But let's talk about some basic stuff first ... what does "adaptation" even mean? An adaptation is basically a composition that has been recast into a new form. There are various works you can adapt into something else - a book into a tv show, videogames into movies and even plays from the theater or comic books to actual books or vice versa. There are lots of possibilities. So, a movie/film adaptation is therefore the transfer of a written work, in whole or in part, to a movie. Interesting is also, that between 1994 and 2013, 58% of the top grossing films in the world were adaptations. Does this mean they're good? Certainly not, but that's something for later.
Why are we even adapting, for example, books into movies? What's the sense behind it? Is our imagination really that rusty, so we can't come up with our own "movie" in our heads? Do we even need these adaptations? Or is it just a way of the industry to make more money? How does it affect the authors and the books? Here are some PROS and CONS about book-to-movie adaptations!
ImaginationPRO: A movie can help your imagination because you actually see things - you see the characters, an explicit scenery, different actions and mimics by the actors and therefore it seems "more real" than while reading the book. If you have a specific actor for a character from a book in your mind, it's a lot easier to come up with scenes and situations of your own.
CON: It can also limit your imagination. You don't have the chance to "create" your own characters anymore because the screenwriter/director gives you an exact picture of them. The movie usually combines a lot of opinions/imaginations of the screenwriters, directors, authors but also the actors and by combining them all together it's not as personal anymore as when you read the book by yourself and with only the written words of the author.
Details & LengthPRO: Movies are shorter than most books, which is good because really no one wants to sit in cinemas for 6 or more hours. There has to be cuts and yes, it mostly affects the little details that readers of the book are always upset about but there's a lot more action in the movie than in the book. Probably. They focus on the main scenes and try to (re)create the book in the most amazing way.
CON: Books have a lot of details. But they're always very appreciated and needed because you imagine everything by yourself and every little detail helps to create a complete picture of the character/scenery/situation. Of course books are longer than movies then.
PopularityPRO: A movie can help the book/author to gain more popularity. It reaches more people and if we're being honest, it's more likely to be watched than read. If the movie is well made and manages to generate a good amount of excitement, the author/book gains popularity they wouldn't gain with only the publishing alone. And with that they're also able to sell more books and get bigger book deals.
CON: These days people don't read that much. A movie certainly won't change the opinion of a lot of people. There might be some who will pick up the book but mostly that's just not the case.
Good book-to-movie adaptations (in my opinion)
- The Hunger Games
- The Fault In Our Stars
- Harry Potter
"Bad" book-to-movie adaptations (in my opinion)
- Beautiful Creatures
- Vampire Academy
Overall, I don't like to think about movie adaptations too much. I get too excited (especially if it's a book I really enjoyed and loved) and I'm always afraid I'll be disappointed. So far it hasn't happened although I did watch some "less amazing" book-to-movie adaptations, such as Vampire Academy and Twilight. I did enjoy them but they're definitely not as good as the book. In the end, everyone has to decide for himself if he likes these adaptations or not. Some are good, some are bad and there are the ones in between. But fact is that books are always better, no matter what. :)