I spent my Heathen Holiday watching movie adaptations of books, and re-reading some of the books concerned. I’ve also recently had several discussions with friends about movie adaptations of books, one of those concentrated on the Hunger Games movies. A good friend of mine said I should watch them, but I insisted that I want to read the books first. He doesn’t understand the intense joy of comparing a book to the movie it’s based on, how even disappointment can be satisfying in this regard.
The main point, however, is in seeing how much of the story has changed for the movie. When I first watched Lord of the Rings I hated Arwen. By the time the second movie came out, I’d come to accept that it was, on the whole, a good idea to elevate the role her character plays. One needed to have a better grasp of her relationship with Aragon before they get married at the end. Faramir on the other hand…we do not speak of the great injustice thrust on his character in the movies. Turning him into an asshole was uncalled for.
The key is to find a balance between hitting the main plots of the book and altering the story. Take the Harry Potter movies for instance: The screenplay shuffles around some of the finer details, but it preserves the main plot points. The movies capture the essence of the books by sticking to them as closely as possible.
City of Bones, on the other hand, is a disaster. One can understand the change of setting for the ending, as well as the introduction of new elements in order to accommodate that change, but the result of the ending throws the book out the window. Even if they wanted to make City of Ashes, there’s no way they can stick to the plot without doing some serious backtracking. (On a more opinionated note, I also hated the way Valentine was depicted. Nothing against the actor, but this character is a suave sociopath, not a common yob.) We can only hope that the TV series does a much better job than the movie.
I haven’t watched Battle of the Five Armies yet, but this just wouldn’t be complete without mentioning the Hobbit movies. Many people have had an issue with the introduction of the side plot featuring Gandalf’s investigation into the Necromancer and all that white orc stuff. I like it. I think it adds depth to the movie. While the dwarves never played hide and seek through the mountain with Smaug, it makes for an excellent movie scene.