Beloved novels spark controversy as they come to life


Tyler Kostick

As many popular novels are turned into movie adaptations, controversy arises over whether or not on screen adaptations live up to the greatness of timeless books.

In a good book, the words leap off the page and storylines play out in the reader’s imagination. Tales of love and hate, dragons and princesses and struggles and happiness come to life. Characters are held close to readers who feel like they are a part of the story and relate to their journeys. Readers get to view characters and scenes the way that they imagine them, living vicariously through their favorite fictional characters. However, when these popular characters are transported onto the screen for movies and television shows, it gets risky. Some say that a part of that magic seems to disappear. 

Lately, the trend of making film and series adaptations of popular novels seems to be missing the mark, as many films do not interpret the literature in the same way that readers do. Where audience members may imagine characters in one way, the filmmaker’s opposing view can threaten to ruin a nostalgic story for readers altogether. 

“So much is lost in a movie adaptation,” sophomore Anna Wilcomes said. “While it can be nice to see a story come to life on the screen, books are open to interpretation that movie adaptations don’t allow for.”

The popular Percy Jackson series originated as a compilation of Rick Riordan novels surrounding the characters Percy, Annabeth, Grover and many others. Fans of this beloved series spent years imagining the characters in certain ways, only for the 2013 movie adaptation of “Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters” to disappoint a majority of its audiences. After backlash  from fans who have loved the story and characters for years, the series has another chance at a decent adaptation on screen. “Percy Jackson and the Olympians” is set to be released to Disney+ sometime in 2023. Fans have high hopes but low expectations for the series due to the failure of the original movies. 

This is just one of many live-action adaptations that have the potential to ruin a nostalgic tale for fans that grew up immersing themselves into the stories. It is almost impossible for movies to perfectly represent what is displayed in novels considering that everyone interprets a story slightly differently, but some enjoy a slightly new take on a classic book.

There is a possibility that the visual versions of  renowned novels  will not be complete disappointments. The hope that they may be able to recreate nostalgic tales in ways that will not compromise the integrity of the books encourages filmakers to bring stories new meanings.

Supporters also believe that movie and TV show adaptations of books help them further understand characters. They view this as a new perspective and a reinvented way of imagining their favorite stories. Those who do not find reading entertaining can also enjoy these classic and beloved tales when they are displayed in films and television shows. 

“I am not much of a reader,” sophomore Abby Woods said. “A movie allows me to understand the book and be entertained at the same time.”

Films allow audiences to view their fascinating stories worth new perceptions. Filmmakers often envision stories differently than readers, providing a new take of their favorite stories as long as the integrity of the books remain.

Audiences who may not enjoy picking up a lengthy book tend to be thrilled by this, as they now get to enjoy timeless stories which avid readers have been loving for years. By extending these plot lines to larger audiences, more people get to enjoy characters, stories and the thrill of a good book overall.

Although people have varying thoughts on live screen adaptations of books, Hollywood seems to love it. Timeless tales have been transformed onto the big screen and more are in the making.