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View Poll Results: How often does a film adaptation of a novel you love meet your expectations?
Always 0 0%
Often 2 5.26%
Rarely 32 84.21%
Never 4 10.53%
Multiple Choice Poll. Voters: 38. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 11-19-2017, 05:54 AM   #1
drjd
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Movies based on your favorite novels.

Reference: My recent re-read of Murder On Orient Express by Agatha Christie, and release of latest movie based on this novel.

Transforming genre fiction into memorable cinema is no simple task. I'm not much of a movie watcher, and I somewhat purposefully try to avoid ( ) watching movies based on my favorite novels, if possible. Reason, I have rarely seen films which have honestly replicated the very inner soul of the novels which I like.

This inspires me to obtain more opinions on the experience of other members.

How often does a film adaptation of a novel you love meet your expectations?

If you find any movies which fully satisfy your expectations of visual representation of a favorite novel, please share with us, this will definitely be helpful to people like me who have so far averted to watch these fascinating visual transformations.
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Old 11-19-2017, 03:02 PM   #2
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I used to confound my friends when they asked if I had seen a specific movie, because I would frequently reply: "No, but I've read the book."

The only movies I can think of that might be better than the books are the Jason Bourne movies; but only because the Ludlum books weren't that deep to begin with.
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Old 11-19-2017, 05:19 PM   #3
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I checked "never", but as the years have gone by I have learned that my expectations should be lowered so, really, I should have check "Always" as I always expect the movie to be a poor rendition of a novel.

It is quite impossible to make a marketable movie of a true novel length book. The book will contain way way way too much story to every fit in a single movie, given the ~2hr upper limit for a marketable movie.

Star Wars accomplished something similar by creating 3 movies to tell one novel's worth of storyline.

That said, I have occasionally seen short stories successfully translated into movies. There, the storyline can fit into the limited length of a movie. I've also seen some good movies that were derived from longer works, but were in no way faithful and/or complete replications of the books narrative.

Last edited by dwig; 11-19-2017 at 05:22 PM.
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Old 11-19-2017, 05:26 PM   #4
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I’m not a big movie watcher, but one of my favorite books that has a decent movie adaptation is The Accidental Tourist. The casting was fabulous, William Hurt is Macon Leary.

Remains of the Day is another book that was nicely handled in the movie adaptation.

Two classics, To Kill a Mockingbird and A Tree Grows in Brooklyn are well done, but ATGIB is skimmed down a good bit.

I would love to see The Good Earth done again in movie form. With actual Asian actors, and without the Uncle being so goofy and offensively handled.

I know there are more...
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Old 11-19-2017, 05:34 PM   #5
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I think it's possible, so long as your expectations are realistic, i.e., that material will of necessity be lost, but ideally with compensations in terms of the visual.

Given that parameter, I'm trying to think of movies that I thought were well done. In essence, I'm with dwig. The book is always better and, most important, you must read the book first.
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Old 11-19-2017, 10:23 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drjd View Post
Reference: My recent re-read of Murder On Orient Express by Agatha Christie, and release of latest movie based on this novel.

Transforming genre fiction into memorable cinema is no simple task. I'm not much of a movie watcher, and I somewhat purposefully try to avoid ( ) watching movies based on my favorite novels, if possible. Reason, I have rarely seen films which have honestly replicated the very inner soul of the novels which I like.

This inspires me to obtain more opinions on the experience of other members.

How often does a film adaptation of a novel you love meet your expectations?

If you find any movies which fully satisfy your expectations of visual representation of a favorite novel, please share with us, this will definitely be helpful to people like me who have so far averted to watch these fascinating visual transformations.
I think there are a couple reasons why a movie live up to the book. 1. You have read the book and so know how things will turn out and 2. Your own imagination is far better at conjuring up images of how this or that happened than any director can present. It is good to see how realistic a fantastic story (i.e. one that can't happen in reality) can be portrayed. i.e. the Harry Potter books or LOTR but each reader has his or her own visualization of the story that they have read. Sequels have a similar problem. How does the movie maker equal much less top what he/she has already done? Plus you know they will get out of whatever mess it is they get in. Otherwise there would be no more sequels.
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Old 11-19-2017, 10:27 PM   #7
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I like the 1974 version of Murder on The Orient Express very much. David Suchet in his behind the scenes video about the making of his version was very aware that they had a big job ahead of them to be as well received as the 1974 version was. I think remakes often have the problem of being as well made as the original was. David Suchet didn't do a bad job in his version but in my mind Albert Finney was great in that movie. And of course there are the problems I outlined above as well when a book is made into a movie, remake or not.
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Old 11-19-2017, 10:59 PM   #8
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How often do they meet my expectations? Almost always. I expect them to be crap compared to the book and my expectations are almost always met.

With the exception of the Harry Potter movies, I make a point to read the book first. Often, I read it first without knowing if a movie was in the works anyway. But if a movie sounds good to me, I read the book first.
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Old 11-21-2017, 10:18 AM   #9
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Thanks everyone for sharing your views. While visual representation have their own limitations (and benefits too), does someone know of any movie which is a verbatim transformation of a book in terms of dialogues and details? Is that ever possible?
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Old 11-21-2017, 10:50 AM   #10
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Oh, I'm glad this was bumped. I've been giving this some thought and it seems to me that some of the most successful translations to film, where I'd be willing to argue the film is better than the book, are in the category of Noir. Noir moviesThe visuals in noir films can be so atmospheric and they're often made by the cream of the industry, even though frequently they're based on the work of a more-or-less hack writer, even if a very good hack writer. Just as one example: Which is better the film or the novel of Double Indemnity?
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Old 11-21-2017, 12:22 PM   #11
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Movies are based on books or simply given credit for the idea. There should be no assumption that they are one in the same. I would never assume that a movie is going to follow the book. Enjoy it for what it is - a different creative artist viewing the basic material in another way. Some of my favorite movies were awful books.
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Old 11-21-2017, 12:33 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by drjd View Post
Thanks everyone for sharing your views. While visual representation have their own limitations (and benefits too), does someone know of any movie which is a verbatim transformation of a book in terms of dialogues and details? Is that ever possible?
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Old 11-21-2017, 10:06 PM   #13
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I think the LOTR movies (the extended versions, of course) did a good job. Yes, there was some abridgement, but overall, a good job.
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Old 11-22-2017, 03:22 AM   #14
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Thanks everyone for sharing your views. While visual representation have their own limitations (and benefits too), does someone know of any movie which is a verbatim transformation of a book in terms of dialogues and details? Is that ever possible?
I would say it is very rarely if ever possible to do such a verbatim transfer from text to video. A script is set up so 1 page = 1 minute of film time so a 120 page script = 2 hours of viewing. Take a book like 'Gone With The Wind' as an example. I'm not sure how long it is in paper but it's a fairly thick book to be sure. If everything in the book were included in a movie version it would probably take a very long time to watch. The book 'Centennial' by James Michener is fairly thick as well and it has a total watch time of some 26 hours spread out over around half a dozen DVD's. It's the problem of length that results in some things being cut from a story when it is filmed.
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Old 11-22-2017, 03:24 AM   #15
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I think the LOTR movies (the extended versions, of course) did a good job. Yes, there was some abridgement, but overall, a good job.
They also took several years to film and a very large budget to boot. I agree though they were well done. As were the 3 movies that comprise the story of the Hobbit prequel.
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