The Female Perspective: Book vs. Movie, Why Are Some Adaptations So Bad and Does It Matter?

Welcome! This is a Tri-weekly blog by Author J.L. Metcalf where I discuss anything and everything that strikes my fancy. If you have ideas on what you think I should write about, please send me an email via my website

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Turning books, graphic novels or comics into movies is nothing new. We see it all the time (because Hollyweird can’t seem to come up with their own ideas these days) and what continually fascinates me is the fact that people get hung up on details that aren’t translated “correctly”. Take, for example, “The Hunger Games” – I remember hearing people complain that the cat was the wrong color. I also heard recently that someone was disgruntled with “Daredevil” because Matt Murdock wasn’t a ginger and that Kingpin wasn’t “big enough”. These types of complaints are the norm when adaptations happen. The fact is, there is no adaptation that will ever satisfy everyone. That being said, I also think that people need to relax a bit.

Daredevil is available now on Netflix. It's well worth the watch!
Daredevil is available now on Netflix. It’s well worth the watch!

This is in no way a judgement on people being upset that something they loved wasn’t translated word for word. I know their pain, there have been plenty of adaptations that have broken my heart for taking something that seems important to me and completely omitting it or ignoring it in the adaptation.

So what’s the solution?

There really isn’t one, what I’ve found is that I go into these adaptations with an open mind and low expectations. I try not to hope too much that they’ll translate it word-for-word. I go in knowing that there will be changes and I may hate them. I mean, take a look “World War Z” – it’s this fantastic book that’s an oral history of the Zombie outbreak. It’s broken up into chapters about different people’s struggles before, during and after the outbreak. It’s a brilliant novel and I was psyched to see the movie. Then I saw the movie…the only similarity between the movie and the book is the title. I quickly realized this and let go of my expectations and allowed myself to just enjoy the action/adventure film they had turned it into. Was I 100% pleased? No. Did I manage to enjoy it? Yes. Do I hope they never do it again? Uh, yeah. Please don’t get my hopes up again!

Movie and Book could not have been more different. A disappointment but not the worst by far.
Movie and Book could not have been more different. A disappointment but not the worst by far.

This doesn’t always happen of course, sometimes I come out of the movie royally peeved off that the directors and screenwriters did a horrible job – didn’t they have any respect for the source material??? No other place is this easier to see than in the many, MANY poorly done Stephen King adaptations. I personally loved “The Shawshank Redemption”, “Carrie” and “The Mist” but I was really disappointed in “The Stand” TV series (it does not hold up after all these years) and the remake of “Carrie” was a disaster.

The remake of "Carrie" was horrid, especially when compared to the horror masterpiece of the original.
The remake of “Carrie” was horrid, especially when compared to the horror masterpiece of the original.

The fact is, we all know that there are bigger issues at hand but the thing about entertainment is that it makes us forget the stress of our lives, the problems in the world (and the upcoming Presidential election…more on that later this week) and to be disappointed by our entertainment is a weirdly devastating blow. We want to be taken away and left feeling happy! Movie studios just don’t care about the fans of the source material, they want to create a movie that makes money and appeals to a large quantity of people.

I want to hope that upcoming adaptations, such as “The Dark Tower” series that’s been rumored, “The Stand” movie series and the many other upcoming adaptations on their way satisfy the fans and the masses. That might be a bit too much to hope for though. Oh well, my fingers are crossed!


What was your least favorite adaptation? What was your favorite? Let me know!

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