Every reader’s dream is to see their favorite stories on the big screen. Fans go wild when iconic lines echo through the theater or their comfort characters appear before their eyes. But sometimes, fans leave heartbroken and disappointed. Sometimes, the book is better than the movie, and many hardcore fans wonder why.
First, let’s take a look at movies and shows that did it right. Netflix’s Shadow and Bone, adapted from the popular Grisha book series, excited many fans and recruited new ones. According to some readers, the show may even be better than the book. Eric Heisserer, the executive producer of the beloved fantasy TV series, started out as the average reader. He devoured Six of Crows first, then the other books in the Grisha series. He even tweeted Leigh Bardugo – the author – to show his gratitude.
“I devoured it,” Heisserer said in an interview with Variety. “I absolutely love the world, and the characters, and just the vibrancy of it all.”
His obsession would lead to the catalyst call from Netflix, and the rest is history. Clearly, having a producer who is just as passionate about the series as the author is a must.
Lord of the Rings is another fan favorite – with mixed feelings. For the most part, the movies are known to be faithful to their source material. But some of the subplots either didn’t age well in the film, or they didn’t make the final cut at all. Some fans say these liberties actually benefited the movie. Others were left outraged or confused. For example, the beloved fan-favorite, Tom Bombadil, known for singing songs and defeating enemies without lifting a finger, was left out in the movie. Despite the fact he gives nothing to the plot, fans were heartbroken upon seeing him absent from the film. Another infamous cut is the Battle of the Shire.
“It’s totally understandable why this was left out of the film,” said Screenrant. “After all, it was pretty anticlimactic after the fall of Sauron. However, it did seem more realistic to have some of Sauron‘s troops still willing to fight even after his demise.”
While these adaptations were held in mostly high regard, there are a few that made readers’ blood boil. Percy Jackson is one that is notorious for being terribly off-brand. If you haven’t read the books, the movie might actually be an enjoyable action movie. However, for those that grew up with Percy Jackson and his half-blood friends, the inaccuracies are enough to anger the gods. For one, the characters’ personalities feel completely out of sync with the book. The adaptation aged up Percy (Logan Lerman), Annabeth (Alexandria Daddario), and Grover (Brandon T. Jackson) from twelve to sixteen – that’s an incredibly large jump. The plot also feels very rushed. Taking all 200+ pages of a book is difficult to translate to an hour and thirty – minute long movie – but the producers could’ve done a much better job. The book gives Percy more time to learn his godly powers, while in the movie, he’s an expert right off the bat to make room for the main plot. This lack of character building in the movie is part of what made it so bad.
Adaptations don’t need to be 100% accurate. Sometimes, it’s nice to have a few twists that keep readers on their feet, as long as they don’t obstruct the main plot, but keeping the integrity and plotline of the book is crucial for winning over diehard fans. Please, for the sake of the readers, do film adaptations justice.