I have a rule about books that are made into movies – if I have ANY inkling at ALL – and I mean even the vaguest conception in a “parallel Dr. Who kind of universe” inkling – that I might EVER want to read the book, then I absolutely will not see the movie UNTIL I have read the book. Because it drives me completely over the edge when I see the pale imitation version of a three to four hundred page book that is what the film industry, apparently in some sort of drug-addled haze, or psychotic-break, sees as the key aspects of a story.
Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE MOVIES! I see one almost every weekend AT A THEATRE! I also watch a lot of DVDs so I am absolutely not anti-movie. I don’t even mind that no movie can possibly include everything in a hundreds of pages long book – I get it, movies are expensive. There are multi-million-dollar salaries for the stars, there are best-boy grips [whatever the HELL that job actually is!] there are advertising costs [which we all know involve the kind of dollars that overthrow small countries for one lousy TV commercial], and all kinds of other inexplicable expenses, so you have to make choices. I get it! That’s fine.
But really, if you’re going to make a film about a book, especially if it’s a fairly popular book, that lots of people have read, call me crazy, but would it kill you to actually READ THE BOOK – or at least have someone else read it and tell you what happens – I’m sure you have people for that, right?! Because I am here to tell you that some of the movies that have been made based on books I’ve read have borne absolutely no discernable resemblance to anything that happened in that book. I mean, if you’re just going to make up almost the whole story anyway, why did you go to the trouble of wooing the author and buying the rights to THAT STORY?! Don’t you have stables of screenwriters locked in an attic somewhere churing out movie premises?? Why brutalize an existing story and characters that thousands, sometimes millions of people adore and feel practically related to? WHY???
Related to this, is when they either fundamentally change, or leave out major plot points included in the book but use most of the rest of the story. Do you people not understand the concept of a story-arc, and character-development? Honestly, if the main character ends up murdering someone, and when you see the movie all the stuff that made her turn homicidal is nowhere to be found, it leaves the watcher [who’s read the book, and KNOWS all that stuff] wanting to hunt down whoever is responsible for the travesty made of a book I absolutely loved, and beat them to death with my Raisinettes box – and I could do it, too so don’t test me!
I can tolerate a pale movie version of a story if I’ve read the book, because I can erase the bad people’s version from my mind and revert to the awesome book with all the good bits in the right places. But it just makes it better if the movie version is a good, faithful representation of the book, because then I’m happy-squared about a story I dived into and didn’t want to come back out of. It’s the little things.
So seriously, Hollywood, please stop messing up the books I love by making your odd and confusing ideas of a film version of them. Because I like movies. Not as much as I love reading books, but I like them. If you’re going to insist on making movies of books, could you at LEAST ensure that the most critical aspects of the story are MENTIONED in the movie?! I don’t think that’s too much to ask, I really don’t.