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\'The Hating Game\' movie poster
\'The Hating Game\' movie poster
BCDF Productions, Convergent Media

Will Any Movie Adaptation Be As Good As The Book?

Whenever I think of a book adapted into a movie, I first think of Harry Potter. It’s a pretty good example, considering both versions are quite good. Obviously, there will always be debates over which is better, but that’s not the point. The point is that there are tons and tons of people who love both the movie and the book and I loved the books but found the movies just as entertaining (not all of them—I’m looking at you, movie adaptation of HP 7 part one). This is not the case, however, with many of the recent adaptations of books that I’ve seen. If you’re on BookTok, you know what I’m talking about. 

I first read the After series by Anna Todd in high school, literally not knowing it was originally Harry Styles fanfic until the movie adaptation was announced. I was so excited; I loved those books. I’m pretty sure I reread the whole series something like 3-4 times before the first movie came out. That was the beginning of the end for me. I understand that it’s really hard to fit 600 pages of material into an hour or two-hour-long movie. But I’m here to tell you this: if you can’t do it while preserving the book’s integrity, don’t do it. Just don’t. The After series is a perfect example of this. When you read the books, despite the dysfunction of the two main characters, you can feel the chemistry; you want to root for them to work (most of the time). I felt that the main characters in the movies had no actual connection. Many parts of the plot were altered and it just ended up not being a very good movie at all. And don’t even get me started on the sequels. 

I felt the same way about the recently released movie adaptation of The Hating Game by Sally Thorne. The entire movie felt rushed and scenes from the book that held a lot of importance seemed to be a bit glossed over. Furthermore, the male main character was supposed to be this surly, grumpy guy and his character in the movie did not fit that bill at all. The book really gave me all the feels. I mean, he painted his room the same color as his eyes like come on. The movie included this, but it was anticlimactic. The movie did have good reviews though and I enjoyed it. I think that had I not read the book, I wouldn’t have criticized it as much. 

So, what is it about the movie versions of books that continuously seem to fall short? Here’s my take. When you read a book, you create the movie in your head. The book is, to a certain extent, only limited to your imagination. Books can also contain so much more detail, more descriptions, and personally, I find it easier to connect to a book than to a movie. That’s likely because I’m able to make it personal. Yes, there are descriptions of characters and locations, but you can interpret those in your head. Movies don’t leave much room for that. Also, an author could choose to make a book a thousand pages if they wanted, but a movie, realistically, isn’t going to be five hours long to accommodate those pages. I really think that it’s very difficult to turn a book into a movie and it requires a lot of chemistry, not only between characters but between the author and the director, casting agents and honestly most of the people involved in the film. The actors and producers need to understand the author’s vision, they need to be able to really get the important parts of the books and to be able to incorporate the smaller details that make the book flow.

Honestly, I don’t know that I’ve ever seen a movie adaptation that was better than the book. I don’t think that the point of the adaptation is to be better, but the movie, in order to really be good, has to not completely butcher everything that makes the book interesting and important to the reader. As I said before, if you can’t respect the characters, the plot, the details and the book overall, don’t even bother trying to make it into a movie.

Leila is from New York City and is a second-year Statistics major at UCLA. When she's not looking for article ideas for HC UCLA, she can be found at the beach with a book or finding fun places around LA!
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