Tuesday, September 30, 2008

From book to big screen

I've been watching HBO's True Blood, which is based on a favorite paranormal romance series of mine. There are a lot of differences between Charlaine Harris's books and the HBO series, and there have to be in some instances.

For one thing, the books are in first person, which doesn't work exactly the same on television. For another, the director has his own interpretation that is (gasp) different from mine, and probably yours too (how dare he?).

Still, on a few of my loops, there are some paranormal readers out there who are ready to chuck the television series out the window. So I put it to you, dear readers. Do you usually enjoy television or movie interpretations of your favorite books? What do they usually get right? And wrong?


Anonymous said...

It's vital, IMHO, for readers and ESPECIALLY writers to realize that the book is your (the author's) vision. The TV series/movie is the director's vision. I just talked with Tanya Huff about this at a con this weekend. You have to let it go and become it's own thing. More inspired by than a direct following of. And many authors at that con mentioned elsewhere that they want to see something new in movies because they already know how the book goes and if they want to "re-experience" the book they'll just read it again.

Angie Fox said...

That's an excellent point, Michele. And because books are so personal to each person, it's impossible to translate that to the big screen even if a director didn't interpret the story. Still, I have to admit I enjoyed "seeing" Merlotte's for the first time in True Blood. And I'm definitely replacing my image of Sam with Alan Ball's interpretation. My Sam was pretty geeky. This one is hot.

Natalie Hatch said...

We haven't seen True Blood over here, don't think it's sold at all. So can't really tell you. I guess everyone has their own interpretation on what a story really is like and my view of one book would be different to others. Oh and I really don't think Robert Patterson should play Edward, but that's my opinion.... hhahahaa, now see how many comments you get on that one.

MarnieColette said...

I like books that become movies/tv series as long as they do not deviate from the essential storyline and details that make the book. i.e. Change characters personality, change dominating features that make the character how they are, make the hero/heroine bad.

Different vision of character social interactions or scence setting or delivery one can deal with and expect.

Character fundamentals need to stay the same for me to enjoy. If the director wants to change that then they should come up with their own title and not associate it with a book that has an established fan base.

As for TrueBlood... so far I think that the characters have stayed true to their fundamentals.

Just another SAHM said...

Haven't seen True Blood, after sitting through one torturous episode of Dresden Files, I decided the scene in my head, created by the author's writing, was way better than anyone else's.
lol Modest, aren't I?

Alas, I've seen too many movies butcher books with someone else's (not the author's) interpretation. This doesn't make sense to me. If the book was liked enough to make it into a movie/tv show then why would you butcher it?

I guess I'm just too much of a traditionalist at heart. The only movies made from books I've truly enjoyed are the ones that stick to the book. To Kill A Mockingbird is probably one of the few where I like the book & movie equally...and blast anyone who tries to remake that movie - Gregory Peck rocked!!

Ericka said...

I usually don't like book to movie or TV adaptions but so far I am enjoying this one. While different then my mental picture it is not enough to jar me out of enjoying the story.

Troyce said...

A movie or tv show is a different medium than a book, and as such has different story telling requirements. I don't expect a book to be adapted in totality, but I do believe the producers have the obligation to stay true to the spirit of the book. For example, Peter Jackson, in most cases, stayed true to the spirit of LOTR in his movies, while making changes necessary for the movie medium. The first Harry Potter movie failed, in my opinion, because the director felt he had to include EVERYTHING from the book, and as such failed in adapting it for the movie format.

A recent example close to my heart was the adaption of Jumper, by Steve Gould. The book was incredible. The movie barely had anything to do with the book, and not only betrayed what it's about, but managed to make a boring movie in its own right.

So yes, adapt a book as necessary for a different story telling style, but please, don't betray the spirit of the book.

Laume said...

I like a well done screen or television version of a favorite book or series whether it's similar or veers off drastically from the book. The key is, is it good in it's own right and work in it's own medium. I love Harris' Sookie books (I also like the Harper Connelly books I've read) and I'm loving True Blood too. I don't expect them to be the same although so far the characters seem pretty true to the books. In can give you examples of book/movie combinations where I love both but for different reasons. Alice Hoffman's Practical Magic is dark and gothic, the movie version is lighter and humorous. I love both. Ditto for Maguire's Wicked and the Broadway play that grew out of it. On rare ocasion, a book and movie are equally amazing and follow each other very closely - The Color Purple would be an example. I like the Harry Potter movies and even though they're wonderful, they are a candle while the books are a bonfire. Doesn't mean the movies are bad, just can't compare (IMNSHO). Then again I liked Eragon the book but thought the movie was sort of .... cough... not good. (Although they did a great job with Saphira)