Films today are a huge part of getting people into reading as if you loved the film and find out it’s a book you often want to read the novel it was based upon. For example, books such as Harry Potter by JK Rowling or The Fault in Our Stars by John Green have all inspired young people to read the books if they haven’t already. When many lucky authors get the chance to be able to put their written novels into films or TV programmes, I believe can either work or not. This is my opinion of a few of those books:
The Perks of Being a Wallflower
By Stephen Chbosky
I think this novel is a great book and a book I would 100% recommend. I think it brings a different outlook into teenage lives whilst growing up. It was written in 1999 and therefore you would think that a lot would have changed for teens in that time however I believe it is relevant as ever. I believe all of the characters and their stories which I think helps to deepen the storyline and add interest. Having a realistic set of characters is one of the main reasons I often become attached to a book. This book was then adapted into a film in 2012. The film is a good film and received many positive reviews including getting 86% on rotten tomatoes. Whilst I enjoyed the film, I believe it ruined the book for me a little. I read the book and watched the film in one night which I really don’t recommend as just as I was finishing and loving the book I was disappointed by the movie produced to represent it. It had a great and well known cast also, including Emma Watson, but I believe this was another reason as to why I wasn’t really a fan. As you read a book and you are given descriptions, no matter how much detail you are given you are always going to create a picture in your head that is different to someone else reading the same book. I don’t believe that those actors fitted my interpretation of the characters written by Chbosky. I know that it is a personal thing but I believe hiring extremely well known actors also hinders the aim of the novel as you recognise the actors from something else before even watching the film and I think that this affects the way you watch and interpret a movie. You are focused on their reputation as an actor rather than focusing solely on the character first.
I would say that I absolutely loved the book and I would highly recommend it to anyone. I would also suggest reading the book first so you can take the chance to enjoy the journey and creating your own pictures then maybe leave it a while before you watch the film in order not to ruin the picture you just created.
The Fault in our Stars
By John Green
This is a book that I think is very good and emotionally engaging. Not only are the characters realistic but are reflective of many teens’ lives that are not necessarily represented in teen movies. I read this book one night sitting in my living room and as I reached the end I cried. It was the first time I had ever cried at a book and thought that this was a sign it was good. I had engaged and been a part of that story from the beginning and I was so invested in it that by the end I was emotionally drained. The book was released in 2012 and a film adaptation was released in 2014. There wasn’t a huge amount of time before it was decided that it was going to maybe made into a film and I completely understand why after I had read the book. I think that this film adaptation was one I was more of a fan of than Perks of Being a Wallflower as I didn’t know who the actors were and they fitted more into my idea of the characters. I didn’t find I was as emotionally engaged in the film whether that was because I knew what would happen or it just wasn’t the same however I did believe that it was a good film and good adaptation. I will forever say that the book is better than the film and I stick by this so therefore I believe that the book was better. I believe a books ability to create your own pictures and use your imagination to evolve the story is an incredibly magical thing and an experience that a film doesn’t give to me.
Overall, I would say that definitely read the book first and I would also recommend the film. John Green’s other novel ‘Paper Towns’ was also a book which was adapted for film and I would say the same for that to. The book is better but the films not bad either.
Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption
By Stephen King
This is a novella written by renowned author Stephen King in 1982. The book and the film are often seen as a symbol of hope and determination. It’s about never giving up on the truth and we see this through the character of Andy Dufresne who is wrongly imprisoned and he never gives up hope of being released. He also passes on hope to his friend in Shawshank Ellis ‘Red’ Redding who has long given up any hope of being released but through being friends with Andy his view changes and he believes he can survive outside of prison. The film and the book are both great pieces of work and the film adaptation has kept many things that were in the book and put them into the film. A lot of the dialogue found in the novella was used word for word or extremely similar in the film which shows for Andy’s court case as the script is exactly as found in the book as well as being in the same order. It can also be seen during the prison escape scene. There are however differences which can often be expected when looking at a film adaptation. For example the characters descriptions didn’t match the actors, or some of the characters took on multiple roles such as the warden as there was only one main guard in the film but multiple in the book. I watched the film before I read the book which I would say is the wrong order to do it but I was studying the film for my English class and before then I hadn’t had an interest or known that the film was based upon a book. It is not very often that I find that I prefer the book but in this case I think I do. Not by huge amount but in the ending particularly I found the films much more engaging and dramatic and the books less so. In the book the warden resigns from his job and in the film he resigns from life. It gives it a much more final ending. I would recommend both works and I would say that it doesn’t really matter in which order you do so in this case as both are very good. I would say that the film is definitely one of favourites through.
There are so many other books I could have written about but these are the ones I felt I had the most opinions about. Books such as the Harry Potter Series and all the Roald Dahl books that have been adapted for film I believe are good either way. I personally believe that the book is always better. It adds another element to exploring the story and characters as you let your imagination create the images and pictures inside your head and as much as you are reading a story that’s already written it allows you to put your spin on it inside your head.
Many Thanks, Caitlin x
(PS please feel free to comment your opinions on film adaptations of books or have any that you feel strongly about)