Don’t Judge a Book By Its Movie

Now that we’ve said Good Riddance, let’s get down to some book talking business.

We all know the old adage don’t judge a book by its cover.

In laments terms, don’t make assumptions based solely upon how something looks. Now this saying is commonly applied to many facts of life, but a certain spin on it is one I think most book addicts can appreciate and understand.

Don’t judge a book by its movie.

We’ve all seen this fun little tidbit on Pinterest or other internet sites declaring to all those reading that they shouldn’t judge the books they might want to read based on the movies they helped create.

bac2dbe96eafdff48f07d08bafa3fd77Let’s face it. Film adaptations of books have been happening for years, and they are here to say. (I love that, but something tells me not everyone agrees with me on that particular thought.)

You see movie adaptations of books are a pretty sticky situation. And that’s putting it really lightly. They tend to range from extremely well loved, to sickeningly bad, to everything in between.

I think it’s really hard to take a book and make it into a film that does the book justice. This effort is valiantly attempted many times a year in every movie season, yet sadly many of these adaptations leave us feeling a bit down and disappointed or severely pissed off.

They always leave something we had to see out. Or we don’t like the actor/actress they picked to play a character we just adored. The couch in a particular scene could be a different color than in the book. (I am not even joking on that last one. I have heard people complain about that very thing many times before….)

photo credit:eaglesdiwaniya.wordpress.com

photo credit:eaglesdiwaniya.wordpress.com

Now I’ve reviewed some film adaptations of books on here before, and I tend to see these adaptations in a different light than most. Maybe I’m a bit of an optimist, but I always tend to give these films the benefit of the doubt. I realize movies are different than books, and as much as we’d all love to sit through a 6 hour movie that left nothing out, that just doesn’t work. (Seriously people, stop asking for that! It ain’t gonna happen.)

I’ve read my fair share of books that have been turned into films. More than I can honestly count. Some books I read before the film, some I even read after, but suffice to say, I’ve been doing this whole book to film thing since I became a book addict. Basically since birth.

So what brought on this discussion today at The Never Ending Book Basket?

I recently saw a new film based on a hugely bestselling young adult series. The film was really well done in my opinion. It was entertaining as hell. It made me laugh, my breath caught a few times at the action and events, and it had some characters I connected with and liked. Overall it was a good film adaptation that was truly engaging to watch and experience.

Here’s the thing though: I haven’t read any of the books in this series. Not one.

I am not kidding you when I say I have picked up the first book in this series at least 50 times over the last couple of years since its release. As you know I constantly seek out books in multiple locations, and this book has been everywhere. Each time I pass it by in the aisle, it calls to me.

I’ve picked it up. Read the back cover. Even read the first page. Yet each time I’ve put it right back onto the shelf without even adding it to my to be read list.

It just never caught my eye enough to make me want to read it, or buy it, or even add it to that list. What can I say? I am a self-proclaimed book snob.

So I must say I found it pretty interesting and surprising that after seeing the film adaptation of this highly loved book, I actually wanted to read it. I mean that’s kind of backwards for me. I’m the type of person who typically reads the book well before the movie comes out if I’m aware it exists. Or if I see a movie and find out it’s a book after watching the film, I’ll promptly read it.

But rarely have I ever knowingly saw a film based on a book series that I intentionally didn’t read or wasn’t 100% sure on.

The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

The Divergent Series by Veronica Roth

I kid you not, I said those very words to my best friend as we left the movie theater. And I couldn’t help but wonder what had changed to make me want to suddenly read this series.

It’s not as if I didn’t know the premise of these books before I saw the movie. I also knew the actors and actresses they chose to portray characters, and I was sold there. (Hello, Fitzgerald Grant the President of the United States from Scandal is in this movie. How can you not love that?!) I also knew many other people loved them, so it’s not as if this book was for singular tastes.

So what changed?

I honestly don’t think I have an answer to that question. Maybe seeing the film made the story come alive more so than it had before just from those few pages I’d read. Maybe it made me take a second or fifty first look at the books. Maybe I just became less of a book snob. (Don’t hold out hope on that one!)

Whatever the reasoning was for my change of heart, I couldn’t help but wonder if I was one of the few people out there that looks at books time and time again, but don’t actually decide to read them until the movie is out.

So besides writing this blog post and sharing all my thoughts on this topic, I want to know what you think:

Have you ever done this, and felt this way after seeing a film adaptation of a book? Has a film adaptation of a book actually gotten you to read a book or series?

I know I’m not the only one out there, so feel free to share! I can’t wait to hear from you!

Oh, and if you’re sitting there wondering if I bought the books after seeing the film. Well let’s just say my checking account decreased in amount just a smidge because I may or may not have just bought the entire series…

Here’s hoping that was $40 well spent.

To see my other posts on film adaptations click the following links:

Fifty Shades of Grey

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

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Why Francis Lawrence is My New Best Friend.

Something monumental has just occurred in my life.

Sadly I haven’t met that special someone who is  named after my favorite bread. (Jeez mom, calm yourself down, it’ll happen.) I also still have yet to discover how to make something from Pinterest look like it did on the damn website.

What has happened to today is bigger than that.

I have made a new best friend. His name is Francis Lawrence.

He’s a kind, gentle soul, and many people would say he is downright awesome. He listens, he cares, and he is there for you. Never heard of Francis Lawrence? Well let me enlighten you. Who better to do that since I am his new best friend?

Francis Lawrence is the director of Catching Fire the second book in the enthralling Hunger Games series. He’s also going to direct Mockingjay. He is a simply wonderful man who I have never actually met before. But don’t worry, we’re still best friends.

Acca-believe it.

Before you ask, yes I took a picture of my Catching Fire book next to a candle with a woodland scene on top of it. Have some respect. That candle is from Yankee Candle and it smells heavenly.

Before you ask, yes I took a picture of my Catching Fire book next to a candle with a woodland scene on top of it. Have some respect. That candle is from Yankee Candle and it smells heavenly.

Francis Lawrence is my new best friend because his adaptation of Catching Fire was out of this world. If you haven’t yet seen it, go now. Stop what you are doing immediately, and go pay $10 and go see it. It is worth every penny, even if you’re one of those strange people who hasn’t read the books yet. (Yes I am talking to you Aubrey!)

I have seen this movie twice already, once with a very fun cast of characters I call my friends, and once in IMAX with my goober aka my little brother. (It should be noted that both of these showings I saw were less than 15 hours apart. That is how good this movie is. Or that is how strong my addiction is. It’s either one or the other, specifics don’t really matter.)

As Francis Lawrence and I are now best friends I found it only right that I take the time to commend him on a job well done, and point out the many things he did to make Catching Fire one of the best movie adaptations out there. Period.

Thus without further ado, what set me on fire about this movie: (This is where you should stop reading if you’re one of the 3 people who haven’t seen this movie or read the book yet.)

  • Jennifer Lawrence and Josh Hutcherson. I love, and I mean love these two as Katniss and Peeta. Their performance in this movie was outstanding, and it really had me believing exactly what they were trying to portray: Two people who care for each other deeply, but are still trying to figure out what that all means.
  • Two words: Finnick. One word: Love him. Finnick Odair is by far my favorite character (besides Katniss and Peeta) in the whole entire series. He honestly is the character that really made me adore these books. He was also the one character I really cared about casting with. In my mind they had to nail him, or I was not gonna be sold and would probably shed a tear for my dear Finnick. Boy was I happy though with Sam Claflin’s portrayal of Finnick. He did that character justice. He made me love him and want to hug him, and if I wasn’t already newly best friends with Francis Lawrence, I’d be best friends with him too by now.
  • Jena Malone is crazy in the best kind of way. Jena Malone portrays Johanna, a very unique victor from District 7. I have a soft spot for Johanna, because I like me some crazy, and that girl is crazy in the best possible way. Jena Malone plays into that crazy perfectly, and when times were really tense in this movie she added the fun and wildness that was necessary for that little comic relief.
  • The merry band of previously victorious victors. All of the actors chosen to play the other victors for this round of The Hunger Games were phenomenal. Even if they only had one line, I loved every minute of them being on-screen. Mags is by far the stand out of this group. Well done Lynn Cohen.
  • The chemistry between Katniss and Peeta. Don’t get me wrong, in The Hunger Games I believed that Katniss and Peeta “liked” each other as they did in the book, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by their “likeness.” But in Catching Fire I was amazed at how much these two characters and actors were able to make me believe that they really cared for one another. And let’s be honest it just looked like they liked each other a hell of a lot more in this movie.
  • The arena. Let me tell you, it took me a while when I read Catching Fire to really picture where they were competing for their lives. I just couldn’t pin point an image in my head. The arena they created in this movie, blew my mental picture out of the water. That arena is the definition of how CGI and real locations can be used to create something mind-blowing.
  • The up, close, and personal IMAX experience. I had never seen a movie in IMAX until this one. Let me tell you it was definitely an experience, and it added to the great visuals of the last half of the film. Also, if you’re looking to learn how many freckles each cast member has on their face, IMAX is your new best friend. The image was so clear, I am pretty sure I was able to see the actors faces clearer than I have ever seen my own.

While I LOVED this adaptation, there were only two small details that put my fire out just a smidge:

  • The one scene I wanted in this film, was cut. Now I know that I preach on here to be happy with what you get, and I am ecstatic about this film, but the one scene I liked didn’t make the cut. For those who know the story it involves two people escaping to District 13 that Katniss briefly meets. Was this scene vital to have? No. But I still liked it, and wanted to see it. (Don’t worry Francis, we still cool.)
  • The Fifty Shades of Grey moment. I love me some Fifty Shades, I do. But I did not expect that in Catching Fire there would be a scene where Katniss, Peeta, and Finnick all make the noises I would expect to hear in that movie. Don’t get me wrong, the scene is great, but I couldn’t help but giggle at that moment like a twelve-year-old girl who sees people kissing. Maybe I am a tad immature, but the sounds in that scene threw a little wrench in the dramatic acting taking place. (For those that have seen the movie, this is the scene when Katniss, Peeta, and Finnick are “washing off” their burns in the water)

Have you come back from seeing Catching Fire yet? If not, it still isn’t too late.

Suffice to say this movie was by far one of the best book to movie adaptations I have ever seen. It did a fantastic job capturing this book, and presenting a story that I and so many others fell in love with.

Francis Lawrence you are my new best friend.

You have set the bar higher than any of the trees Katniss could climb, and I applaud you for that. You may not care that what I think, but you should.

We are best friends after all.