Tuesday, April 1, 2014

From Page to Screen

Okay so here it goes …
And in this week's post guys keep this one question in mind 'Is my nerd showing?'

Here's the deal recently the world of YA fiction has been blowing up, series are getting adapted into movies and hitting the big screen. Let's just get the obvious out of the way and say that this is AMAZING! Authors have put their blood, sweat and tears into these stories. People have worked for years and years to get to this point. Characters that have become almost like family or friends to them are becoming tangible, they're being brought to life. The world's that have, until recently, only existed in the author and the reader's mind are coming to life. Concept becomes reality and that is just truly an accomplishment unlike any other.

But the flip side to that accomplishment is opening your life's work up to even more hate and criticism. Now of course critics are expected to be very critical and even at times harsh, but that's their job! They're supposed to critique these things and while reviews from critics are supposed to be objective human nature does not always allow for that. But it's the viewer's choice, the reader's choice, everybody's choice to take the reviews at face value or ignore them all together and form your own opinion.

It seems to me though that lately the critics aren't even the ones to watch out for, it's the fans. Fans that have read the books and have fallen in love with the characters, the worlds, the author in one way or another. And I agree the fans of the books should be critical, they after all have given years to these series! I myself gave Harry Potter more than ten years! More than a DECADE! Out of that I got seven books, eight movies, three heroes and I am part of a generation that is unlike any other. As a self-proclaimed Potterhead I'm part of the original "fandom." A fandom that basically all others strive to become, the following and the success that only one franchise has successfully claimed and kept the crown of having the most loyal fans. As a Harry Potter fan from the start; I read the first book in the fourth grade and followed the entire series to completion in 2011.

And yes I am guilty of being critical of a series that I love so much, an example would be Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire movie. Of all the movies in that series I felt this was the movie that was least like the book. There were plot points missing from the movie that I just wish had not been cut; I still enjoy the movie but in terms of my own rating system it's not my favorite of the bunch.

That being said I spent the last few days scrolling through different tags on Tumblr, where a majority of the ranting and raving seems to happen, and found every type of fan review possible. Those that praised the book to movie adaptations, those that hated them and justified their reasoning behind their hatred. But then there were those reviews in which the writer simply felt the need to nitpick and gripe over every little minuscule detail that was changed or omitted from page to screen. These are the reviews that bother me the most and hopefully others as well.

Now the reviews I spent my days reading focused largely on The Hunger Games, Divergent and The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. I chose these three because they're not only some of the most current adaptations but they are also ones that I myself have both read the books and seen the movies. They're not the only YA books I've read, I'm up to date on Twilight, obviously Harry Potter, Hush Hush, The Gallagher Girls series, etc. and I'll admit I have not yet read Insurgent or Allegiant; so if I'm short on a few details that potentially come back in later books I won't comment on those changes either.

There are still plenty of things I can share my opinion on, such as many viewers apparent hatred of the fact that Christina (Zoe Kravitz) is not significantly taller that Tris (Shailene Woodley) in the Divergent movie. The point of a casting of a particular actor/actress for any adaptation is that they capture the essence of the character, the life that you felt from them in the book and needs to be translated onto the screen. Now Zoe Kravitz playing Candor turned Dauntless Christina I enjoyed very much and chopping a couple inches off her height is not in the long run a big deal! It does nothing to affect the overall performance of Zoe or the portrayal of the character.

It's little details like this that fans hang onto so hard that it blinds them and makes them hate the conversion. Jennifer Lawrence is a natural blonde, therefore she was a terrible choice for Katniss Everdeen. Hair dye people! That is a fixable problem! And JLaw really does Katniss justice. All the Shadowhunters have accents; are we completely forgetting that the country they all originate from is Idris? Smack dab in the middle of Europe? I think I would've been disappointed if they were completely Americanized considering while Jace, Alec and Isabelle live in New York they rarely socialize with its inhabitants. The Shadowhunters have always held, in my opinion, and old world air about that that makes them mysterious and seem almost as if they were from another world entirely. In a way though they really are.

Now I'm up to date on Twilight but I'm not even going to touch that one, because let's face it a blog about Twilight could be it's own post all together. But seriously guys let's not focus on the fact that Effie's dress was a different color at the Reaping from the book to movie. Madge? I'm sorry but she's not a major character and if you haven't read Mockingjay yet, trust me overall she's not necessary to the series itself. Madge Undersee's job was to get the Mockingjay pin to Katniss and as long as Katniss ultimately gets the pin it really does not matter how she gets, just that she does. Seeing things from the Gamemakers point of view? It's necessary to telling the story; Madge is not!

City of Bones' Simon, no he didn't become a rat and yes I was looking forward to that but it's not a deal breaker that Robert Sheehan remained human throughout the entire movie. If I were to nitpick it would be more about the ending of the movie and the current location of the Mortal Cup. The filmmakers dug themselves into a nice little hole with that one, getting out of it will be interesting. But really I've read a review and the reviewer is angered over leaving out Church! A cat! People it's a cat! Church is awesome but what role does he play other than tour guide? Even Peeves got cut from Harry Potter and Peeves was in every book in several different ways, he was a tormentor, an ally, an enemy; part of Hogwarts!

Things get changed from page to screen, pieces get cut and things are added. It's part of the process, making something flow on the page is different from making it live on a screen. What is described in several paragraphs of exposition and detail can be done in seconds on film. And once again these are all adaptations! The stories are made to fit their new format while trying to remain as true to the original as possible. I highly doubt the writers, producers, directors and actors go into these projects with the objective to butcher much loved books and anger the existing fans. The point of these is to please the existing fans while bringing on new ones to the franchise.

So yes there are some cases in which I would love a 17 hour long retelling of the story, with no detail left out but that's simply not reality. I go into a theater and look at the movie for what it is and where it came from, if I can leave that theater and have the same or similar feeling I had reading the books then I'm happy. If the characters had the same energy and feel that they did on the page, I'm good. But for the love of god don't change the endings! They're written the way they are for a reason!

Source: http://imgur.com/gallery/0QLOq 
Above are some quotes from the different blogs I found on Tumblr reviewing these movies. These quotes are taken from larger pieces but are otherwise unedited. The blog URLs are listed with their related quotes beneath them. 

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