17 August 2009

Musing Mondays: Books-to-Movies

Musing Mondays is hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

This week, Rebecca asks:

How do you react to movies made of your favourite books (or even not-so-favourite books)? Do you look forward to seeing them, or avoid them? Do you like to have read the book before seeing the movie?
I generally look forward to seeing adaptations of my favorite books. On the whole, most of the adaptations I've watched well-done on the whole. I think the Harry Potter series was done well on the whole even though I do think the screenwriters should have re-thought a few changes and cuts. I liked The Lord of the Rings trilogy adaptations and can't wait to see The Hobbit adaptation when it comes out in the next few years; I think Peter Jackson had a fabulous idea to release the DVDs with the scenes Jackson cut from the theatrical release included in finished form including score and effects.
The only time I really get irritated by an adaptation is when certain changes taken in the adaptation fail to reflect the intent of the original. Case in point: the 2005 Pride and Prejudice with Keira Knightley. There were certain changes made to the relationships and motivations of the characters - the my-sister-never-shows-her-true-feelings-to-me line, Lady Catherine's nighttime visit to Longbourn, and the early morning meeting between Lizzie and Darcy as specific examples - that don't make sense when compared to the original novel and seem to have been made to please modern audiences. I'm an Austen purist; there's absolutely no way Lady Catherine would have visited anyone in the wee hours.
I do prefer to read the book before seeing the movie. I am actually more likely to watch a movie if I know the ending than read a book. I feel like I invest more in reading a book than watching a movie so "spoilers" mean less to me in a movie than a book.
I will probably be waiting quite a while for one of my favorite heroines to make her big-screen debut. Jasper Fforde hasn't optioned any of the Thursday Next novels for film adaptation. According to his website, he hasn't given up the rights because after spending so much time in the film industry he doesn't want it turning into a "cinematic ferrago" (Jasper talks about this on the FAQ page, you'll need to scroll down a ways). If the TN books ever make it into movies they'll be made by Jasper.

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