Books, Uncategorized

Books vs Film/TV Discussion.

Hello!

Since discovering the online book community, how many of you have become entangled in the book vs film/tv adaptations debate?

How many of you have left it alone because you don’t want the fear of having to defend opinions that some people consider to be “wrong?”

The latter is me to a T, but as of right now, there is something I need to get off my chest. And it all started when I happened upon a Twitter thread saying that authors shouldn’t sell rights to producers and film companies in case the adaptation is a disaster – their words, not mine! It referenced the likes of Eragon, Percy Jackson, and Northern Lights (or the Golden Compass if you prefer), and whilst I am not a fan of those adaptations, it got me thinking.

Even if an adaptation of a book is not what we expected, that it didn’t do the book justice, or that it is – for lack of a better word – bad, should we as book lovers look down on it and film viewers and treat them with inferiority?

NO.

I, like the next person, might get peeved when a favourite book of mine is turned into an adaptation I don’t like, but it doesn’t give me the right to put the book on a pedestal and keep it there for all eternity. It certainly doesn’t give me the right to say to people “the book is always better and you should read it instead of watching the film.” Out of the adaptations I’ve seen, I do often prefer the books, but every day I see the advantage of turning some of our best-loved and popular works into films, television programmes, stage productions and even theme parks.

Adaptations provide accessibility to stories and worlds that we as readers take for granted. By handing over rights to producers, authors are granting non-readers the opportunity to discover a story that would otherwise remain inaccessible and hidden from them.

I do often bring these types of discussions back to my sister but it is living through her eyes that makes me realise what the adaptations give to people who – for whatever reason – don’t read the books. It is also becoming more apparent to me how many people are ignorant, judgemental and cruel to others who watch the adaptations instead of reading the books. I got thrown this crap by one of my ex-housemates at university (although it was more the physical vs e-book debate) but the same sentiment was there. She was so stuck in her own superior world that she wouldn’t accept the greater provision of accessibility on offer to a wider audience. Suffice to say our friendship didn’t last past our second year of university but the comments were unnecessary.

If producers want to turn even more books into films or tv programmes then they can go right ahead. As book lovers, we can make the decision to watch them or not. If we watch an adaptation and decide we don’t like it, we don’t have to watch it again. What we categorically shouldn’t do is call people out for watching the films and preferring them to the books. We don’t have the right to judge what others do and don’t enjoy, especially if there is a significant reason behind it, and if that is watching adaptations rather than reading the original book then getting on one’s high horse is futile.

When I look at it, we wouldn’t have some of our most popular films of the 21st Century/recent years if it wasn’t for books.

Hell, half of my favourite films (most of which are Disney) have been adapted from books:

Mary Poppins (PL Travers)
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (Mary Norton)
101 Dalmatians (Dodie Smith)
Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carroll)
La Belle et La Bête (Gabrielle-Suzanne de Villeneuve)
Matilda (Roald Dahl)

Many TV shows I love also started out as books and most of the time, I watched the shows before realising they were based on books!

That is not what I was getting at when I started this post, but I believe it is a discussion we need to look at with wider lenses. The world is bigger than each of us perceive it to be and we do often look at it through the media. As a reader, I look at it through the ways I experience books – audiobooks, e-readers, paperback/hardback. Alongside these, film and TV adaptations give greater accessibility to the wonderful world of fiction and I personally don’t see how someone can argue against that, or treat those who use any number of these ways with contempt and inferiority.


What do you think?
How do you feel about book-tv/film adaptations?
In terms of promoting accessibility for all, is it now time to shelve this debate?
From what angle do you look at it?

Thanks for reading and have a brazzle dazzle day!
xx

 

8 thoughts on “Books vs Film/TV Discussion.”

  1. I completely agree with you. While I do believe that most of the time the book is better than the film it doesn’t mean that the film wasn’t good or that I shouldn’t have been made. There are so many important stories told in books and if turning those books into films means those stories reach a larger audience then I don’t see how that can be a bad thing. A prime example of this is The Hate U Give which is in the process of being adapted into a movie.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Exactly! And it was actually a tweet pertaining to THUG that made me write this post. A story like that should be on screen, further spreading the awareness that the book has already provided. The same goes for any story. I believe it is all about accessibility and giving everyone the chance to experience a story in a way that is comfortable and available for them.

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  3. I agree with you. There have been many adaptations of books that have disappointed me over the years. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t exist. It just means that they didn’t resonate with me. That’s fine because the book still exists in its original state. It hasn’t been “ruined”. Maybe it did resonate with someone else. There’s also a lot of people who have seen an adaptation and been inspired to check out the book based on that. That’s great IMO. Anything that brings people to books is great!
    In recent years I’ve also soon a division in some fandoms between people who read the book and people who became a fan on the basis of an adaptation. Sometimes the people who saw the TV show/movie later read the book and become fans of that too. But it can make for interesting discussions and perspectives about it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wondered when someone would bring up “ruined.” I hear that a lot when it comes to book and tv/film adaptations and I don’t agree with its usage because like you said, it will resonate with some more than others.

      I also agree with your latter comment because that’s how I became to be a fan of the Rizzoli and Isles, All Creatures Great and Small, and Murdoch Mysteries books. I just don’t believe that the divisions in the fandoms need to happen because at the end of the day, we’re fans of the same world and stories – how we access it doesn’t matter!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And I think think that sometimes people who come to something via an adaptation can bring a different perspective. Maybe an element caught their interest in the TV show/film and they paid extra attention to that in the book. Someone who came to the book first might not pick up on that. It can open up a lot of discussions, and conversations.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I completely agree! This discussion is so wide and nuanced but it all comes down to the fact that an adaptation will always be more accessible than a book.
    An average movie will be one hour and a half long: its book could take a slow reader like me 5-6 hours to read. Even as a reader, I know there are books that I have no interest in reading, but I watch and enjoy the TV show or movie (Game of Thrones for example).
    Some books/movies don’t bring much in terms of representation, but thinking of the THUG movie and Love, Simon (Simon VS adaptation) I’m thinking of all the black and queer kids who will see themselves represented even if they don’t normally read.
    Plus, the movie/show will always attract more potential readers,but I have the feeling that the “book purists” always forget that aspect because to them being a “reader” has very strict boundaries and it becomes a form of elitism. But no, anyone who reads is a reader, no matter if they read 1 or 100 books a year, or if they prefer watching an adaptation to reading.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There will always be some readers who believe themselves to be the elite and I don’t get it. Why create divisions because they just contradict everything stories represent in society.

      Liked by 1 person

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