Books vs. Movies (English Teachers Q&A)

Mekayla Phan, Features Editor

“Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruit, but taste completely different.” -Stephen King

If you thought the last installment of the Divergent’s Trilogy, Allegiant, was bad… Hollywood is still continuing on their literary adapting madness. With the Jungle Book coming out next week, Alice Through the Looking Glass in May, The BFG, The Girl on the Train, another Harry Potter movie (Yes!), A Monster Calls, and more this year – it is clear that movie makers have a greater love of books than we do. However, even if it’s been adapted successfully, there are always mixed reviews. Some movies can draw you into its fandom. Others will despise it, often rebuking film makers for their destructive interpretations. There is no end of reasons why one is better than the other, so The Paper Cut went to see our English teachers – the experts. Here are some things they said about book adaptations:

What are the worst book adaptions:
5. “Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief….totally did not follow the plot or details from the book”-Mrs. Watters.
4. “The orginal Flowers in the Attic – I loved that book when I was a teen. I read it over and over, the movie was an abomination. It’s been re-made into a TV movie show – much better.” -Ms. Lange
3. “The Shining. Felt if I hadn’t read the book, I would have a hard time understanding the movie.”-Mrs.Lawson
2. Lahrman’s Great Gatsby. Students may actually believe the book is a mess also.”-Mr. Hislope
1. Mrs. Krause agreed that every Frankenstein movie was horrific. They keep changing the story and ruin it every time.

What are the best book adaptions?
7. “Of Mice and Men with Gray Sinise and John Malkovich. It follows the plot, and Gary Sinise as the producer remains true to Steinbeck’s character”- Mrs. Bouchard
6. “The Last Picture Show. A good book, great movie. You can turn the pages of the book as you watch. It follows that closely.”-Mr. Hislope
5. “Harry Potter movies, because it was fun to see all the movies.”-Mrs. Hughes
4. Ms. Krause recommended Jaws, because it was visually exciting to watch.
3. “I loved Room-both the book and the movie. It had me bawling, the little boy did such a good job. I wanted him to win an Oscar.”
2. “To Kill a Mockingbird, because it enhances the novel by sticking pretty close to the novel.” Mrs. Lawson (black and white film made it more realistic). Mr. Harkin also agrees.
1. Mrs. Watters recommended The Lord of the Rings Trilogy “more engaging”.

If you had to choose, what books should be made/re-made as a movie?
5. “Gabi, A Girl in Pieces. It would be hysterical.”-Ms. Lange
4. “Animal Farm needs a new animated version.”-Mrs. Lawson
3.”The Goldfinch. It was a very interesting somewhat dark story, that had many plot twists. The main character suffered from many circumstances the audience could relate to.”-Mrs. Bouchard
2. “Narrative of the Life of Fredrick Douglas. Great movie stuff: the horrors of slavery, escape, and finally triumph, the little guy gets his day.”-Mr. Hislope
1. A Tale of Two Cities. “There isn’t an epic adaption that effectively parallels the novel.” -Mrs. Watters  “I read it to my Sophomores and it would be good if there were a modern version for them to see.” -Mrs. Hughes

The Last Thought:
While it is true that some adaptations might be interesting to go see, the transition from book to movie is often choppy, as filmmakers may make drastic plot changes and leave out important details to fit into the two hour screen time. People who have read the book would most likely be left disappointed in this or just partly enjoyed how the story and characters were able to come to life. On the other hand, those who didn’t read and are interested in the book, might have misconceptions and confusion after watching the film. This is why most English teachers agree, it’s better to try and read the book first if possible. However, since people are usually introduced to the movies first than the book nowadays, it has really become a double-edged sword. One must keep in mind that the book and movie are two separate things even if the story is nearly the same. And despite being able to appreciate a book adaption (if done well), it will almost never match the power and inspiration of the written words of the novel.