One thing I was always certain of, is that a book is always better than its movie adaption. Just to clarify a film adaption describes the transfer of a book or other written work to film, whether in whole or just parts of it. My biggest problem with movie adaptations is that often, if not all the time, skip certain parts of the book and I just end up feeling that they are lacking something, even though the story might still be coherent, it’s just not the same.
Let’s just take a look at one of the most popular books to film adaptions in recent years, Harry Potter:
I have read all seven Harry Potter books and was truly captivated, with every page I read. Words such as muggle, quidditch, auror, dementor and many others like them truly enhanced my reading experience and aided greatly in getting into a magical mood. Now what better medium allows you to visualise magic, wizardry and mythical beings better than film? Well, let’s take a look at the movies, the first two were rather faithful to the books, mostly due to the shorter lengths of the books in comparison to the other ones. The third one, I have to admit is one of my favourite, director Alfonso Cuarón is truly one of the great and has created a visually stunning movie with Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. He did leave out a lot of plot, such as quite a few of the quidditch games and Harry’s patronus charm training. Still the movie turned out to be one of the best and highest rated of the Harry Potter Series. Even though it omitted a lot of parts it is still a great movie, and has changed my opinion on elision.
To finish off, allow me to mention one interesting experiment, in 1924 the Austrian film director attempted a literal adaptation of Frank Norris’ novel McTeague. The film was called Greed and had a running time of 9 and a half hours. The studio urged the director to cut it down, so he did, to four hours, still quite a marathon length for a movie. Without telling the director the studio executives then proceeded to cut it even further to two hours. Now you can imagine what the result looked like, it was a very incoherent movie and is the reason why nearly all following film adaptations have since used elision as a common practice.
In the end I do still think that the movie adaptation can never be as good as the book itself, but there are a few examples out there that get pretty close.