I mean, is there even a point?
We can probably go back to 1899, when Cinderella was adapted for the screen from the Brothers Grimm version*. As what may be one of the first book adaptations, you can be sure film-goers left thinking, “Eh. The bOoK waS beTTeR.”
*(Yes, I did Google “when was the first book to movie adaptation” to make a dramatic point.)
As booklovers, we can list SO MANY reasons why the book version is better. Off the top of our heads, too. Almost like we’re preparing for this moment our whole lives or something.
📖 You have the author’s authentic vision.
📖 You can let your imagination do the walking — not the CGI, and costume-designers, and acting coaches, and location scouts, and, and, and.
📖 You can really dive deep into the characterization by literally jumping into their minds and truly find out what makes them tick
💭 have more reasons? drop them in the comments below!
Buuuuuuut in the past year or so, a ton of YA movie adaptations have come out. I’d be remiss if I didn’t say some have caught my attention. There have been the good (The Hate U Give), the bad (After), and the ugly (The Kissing Booth)*.
*my personal thoughts, feel free to disagree
With such a medley of reactions to YA book-to-film adaptions, Mandy and I wanted to weigh their worth with you. Should we keep shouting out our favourite books to Netflix in the hopes an adaptation will come about? Or should the announcement of a new screen adaptation fill our little bookish hearts with trepidation?
YA Books Becoming Movies in 2019 (List compiled by Mandy and I)
^ to refresh your (and let’s be honest, my) memory ^
yay to book adaptations
📌 The Hate U Give, a case analysis by Sha
I read Angie Thomas’ The Hate U Give and when the film version came out, I saw it in theatres. The beginning of the movie I was all, “Okay, okay, this is pretty good for an adaptation.” Amandla Stenberg was well cast, IMHO, because she played Starr’s grief and joyous moments to a T. Seeing Starr’s family on-screen was actually, surprisingly, just as dynamic and beautiful as reading their interactions in the book.
What absolutely sold me on the movie was its ending. The Hate U Give (film) did not end the same way its book counterpart did. While that could make for a very, very angry Sha, I found that the movie ending gave an equally strong message along the themes Thomas explored.
In conclusion, what do I think a good book-to-movie adaptation needs?
📌 strong cast (how do we define that? 💭 drop your thoughts in the comments)
📌 commitment to the book’s message
📌 one or two original scenes
📌 Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, aka when Hollywood’s messing with our story went right for me by Mandy
Mandy has only watched YA movie adaption this year, which was a nay, so I’m using an old one to bring some intrigue, I suppose.
To be honest, I wasn’t really a fan of the book. I know, I know, *gasp* Mandy not enjoying a book? I thought this was just okay, but my friend and I thought the movie trailer seemed cool on this one so we gave it a try. I ended up pleasantly surprised by this one, because I actually really enjoyed??
This was one of the few times that I actually really enjoyed the changes that Hollywood made to the book. I felt throughout the book that it meandered, and I never really connected with it. In the movie edition, there was action, intriguing new moments, and while I still had my thoughts of, “that wasn’t in the book”, it was usually followed up with, “but that’s a cool new edition.” It brought far more excitement, and the graphics/visuals were quite bright and stunning.
HOWEVER. I don’t think this should be done for all or most books. I think the originality worked in this one super well, because I didn’t enjoy the original source material as much. But if it was a book I loved? These would probably be fighting words. Just wanted to point out this example.
In conclusion, why did this movie work better than the book?
📌 amazing visual graphics
📌 less boring time, more action and intrigue
nay to book adaptations
📌 why The Kissing Booth broke my brain, by Sha
Some books don’t need adaptations. My point here is actually that simple.
Once a book is released, it’s literally its own thing. As in, it garners reviews of its own. Unlike an original movie that receives limited critique before widespread release, in the book-to-movie scenario a producer only needs to click onto Goodreads and think, “Hmm. Is this a good idea?”
The movie did go through a lot of changes from the book, I’ll acknowledge that. (They weren’t good changes, though.) But when you start off with a book where everyone is pointing out the gratuitous violence, lack of realism and logic, flat main character, and emotionally manipulative romantic interest, well. At the very least try to not replicate that in the movie.
*I don’t intend to hurt the feelings of anyone who is a fan of The Kissing Booth. Please understand this is my opinion, as I know you’re entitled to yours.
In conclusion, what do I think leads to a bad book adaptation?
📌 poor source material
📌 lack of research by production team
(what do people think about the book, what can be done to improve it)
📌 why I Maybe Should Have Read the Book First aka The Sun is Also a Star, by Mandy
Let’s preface this: I’m a firm believer of reading the book before the movie. However, when facing a multi hour flight from England to the US and still reeling from the end of X-Men Dark Phoenix, I decided to let my inhibitions go and clicked on The Sun is Also a Star after seeing much acclaim from the YA community. I also liked both the actors – Yara Shahidi is amazing and ridiculously pretty, so I was game.
I knew a lot of Nelson’s books are full of depth and intense characterization. And I think perhaps books like these don’t always translate quite right to the movies. There were a lot of periods of just whirling in circles or no speaking or just showing images or intense glances that just left me confused. I wasn’t clear on everything, and the chemistry between the two characters – which was simmering – never boiled, so I was left feeling hollow. If we had more time and more time to focus on characterization, I think it would have worked.
I was also bored? I love character driven books if they are done right. Perhaps the book was done right, but there was little action. There was really only one obstacle? And the rest of the the time Natasha and Daniel just kind of walked around – and it was like, two hours of this. Some parts were interesting, but it just…dragged mostly.
*I don’t intend to hurt the feelings of anyone who is a fan of The Sun is also a Star. Please understand this is my opinion, as I know you’re entitled to yours.
In conclusion, what do I think leads to a bad book adaptation?
📌 lack of enough action to sustain the loss of character’s thoughts/internal struggles and battles
📌 poor chemistry
All that being said, YES, I am going to watch To All the Boys I Loved Before 2 aka P.S. I Still Love You. Who do you think I am?