Friday, 1 April 2016

Are book adaptations more suited to TV or Film?

I love books.

Yeah ok...I will tell you something you don't already know.

As a self-confessed book nerd (or addict or lover or geek or whatever other noun professing strong love you would like to insert here), when I am not reading them, I am discussing them. And when I am not discussing the books themselves, I am discussing something book-related such as their adaptations.

Now there are a lot of adaptations out there but the most common way is via film and TV. And in film I swear the cinema is swamped by them. You can't visit it without there being at least one adaptation in there. For instance at the moment there are not one, not two but four books in the film world -- most notably Allegiant, Batman vs Superman (based on Marvel comic books so kind of counts. Kind of), High Rise and The Huntsman: Winter's War (loosely based on Snow White).So even though I have got two kind-of ones, there's still two more actual proper novels.

I have to say that I am not always a huge fan of film adaptations. Without fail, they never ever live up to the book. Two hours is just not enough time to attempt to fit all that emotion in and to portray those wonderful characters in a way that actually does them justice.

I do watch most of them and every time I really hope I am proved wrong. But I never am.

That's not to say they are bad films. In fact, I find if you try to ignore the book they are based on, you can actually enjoy them more. Or if you don't read the book at all. This is what I did with the Divergent films and as a result I have actually really enjoyed them.

TV adaptations I am a little more positive about. In the past three months alone there have been two major book adaptations screened on the BBC - War and Peace and The Night Manager. And I absolutely adored both of these.

In a TV series you get a lot more freedom in that you have loads more time to play with. The Night Manager spanned 5 1-hour episodes and in War and Peace there were 6. You obviously can't have a five or a six hour film.

This extra time allows the actors and the directors to explore the story more deeply, recount more of the events of the book and to delve into the characters fully. Throughout those weeks you spend watching the characters grow and progress, they actually start to become a part of your life, almost like the real family and friends who you know and love. There's no way you can achieve that in a two hour film, however great the acting/writing is.

To be honest, although I prefer TV to film and although I prefer the book itself to TV (OBVS!) I am never going to complain about any book adaptation. There are just so many wonderful books out there which the majority of people won't have the time to read or won't know about. Both TV and film reach fresh audiences and might encourage the person to locate the book. And that could never be a bad thing, could it?

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