Thursday, March 1, 2012

Survival Guide to “Based on” Movies

Some of 2012's Upcoming Movies that are based on a book or other type of work (click the image to enlarge).

So you intend to watch a movie that is based on somebody else’s work or experience? Maybe your favorite series or author has landed the opportunity to become a blockbuster hit and you are already waiting in line for tickets. Such an endeavor can be an excruciating experience, especially to the more hardcore fan base of the adapted work. And let’s be honest, now-a-days half the movies that are being produced are based on either a bestselling book, a graphic novel, a video game, somebody’s life experience, or my personal favorite (sarcasm intended) a remake of a classic (some of them are not even old enough to be considered classics; Hello Spiderman, Yes! I’m talking to you!).

As an avid reader myself I have become cautious whenever I hear or read that one of my beloved stories will soon be gracing a Big Screen near me or even my TV. I have reread books just before going to a cinema so that I have a fresher memory of the events detailed on the story, just to exit the movie theater arguing while having to explain to my boyfriend (he is not a book lover) all the inconsistencies in the plot line and why it was such a letdown. Which is why –noting the continuous influx of this type of material being produced– I have decided to put together a list of tips or advices to help you survive the tumultuous journey that is watching a “based on” type of movie.

DISCLAIMER: This list is by no means comprehensive, it is not a set of rules or laws that have to be obeyed; it is nothing more than a mere recollection of what I have learned while going through this particular experience several times before.

Tips & Advices:

First of all, and it is extremely important that you understand this crucial factor; movies are meant for entertainment, they are supposed to reach and touch those fibers that make up your feelings and emotions; it is not meant to be accurate, it is not going to be a word by word translation of the actions described by the author of the original scripture. It is but an interpretation of said events or stories imagined by those who direct it and produce it and the rest of the cast and crew.
  1. If you haven’t read the book yet, do not, I repeat DO NOT read the work on which the movie is based prior to watching it. For example, if you are going to see The Hunger Games this month but haven’t read the books yet, don’t do it. Reading the book before watching the movie, solely because you are going to watch it, will automatically put you on a defensive stance the moment the movie starts rolling. 
  2. If you’ve read the book a reasonably long time before watching the movie, say you read The Lorax by Dr. Seuss when you were a kid and are planning on dropping by the movie theater once it’s released, don’t refresh your memory right before you watch it. Like with the case before, it will put you on a defensive attitude towards the faithfulness of the story. 
  3. Keep in mind that books and movies, although great forms of entertainment, are two completely different mediums. Stories translate different when they are being communicated through the written word versus being communicated through film. What works in the book won’t necessarily work in the movie and vice versa. 
  4. Remember, the cast and the crew are humans just like you and me. Take a few breaths and a couple of minutes to think this through. That movie might mean a few hours of entertainment or torture for you (depending on the case) but for them means their livelihood; which brings me to my next point. 
  5. Before you comment in how the movie is such an epic fail, cool off a bit. Afterwards, instead of a mindless rant you’ll be able to clearly pinpoint the good, the bad and the downright horrible while still keeping your sanity intact. 
  6. Remember that adaptation, as defined by, means “something that is changed or changes so as to become suitable to a new or special application or situation.” Never expect the movie to be so accurate that it feels like you are turning the pages of the book. The movie is nothing more than an interpretation of said piece. 
  7. Do go with friends to watch the flick, whether good or bad the time will be enjoyed best. 
  8. If you are the only person among your friends or family that has read the book, wait until after the credits roll to start explaining the movie. That way everyone can enjoy it equally. Likewise, if one of your party members constantly asks you why this or that is happening (I’ve had this done to me more than once) ask them to pay attention and wait until after the movie ends and you’ll be more than glad to explain (and maybe vent…). 
  9. If you liked the trailers enough to take the trip down to your local theater give yourself the chance to form your own opinions of the film. Sometimes we find so many different opinions about a movie that all those comments are still swimming in our subconscious by the time we take our seats. I’m not saying do not read about it, I’m just saying that realize that those comments are –bottom line– somebody else’s opinions. 
  10. Above all, have fun! You are there to enjoy a movie and have a good time with your peeps; maybe all you need is to clear your head of the common hustle of life and that’s why you are there so try not to take it too seriously and enjoy the crazy rides –even if they seem absurd ~.^

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  1. Great post! I don't usually watch a movie after I've read a book, but to each their own. I am just amazed at how many movies come from books...or books turn into movies. I prefer my print entertainment over a movie any day!

    1. I agree, I always prefer the book over the movie every single time ^.^

  2. I always read the book before I see a movie, but it doesn't bother me if the movie is diferrent from the book. I always seem to understand the story better if I read the book first. I also don't want the movie to play the part in my imagination when I read the book. For excample, I read I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore and then rented the movie. My husband and kids had not read the book, and tehy were very confused during the movie, while I knew exactly what was going on. Then my kids read the book, and the lightbulb went off! To each his own I guess. But I do agree to not read the book right before, so you aren't over analyzing the movie.

    1. I know what you mean, many times I've sat through a movie and I know what is happening because I had already read book, meanwhile my boyfriend is a bit lost due to the gaps in the story.

  3. Hey Mel! Thanks for requesting the team stickers for Night Huntress. I just wanted to let you know that they're up now!

    I made just one for Tate and the others for Bones, because, let's face it, Tate never really stood a chance given his competition. ;)


    ♥ Sarah @ I'm Loving Books

    1. Bones!!! Yes!! Thank you *happy dances*. I know, Tate never had a chance

  4. Oh btw, great advice! I tend to be in the same boat usually being disappointed by the movie adaptions. You're totally right though, it's an ADAPTION, and it's not going to be exact unfortunately.

    One thing that you mentioned that I usually do the opposite of is reading the book before seeing the movie. But, I donno. I get your point there totally. However, if I had to choose the book or the movie to be better, I think I'd choose the book and so I would be a little afraid of ruining the book if seeing the movie first. Definitely something I'll consider though!

    Great list, and thanks for the tips! :)

    ♥ Sarah @ I'm Loving Books

    1. I hadn't thought of that. In my case if I like the casting a lot i might replace the image in my head; but it doesn't happen often.


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