The Film of the Book

Isn’t this a crazy dream that most crazy authors share?
It means you have arrived somehow.
You have been validated by the machine that is Hollywood and all those marketing people who spot trends and decree fashion. And decide what we’re all going to watch next.

I watch a lot of films.

I am not so up on trends these days, living here in the wild and woolly boonies of Nova Scotia. Plus Canada is not always the purveyor of cool. For every Arcade Fire, there is a Justin Bieber. But I can still identify something interesting and differentiate it from the run of the mill. (I think).

Hollywood is usually way behind the times. As a keen viewer of cinema I am astounded by some of the movies that get made. I can only imagine how many people are involved in the process, how many meetings are held, how many discussions there are before anything is even settled. And then afterward, if the film is green-lighted, more thought, more time, more agonizing over how to bring it all to life.

All very costly. In dollars. In time. In commitment.

I’m not sure of the numbers but I know that the vast majority of books are not optioned. And of those that are, most never make it all the way to the screen.

Somewhere along the way they get caught in the glut, trampled in the mud, lost.

So why then are there so many crap movies out there?

There are some really cool choices being made these days.  Especially in the YA genre. Teenagers still go to movies, and hey! teenagers spend money! Something that Hollywood and all those marketing people were pretty slow to figure out.

A film version is in the works for Cassandra Clare’s epic City of Bones, which would perhaps be better served by a long-running cable television series (like George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones coming soon to HBO), and also of Scott Westerfeld’s sci-fi dystopian Uglies.

And of course there’s the Hunger Games. I’m worried that film won’t deliver all the nuance, the satire, the smarts of the book although I am sure the fight scenes will be killer.

The following lists are just my opinion. I’d still rather read a great book, cherish it, and never see it through someone else’s visual lens.

Movie better than the book:

The Godfather

The Princess Bride

The Devil Wears Prada



Movie not as good as the book:
all the Harry Potters except possibly The Prisoner of Azkhaban

The Golden Compass

The Lightning Thief

the Narnia movies

Tuck Everlasting

Movie as good as the book but maybe different:

HP and The Prisoner of Azkhaban

The Little Princess (dir. by Alfonso Cuaron)

Lord of the Rings

Pretty much all the Jane Austen adaptations

Master and Commander

How to Train your Dragon (if you get past the fact that none of the Viking characters sound like Vikings)

What YA books would you love to see made into movies? And which movies do you think do justice to the book?

2 thoughts on “The Film of the Book

  1. I would love to see Matched by Ally Condie made into a movie. Mostly to see how they would portray the futuristic world…. Also, I think Susan Beth Pfeffer’s Last Survivors series would be really interesting too! Can you tell I’m a huge dystopian fan?! 🙂

    I’m very nervous to see how The Hunger Games turns out. I can’t imagine it being anywhere near as exciting as the book.

  2. I’ve heard that Matched is a great read. It’s on my to ‘buy list’.
    And Pfeffer’s series would make an AWESOME TV series.
    I sort of wish HBO or someone had decided to do The Hunger Games trilogy so that all the nuances could be thoroughly explored.
    Thanks for commenting Tara!

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