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7th November 2011

Never Judge a Book by its Film Cover

We ask whether a film adaptation can ever be as good as the original book

With the arguable flop of One Day this summer (even if that was purely to do with the poor British accents) I began to question whether a film version of a book can really ever do the original book justice. Don’t get me wrong, I love films, and I have watched many films that have been based on books – I mean, they are practically begging to be turned into scripts. Arguably Lord of the Rings, James Bond, and all the comic book hero characters are substantial evidence that films can follow quite strictly to the characters and places within books and therefore can become resoundingly successful as films. But there’s something about the escapism books hold in terms of one’s imagination that disappears when the book becomes a film. Suddenly, characters don’t look the way you imagined and sometimes their attitude or overall manner isn’t how you read it whatsoever. Even more annoying is when bits of the book are changed all together or the ending is skewed for the Hollywood feel-good effect. A film can’t duplicate your personal impression of a book because the art form itself tends to push you in a certain direction, whereas books tend to allow more personal input and let you take from the story what you will. I’m not saying books should never become films, but they should be developed in a way which is sensitive to the readership and the book as a whole. There should be a push on taking inspiration from books rather than copying the story completely and then realising you cannot fit 350 pages of a book into a 2 hour film but attempting it anyway.

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