Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Gone with the ending

Book-to-movie adaptations. When I say that line does it make your skin crawl, or does it put a smile on your face? For me it can really go either way.

Right now, I'm reading Little Women (I told you I would!) and pieces of the movie keep floating back to me. It's been a long time since I've seen the movie so I don't really know how close it is to the book, but I remember quite a few of the scenes I have read being in the movie.

Which makes me think about which book-to-movie adaptations have failed or prospered.

Unlike most people my age, I read "Gone With the Wind" before I saw the movie. When I finished it I was depressed for three weeks straight. Margret Mitchell gives you no hope of Scarlett ever finding happiness. In fact the entire book she makes you believe that one day Scarlett will figure it all out and make a life for herself, but it never happens. You leave the book with zero hope for Scarlett's future.

It was only a couple of weeks ago that I watched the movie. I was bracing myself to feel the awful pain I felt when I finished the book. The movie was very close what I had read, so I expected the ending to be true. But it wasn't, Scarlett, out of nowhere, gets a positive attitude. She will make the best of things, which is hardly true to her character.

It surprised me, but I was glad. I wanted to hold onto that hope. Then I could stop worrying about what happened to Scarlett forever. Because even if the ending wasn't true, it made sense that she would do those things, even if she didn't think of them in that moment of utter loss.

Then I thought of how I would feel if someone took my book and changed the ending. The ending is the part where you hang everything you have just written. It tells the reader what the story is really about. I'm sure Margret Mitchell wasn't happy.

How about you? Is there a book-to-movie adaptation that you thought was terrible? What about one you liked? Would you go see a movie if you knew it wasn't true to the book? What if it was your own book? I need movies for my Netflix list, so I want to hear about every. single. one.

P.S. the worst book-to-movie adaptation ever - Percy Jackson. The Best - 6 hour Pride and Prejudice.


Scott Niven said...

My son (who is now 10) had his first experience with this last Fall. He had read the first few Owls of Ga'Hoole books, and was excited to go see the movie for his birthday. But he ended up hating the movie because they changed so much and it wasn't anything like the book. I told him that's what usually happens, although not always (hello, LOTR!).

J. A. Bennett said...

Seriously, I was so disappointed in the first Harry Potter movie (I was 17) because I expected every single line to be shown, ha! Your son will figure it out, and maybe even like the movies eventually.

Michelle said...

My kids and I got really into the "How to Train your Dragon" movie. The whole family even went as Vikings for Halloween. So, we read the book and it was nothing like the movie!! I also was upset when they changed the end of, oh crud, I can't remember the name now, but it was the. . . crap! I can't even think of the author's name now! LOL The author who always writes the legal suspense novels and the movie with Tom Cruise??? They totally changed the end of it in the movie. Good Luck with all of your writing. Following you now from the voiceBoks.com bloghop!

J. A. Bennett said...

Michelle - Tom Clancy maybe? I also really liked How to Train your Dragon, I wasn't aware there was book that went along with the movie. I probably won't read it so I can still like the movie, lol! Thanks for following!

Amanda said...

I'm too much of a book lover and so I am basically allergic to book-to-movie adaptations. I rarely even watch one! I just can't stand how much gets left out. Funnily enough I can spend many hours of my life reading a book but I tend to fall asleep about one hour in to practically any movie. I guess I'm just a book nerd!
(Rewinding from the Fibro!)

Catherine said...

I like both books and movies so I've seen my share of good and bad. Most recently, I thought Eat Love Pray was a stupid movie but I loved the book. I also watched Under the Tuscan Sun and then read the book and was stymied at how different they were!

As for well done- Out of Africa is one of the most beautiful movies ever and it is faithful to the book (if not to actual events). On the fun side Devil Wears Prada is very close to the book-AND fun to watch!

Visiting from the Fibro

Maxabella said...

Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe. Book was okayish, movie was leaping-up fabulous.

Great post, Jen. I'm a book and a movie lover and you're right - it can go either way. x

therhythmmethod said...

I loved Eat Pray Love the book, but the movie was pretty disappointing. Julia Roberts didn't make a convincing Elizabeth Gilbert IMO.
I loved What's Eating Gilbert Grape. I read the book in my teens, and I loved both versions. Plus, it has Johnny Depp ... what's not to love?
I think the difference is, there is so much money invested in producing and distributing a film, the ending must be rounded and positive and have a 'Hollywood' ending. Audiences want to feel uplifted. Books on the other hand, there is no obligation to do this. Books are more of an art form in this sense, where the story stays true to the intent of the author.
I really want to read Gone With the Wind now.
Great post.

Life In A Pink Fibro said...

Generally, I prefer the book. But that's because I can imagine the whole thing to be any way I want. As soon as I see a movie, I'm seeing someone else's version of the book - and that's before they start changing things around.

Thanks for Rewinding at the Fibro.