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Various Books and Stories Have Been Remade Into Movies, With Many Receiving Mixed Reviews

Various+Books+and+Stories+Have+Been+Remade+Into+Movies%2C+With+Many+Receiving+Mixed+Reviews
Credit to Miranda Fabian

The television world is no stranger to creating shows and movies based on books. With an estimated half-million fiction books released each year, there is certainly no shortage of material. Many incredibly popular movies such as ‘Harry Potter’, ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Game of Thrones’, ‘The Hunger Games’, and more were books first. More recently, some popular YA, or young adult, adaptations have been ‘Heartstopper’, ‘Shadow and Bone’, ‘Percy Jackson’, ‘The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes’, and more.

“The Heartstopper series was just incredibly well done,” English teacher Ashley Seiss said. “I think it’s really hard to stay true to a text. Whether that’s, if you go film you have such a short period of time to cover the entire scope of multiple hundreds of pages. But if you do a TV show, especially if it’s not a series, you can potentially struggle to fill in the gaps to make it a well-rounded narrative, in terms of a visual narrative. So I felt like Heartstopper did a really, really, really good job of honoring the story and the imagery and even the subtle details with the soundtrack and Alice Oseman’s art popping up to illustrate strong emotions. Those things to me I thought it was just a very spectacular, really well-done job.”

More YA books are set to be adapted to the screen in the next few years such as ‘The Selection’, ‘A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder’, ‘They Both Die at The End’, ‘Red Queen’, and more.

“I will watch those,” senior MiKayla Brewer said about A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder. “I don’t care if I am 80 years old when they come out, I will be watching those. It’s just really exciting because those are good mystery books, and I love reading mystery books and having seen them put in movie form because it just adds so much more suspense even though I know who it is. Like ‘how is this gonna play out?’, and you can see the character’s emotions going on.”

However, with every adaptation made, there will be talk about it among people who read the book and watched the adaptation. Things about what was done well and often, what wasn’t. Whether it be something small like minor details that were left out to an actor looking different than their character was described to even something bigger like a character’s fate being changed.

“We read The Chocolate War,” librarian Tara Willen said about an English class she used to teach. “And I watched the movie because I was going to show it and they changed the ending. As in, in the book, somebody dies, and then in the movie they’re alive. And I’m like, ‘You can’t do that.’ You can take some liberties with the story, but you can’t change the outcome of a narrative. And so I remember being extremely disappointed with that one. But the rest is just kind of minor stuff.”

While there’s no denying that there are screen adaptations of books that have been disappointing to fans, that doesn’t mean that adaptations are a bad idea or that they should stop being made.

“I think they’re good in theory,” Seiss said. “Especially because there are so many kids that I know are people that aren’t readers that will watch it and be like ‘Oh my goodness, I had no idea it was a series’ and it may inspire them to go back and pick it up. Do I think they’re always well executed? More times than not, no. But you never know. To me, anything that’s going to get somebody to pick up a book is a novel pursuit, no pun intended.”

While Seiss believes that adaptations can be good because they may encourage people to read the book or books that the adaptation was based on, Brewer believes that there’s another benefit of novels being adapted to the screen.

“They can give some people who have trouble visualizing certain scenes or certain parts of books that visual representation of how someone else interprets it,” Brewer said. “And I find it always cool, whenever I read a book, like with Hunger Games, the way I envisioned it was not how the movie was. But seeing how the movie was, it kind of helped me envision how other people could see it.”

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