Many of the films in production these days are either sequels, remakes, or adaptations.
For the most part I am a firm believer in the old adage that the book is always better than the film.
As I am writing this I am watching The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo on television, the second time I have seen the film. While the film is certainly not bad, it lacks the emotion and detail of the book. The book, although not the greatest I have ever read, brings you closer to the characters and the story (even though it runs on unnecessarily long after the main plot conflict has been resolved).
Another book-turned-film to come out this year was The Hunger Games. My feelings toward that film are pretty similar. My biggest gripe towards the film is how little they explored Katniss’ past and feelings. The book delves deeply into her past, her father, how District 12 came to be, and her conflicting emotions towards her two love interests.
I was also a little disappointed that the film did not go deeper into why the Hunger Games were established. In the book the reader is brought to a dark place where 12 Districts are used and abused by a wealthy and powerful Capitol. Their punishment for trying to regain their freedom is to watch their children die on television with the rest of the country. Cruel, humiliating and inhumane. The Hunger Games is a symbol of the Capitol’s continued oppression of the districts. That tone can be felt throughout the three books but in the film, it was sort of lost. Hopefully the second film, probably the most political of the three, can convey that better.
Fight Club is one of the few films that I believe stands up to the book. I think one of the reasons for this is that much of the dialogue in the film is taken directly from the book and minor details are not overlooked to try and make the film easier to digest. After watching the film and finishing the book I was left with the same feelings and emotions toward what had just happened. I think the reason for this is they way the novel itself was written: graphic, with the emotions and conflicts of the characters portrayed physically through action or narration.
It is interesting how filmmakers choose to approach an adaptation of something already living and breathing. Some are able to understand the tone and story and some are too hung up on the visual aspect, the shallow plot structure.
Every time I hear rumors of a Vonnegut book being turned into a film I die a little inside. I just hope that when Cat’s Cradle or The Sirens of Titan are inevitably made into film that they are done so with care and attention to Vonnegut’s underlying message.