Book to screen adaptations: Why I don’t compare the two

Every time there’s a new trailer for the latest book to screen adaptation, people will take the time to nip pick every little detail, criticizing how it’s nothing like the book.

I find that a bit absurd.

I separate the two. Someone on the internet once said that if the movie is not exactly like the book, then it should have never been a movie in the first place.

The characters 

You are entitled to your opinion, and I’m not trying to change your ways when reviewing movies. However, I just don’t get why people focus on the character physical attributes, and complain how they look nothing like the book character.

I just don’t care. I mean, sure people may have a different cast in mind but I just can’t get really upset by it.

Sometimes, I don’t even notice when a characters has a different hair color, eyes, or even skin tone.

The plot

When reading a book, we all have different perspectives on what the book is and what it’s trying to convey. When you read a book and loved the themes, the screenwriter may have a different these themes.

I don’t care much if the movie is completely different than the book. I almost prefer it. Watching a movie being exactly like the book could be boring because you’ll know what happens.

I’m facing this problem in a lot of the adaptations. Shadowhunters is a prime example. I know where he plot goes, I know what characters end up together, I know all the surprises and I know how the characters develop. That’s why I haven’t been watching the show on Tuesday nights. I wait because frankly, I’m not too excited to watch it.

In the Vampire Academy movie, it was similar to the books, except for the very last scene that caught me off guard. I was excited to see where the movies would go but, of course, it didn’t make a lot of money so no sequels.

The length of the movie is also a factor. Some may say that they could sit through a 5 hour movie if the book was perfectly adapted.

I’m not one of these people

When the change a plot (Sometimes this is a good thing)

I actually don’t mind this. A good example would be the Duff. I hated everything about the book. The characters were either dull or arrogant (the guy in the series was the worst) and the message was horrible.

Book: Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper is cynical and loyal, and she doesn’t think she’s the prettiest of her friends by a long shot. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. In fact, Bianca hates him. And when he nicknames her “the Duff,” she throws her Coke in his face. But things aren’t so great at home right now, and Bianca is desperate for a distraction. She ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him. Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone. (Goodreads)

Movie:Frumpy high-school senior Bianca (Mae Whitman) has a rude awakening when she learns that her classmates secretly know her as the DUFF — designated ugly fat friend — to her prettier and more popular pals. Desperate to reinvent herself, Bianca enlists the aid of Wesley (Robbie Amell), a charming jock. In order to save her senior year from becoming a complete disaster, Bianca must find the confidence to overthrow a judgmental student (Bella Thorne) and revolutionize the school’s social order. (IMDb)

Although similar and ridiculously cliched, the movie was more empowering in my opinion. Although Wes was definitely present in both mediums, in the movie he didn’t overshadow the overall message. The movie turned out to be a cute (a bit platitude) and thought provoking.


I just compared the book and movie and I plan to never do that again.

Why I don’t compare:

1. I’m never disappointed because my expectations are low

2. I just don’t care.

A harsher view

“They ruined the book completely!”

Did they really?

Maybe they film makers were just trying to display that your favorite book is actually complete do-do.

Just kidding 


Do you compare books-to-screen adaptations?





6 thoughts on “Book to screen adaptations: Why I don’t compare the two

  1. Ha! I totally snorted when I read about the five hour movie being a perfect portrayal of the book. I might as well read the book if it were going to be like that. And I totally agree. I guess it’s best to not have expectations or to differentiate both into two separate things

  2. They’re different mediums, and work in completely different ways. I enjoy making comparisons and analyzing, but I don’t want them to be the same.

    My favorite adaptation is Walking Dead, because they make such dramatically different choices. Many characters exist in only one medium, and even the character deaths are dramatically different. TV characters will die seasons apart, or live way past their comic version’s demise, and major events play out differently. So even when you have an idea what’s coming, there’s still a lot of speculation. Is this what I think it is? Will they still kill xxx? If someone else takes their place, who will it be? Zzz is so different, so how’s it going to play out this time?

  3. Completely agree about The DUFF! I was pleasantly surprised by the movie, so I was excited to read the book when I got around to it the following year. Unfortunately, I hated the book.

    I tend to prefer adaptations that are as true as possible to the book, because otherwise it seems a bit strange to me. Why adapt a book and then change major plot points to make it a “better” story? The ending of My Sister’s Keeper (Jodi Picoult), for example. Don’t get me wrong, I sometimes enjoy the movie adaptations anyway but I kind of have to treat them as completely separate from the books.

    For example, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children really frustrated me because of how much it changed things from the original story. It’s hard for me not to sit in the theater thinking “That was wrong…and that’s wrong…and that’s wrong too” when I see a movie version that is so different. But if I forget about the book and think of just the movie on it’s own, then it was pretty good.

    1. Great points. I can see how frustrated seeing a book someone loved and then Hollywood messing the plot a lot. I sometimes feel frustrated when butcher character personalities. However, I do try my best to separate each work so I don’t get disappointed.

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