In Defense of Movies Based on Books


Photo Credit: Creative Commons via Flickr

By Ethan Rampersaud

There have been movies based on books and book series. Some, such as J.K Rowling’s “Harry Potter,” J.R.R Tolkien’s, “Lord of the Rings,” and Suzanne Collins’s, “Hunger Games” series are successful. However, what they all have in common is that they are panned by and disapproved by readers of these books and book series. Readers criticize the movies for not being accurate to the book and completely altering the story and plot to fit two to three hours. While I can understand where their points are coming from, changing a movie that makes it unlike its source material is not something to lambaste.

To begin with, these movies have a constrained time limit. It is not completely a movie’s fault if they remove some extra information, as it is required to abridge the story for someone who does not have the time to read it. If one could make a movie based on everything in the book, it would probably take much longer than a movie that is two to three hours in length. Books can be read from a day to a month, while movies are usually watched in two hours.

Furthermore, these movies are made for everyone to understand. As stated previously, not all people have read the book; some people just do not have time to read it or are just curious to watch the movie. If the movie talks about something that everyone does not know without additional detail, some audience members will leave the cinema scratching their heads. While these movies are created intentionally for the fans of the book or book series, it wants to extend their audience to people who have not read the book.

Finally, stories have many adaptations over time by different groups and people. Everyone has a different perspective on the story and wants to tell it in his or her way. For example, “The Lord of The Rings” series has many adaptations from the book, ranging from the animated movie to the live action Peter Jackson film. Buena Vista Pictures, the motion picture company owned by Walt Disney studios, retold many classic stories in the form of movies, such as Cinderella, Beauty and the Beast, and Snow White. It is not the movie’s fault if it does not follow the book to the letter.

To conclude, movies are not to be blamed and attacked for changing the story, whether they change it significantly or slightly.  Movies have to fit books that take a long time to read into a quick two hour movie. They have to change their source material to appeal to audience members beyond readers of the book. Furthermore, stories have many adaptations through time, like Hunchback of Notre Dame and Frankenstein. While movies may not satisfy readers fully, they are not completely to blame.




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