Readers at the Movies

Avid readers (and writers) are probably some of the most insufferable people to go to the movies with. It’s especially bad if the movie in question is based on a best-selling novel, like so many are these days.

Fact is, we are often so in love with these books that any changes made feels like a slap in the face. Some of us don’t really grow out of this, often going to see the movie for the sole purpose of ranting about how terrible it was. Some of us realize that movies/television and books are very different mediums. We enjoy the movie for what it is (though this doesn’t prevent some people from complaining during the show anyway).

I try not to complain too much when it comes to movies/television-based-off-books. If there’s a scene I really wished they had kept, I might comment on it. I save my ranting for when the movie is truly awful and butchers the plot/characters/setting beyond all belief (I’m looking at you Eragon). It’s a matter of respect, more for my fellow movie-goers than the film though.

I have a friend who’s more of the former when it comes to movies vs books. I actually did not know this side of her existed until we went to see the last Harry Potter movie. Every so often she would lean over to me and whisper something.

“That didn’t happen in the book.”

“That happened later in the book.”

“That was totally different in the book.”

To which I eventually said something like, “Dude, if you don’t shut up I’m going to punch you.”

I love her, I really do. But she’s not allowed to read The Hobbit until the trilogy is out of theatres.

But I get where the rage is coming from. We get really attached to our favourite books, so seeing them violated for the sake of “appealing to a wider audience” or displayed with evidence that the people behind the movie just didn’t care, well, it wounds us. Sometimes they reduce our beloved fictional worlds to smouldering trash heaps (like Eragon). Other times, we get something decent, but padded out with some pointless plots and characters (I’m looking at you Desolation of Smaug, though the other Hobbit movies count too). Sometimes the movies are good, regardless (Harry Potter). Some of us might even like the movie adaptation better—This is just me, but while I like both versions for different reasons, I ultimately prefer the Coraline animated movie to the novella.

In the end, it’s a matter of taste and how strongly attached we as readers are to the fictional world.

But we must also remember the differences in the mediums. Really, if you want the book, read the book.

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Categories: musings, television and movies, This is my life | Leave a comment

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