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Book and movie duos: who does it better?

Book and movie duos: who does it better?

Written by Bria Aplin

When I’m not studying, I like to unwind by reading or watching movies.

The first worry any bookworm has about a movie based on a book will always be: how will they fit everything in? Much like this article, it’s not enough space to share everything but I’ll do my best.

‘The Hunger Games’ by Suzanne Collins

‘The Hunger Games’, by Suzanne Collins relies heavily on Katniss’ inner commentary. Her written thoughts detail the culture of the Districts and the Capitol, as well as the workings of the game. The greatest challenge of adapting the novel to a film is finding a new way to portray that information.

If I wanted to pick at the film, I would point out the differences in how Katniss is given her mockingjay pin, or how the coal miners aren’t supposed to be walking around town on reaping day. But these small differences allude to the structure of film and the thought process behind conveying information in an alternative way. The audience of the film isn’t in Katniss’ head. Instead, the coal miners are there to introduce the essence of District 12. The pin isn’t given to Katniss by Madge in the movies like it was in the books. I don’t understand her importance in the books anyway. To answer to every bookworm’s worry, sacrifices are made of unimportant information in order to squeeze as much as possible into the movie. It would have taken too long to introduce Madge. Furthermore the Hob, District 12’s black market is introduced in the scene. Two birds and one stone!

The whole film is full of these little shortcuts but one thing I can’t quite forgive is less screen time for Rue. In the book, Katniss and Rue have the time to form a bond, all the while Rue has more time to crawl into the heart of the audience. Less screen time. Less impact. I also think that a little more of the Katniss and Peeta scenes could have been played out, to show their honest adoration.

Overall, I’m very impressed with how much information they put into the film from the book. They even added small details and scenes to allude to the plot of the second novel (but I won’t spoil it for you) – the things that Katniss was unaware of in the first book and couldn’t have told the audience as she was our biased narrator.

‘Angels and Demons’ by Dan Brown

Dan Brown’s ‘Angels and Demons’ novel turned film was popular back in the day. But man, it has not aged well. I personally preferred the movie to the book in this case, which is an opinion I don’t always take.

A filmmaker has the opportunity to alter the plot and characters just enough to change it for what they believe to be better. Vittoria Vetra, our leading lady in the novel, is a little too sexualised and constantly referred to as wearing shorts and having long legs. She’s more modestly dressed but still beautiful in a pencil skirt and stockings in the movie. Best of all, no one comments on her legs or skin!

Another one of the liberties the filmmakers took was in shortening the start of the book by main character Robert Langdon being contacted by the Vatican immediately, rather than his detour to CERN. Additionally, CERN’s president is absent throughout the entire movie – and the important actions of his character are picked up by another. I suppose this was to shorten the film, as was the decision to cut the father-daughter relationship between Vittoria and her dead lab partner. There was already so much scientific and religious history to include that was more relevant to the plot. One thing deemed unnecessary to the plot and controversial in the novel was the ethnicity of the ‘Hassassin’. The movie changed his character to be a Caucasian rather than dark skinned and Muslim, most likely to avoid depicting Muslims versus Catholics.

The book didn’t have the amazing soundtrack that the film did. A disadvantage for all literature is the lack of themed music to set the scene’s atmosphere and tempo. Other than the odd – and seemingly useless – name changes and missing characters, the movie and book followed the same plot line, with mostly the same scenes. And the changes it made are more realistic, or meant to save time.

Movies adapted from books can be tricky, so remember to be forgiving!

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