carefully thought out plot that the author created. The directors should not be able to change big, pivotal points of a story just because they think it would be better for the movie version. 

The movies that have small detail changes or additions are not a big problem. Added details to explain plot holes in the book or the enhancing soundtrack to immerse the audience in the story are appreciated. But the ones that change the whole ending or a big part of the story can be very frustrating. I believe that the movie adaptation should remain as faithful as possible to the book.

Whenever I think about poorly-adapted movies based on books, one specific book series comes to my mind: the Divergent trilogy by Veronica Roth. As the movies kept being produced, they got further and further away from the actual story line. 

The first book and movie, Divergent, were actually very similar, with few details being altered in the movie adaptation. The second one, Insurgent, was still fairly similar but not as accurate as the first. For example, there were some important characters in the book that were barely seen in the movie. 

Then, there was the last book and movie of the trilogy. Allegiant was the worst adaptation out of all of them. Many of the book’s details were missing. One big detail that was changed was the technology. The book was set in a dystopian future, but the technology that was used was not overly advanced, it was like what we see today. In the movie, the characters used a different mode of transportation that was never even mentioned in the book. 

The book has them mostly traveling by train, car or by foot. The movie introduced flashy, futuristic ways of traveling. There were futuristic planes and even bubbles that would float the characters from one place to another. The book’s details were typically easy to picture, because there was nothing new or overly complicated. So, when that small detail was changed in the movie, I was actually left confused as a viewer and a fan of the book series.

Maybe the changing of those small details could be overlooked, but the total change of the ending cannot be. In the end of the book, one of the main characters dies in an effort to show the others the truth. In the movie, it ended with this character still alive. I was furious when I figured out that the directors decided to change the powerful ending that happened in the book.

As it turns out, the last book was actually supposed to be split into two movies, meaning that the book’s ending might have actually happened. But, the last movie was canceled because of how poorly the movie Allegiant performed in the box office. I’d venture to say that if the movies would have stayed true to Roth’s vision and were as entertaining as the books they would have done much better. This goes to show that when movies are not true to the books, people, especially the fans, lose interest. 

On the other side, there are some movies that do follow the book well. For example, the Harry Potter movies are quite accurate. While not all details were included, the plot and characters stayed very similar to those of the book. So, for those who did not read the books, the movies would still be a good way to enjoy J.K. Rowling’s story.

These authors have to go through the struggle of spending years writing their books, fighting to have it published the way they wanted and hoping people will buy it and enjoy reading it. Even after all of that work, directors do not have to include the author at all during the writing of the script or the production. That means that if the director does not like a part of the story, they can change it or get rid of it with no effort. I think that if a person has to go through that much trouble to publish a novel, directors should think twice before they alter major story points.

In addition, there are people who may not enjoy reading and would prefer to just watch the movie instead. They cannot get the whole effect of the story if the plot line was changed and the director leaves out information. It might cause them to miss the message of the story and what the author was trying to share with the world.

To remedy this problem, the movie industry should be more respectful to authors and their work. Directors and producers should allow the authors to have a say in the adaption so that the author’s hard work can be recognized by others, and their message can be clearly understood by those who might not have read their book.

 

Watching movies is a great way to help readers visualize the books they’ve read. It also helps those who want to read but don’t have the time to do so. By watching the movies, those people are still able to enjoy the same adventure. But when they are not accurate, the movies fail to capture the essence of a great story.