Book to Film

I was lucky enough to see World War Z on the big screen this weekend.  There are just some movies that need that treatment for viewing.

In the last few years I have been going out of my way to read (or audio book) a few books before I saw the film.  Harry Potter, The Hunger Games, World War Z and Under the Dome spring to mind.

As a studio I guess the question is always going to be “How close to the original do we want to be?”  In the case of Harry Potter and Hunger Games I think the content is pretty close to the book.  As a viewer I look to see how close my vision is to the director’s.  How about the actors, are they what I expected.  But if it’s more than one book is there anything left to get excited about after the first.  I admit I kind of lost interest in the Harry Potter movies near the end.  I knew how they would end and it was only a matter of how much CG would be used to get there.  As a writer I guess the story had been told according to the books so what was left.  I think it would have been nice to leave it open ended for others to come up with something.  Of course that is what a re-boot is for. 

As for the Hunger Games I know that book two seemed a bit slow for me.  If the primary focus is on the next set of games then I think the non-readers will get more of the same but it may not lead into book 3 as well.  Only time will tell.

So the other side of the coin for the studios is to keep some of the sorry but change it for the non reading audience.  World War Z is a perfect example.  Now I know that there were a lot of changes during production and I can only guess at the details.  I do know however the Max Brooks’ novel had very little reference in the movie.  Yes the title was the same and yes there were zombies but that is really as close as it gets.  Don’t get me wrong, it was a great movie and I will buy the Blu-ray.  But I knew going in it would be different and I have not read the novel in a long time.

Under the Dome is a different story.  Unlike a movie, a TV series could last six episodes or 11 seasons, so to take a story with a finite length and make it fit would be impossible.  I think it took me about 6 episodes to come to terms with the fact that what I was watching on TV had a lot of the same characters, but not the same story.  Now that they have been renewed for a second season I think I will be able to go into it with an open mind and enjoy it more.

I wonder what I should read next?