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nablopomo : books to movies

I'm a huge advocate of reading, even if I myself don't get much of it done here lately. I fell in love with reading in seventh grade, when I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone. I had read books before that, certainly, but I never knew just how amazing they could be until I met Harry Potter and his crew. Back then I never really thought about books being turned into major motion pictures, but I was so very excited when they said they'd be releasing the first book as a movie.

The Harry Potter series was the first book I ever put so much time and devotion into, so its no surprise that I was anxious about how these movies would turn out. I loved every moment of each book so knowing that they could be cutting things out and adding things in was frightening. At first I was placated--Sorcerer's Stone and Chamber of Secrets followed the books so well, I was amazed. And all the actors seemed to fit the characters so very well. As time passed and they released more of the movies, switching directors and also switching gears, I noticed that I disliked the movies more and more as each one came out.

Its happened with many books thus far, but I can't only complain because there were a few books I was first introduced to by its designated movie as well. Lord of the Rings was one of these books; I watched Fellowship of the Ring and bought the book as soon as possible and started to read. The book I'm currently reading is Eragon, which I found interesting thanks to the movie as well. So while some movies follow the storylines of their books very well, some obviously don't. I found that Prisoner of Azkaban was the first book-to-movie that I absolutely despised; although many people who were not fans of the book loved this rendition of the story. Why is that?

I know very well that when you see a movie that you've read the book for, you have to use a separate brain to take it in or you'll continually nit-pick it to death. I've tried to do this as best I can, but its fairly difficult when you really loved the book they are redoing in film. I used to go to a school where there were many film students and they told me over and over that the audiences of movies and those of books are not the same and the way that you entertain in a movie is completely different than what you do when you write a book. I accept this fact, but its hard to make sense of a movie straying far from the original storyline of a book when that book was just so damn good. Especially when it has to be condensed almost two-fold to fit into a two hour cinematic adventure.

If you haven't heard already, Twilight, a series that's become very popular by the author Stephenie Meyer, is going to be released on film on the 21st of this month. You can see the trailers here. I really enjoyed this book series, so I'm extremely hesitant to watch the movie. For one reason, I'm not entirely happy with the cast. Its quite possible that I will be pleasantly surprised and they will actually do quite well, but from the trailers I have not found this to be the case. This series can get angsty, sure, but so far it seems like the movie is very hum drum--basically it looks like it's going to move at a snail's pace and the actors seem boring. I might follow up on this after seeing the movie and let you know what I think, but for now, my expectations of this movie are fairly low. This is actually a good thing, however, because you can always be surprised and enjoy something you thought would be terrible, but if you set your sights high and it turns out to be a flop, you can't really enjoy it as much. So there can be hope at least.

Another series I just started reading was The City of Ember, which was also made into a movie recently. If you've read the book, I hope you had the same reaction as I did to this movie, which was basically "What?" This movie was not a huge hit in the box office to begin with, but aside from that, it was practically a brand new story from the one told in the book. Many aspects were the same, but for the most part, it took on a huge futuristic view that seemed too unreal in the setting it was in. Not to mention I don't remember giant bugs in that book. Sometimes these things make you wonder just where the movie-makers pulled these ideas from. I think you can guess where I'm going with that one.

There are times, though, that a movie's cast and director are so great that you can't help but have high expectations. I had this for the Harry Potter movies because Chris Columbus did a great job on the first two movies and so did the cast, and I have to say I also have these high expectations for The Lovely Bones, though they stem less from hoping the story stays the same and more from the fact that I know it will at least look absolutely breathtaking. If you didn't know, Peter Jackson is going to direct this film, and actors such as Mark Wahlberg, Susan Sarandon, and Rachel Weisz will be starring. A beautiful looking cast in my opinion, not to mention a director that took Lord of the Rings to new heights never seen on the movie screen before. While Peter did some things with LotR I was not at all pleased with, I know that he'll do a good job in the overall scheme of things, which is the least you can hope for with these transitions from book to screen. I suppose my hoping also stems from the fact that this is not a fantasy based novel and therefore much easier to make than the others; though it is also set in the 70s so I guess there will be changes in the cars and such which will be more difficult than a normal movie. I will keep the hope alive though that this movie, and hopefully even Twilight, turn out to be quite good.