On the Subject of Adaptations: Part 1 – Separating the Book and the Movie

“The book is better than the movie.”

According to many in the reading community, truer words have never been said. I admit that this phrase has found its way past my lips on more than one occasion, though with building apprehension as I have grown older. The situation of adapting a story from the written word to the silver screen is a precarious one at best and a horrid affair at worst. I have seen comments on Facebook and YouTube expressing the sentiment in the image above and feel obligated to make a case for adaptations.

Are there bad adaptations? Of course; but there are also film adaptations that are successful in their storytelling despite how they wander from the source material. In fact, I would argue that if a film adaptation were as described in the above image, it would not be enjoyable. A successful adaptation takes what is good about the original story and puts its own spin on the material; there should be a reason to watch the movie besides wanting to see rather than read.

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