In this series, I will be writing “reviews” of movie adaptations of books. These reviews will not be based on whether the movie is just good as a movie (though that may help my opinion of the adaptation). They will mostly be based on how well the movie transferred the story to the big (or small, if we’re talking T.V. movies and mini-series) screen. I figured this would be okay for a series since it is related to literature and all.
Basically, I will go through a few categories such as characters, plot, casting, message, etc. (though these categories may vary from review to review), and then I will arrive at a grade for the adaptation. Grading will go as follows:
A: The movie is excellent. It completely captures the essence of the book. The actors were the characters. Most, if not all, major plot points were included. Just about any die-hard fan would be satisfied with this adaptation.
B: The movie is decent. The main events are pretty much there. It was well-casted for the most part. Some key things were left out, but if you hadn’t read the book, you wouldn’t miss them. Most of the characters were well-developed, but a few of them were pretty stripped down.
C: When you see this film, you will say, “Meh.” It’s not great, but it’s certainly not the worst adaptation ever produced. The filmmakers cut out a lot of important things, but the stuff they left in was spot-on. Some characters might be drastically different or removed all-together, but the main characters are still there, and they’re pretty much the same as in the book(s). The filmmakers may have added scenes that seem useless, but they don’t totally ruin the story. This grade also goes to those that seem like they should get a higher grade accuracy-wise, but they just aren’t quite right. There’s a quality from the book that didn’t transfer to the movie.
D: It sucks. That’s putting it kindly. The plot is fairly different. The basic structure is there, but it’s just not right. The characters are underdeveloped. Some of them may have been renamed for no apparent reason. Several main characters are missing, or might as well be. The filmmakers added random scenes, while deleting some of the greatest scenes in the book. Characters are given different ages for no reason at all. The actors are all way too pretty for the characters they are playing. Note: Adaptations may receive a D-rating if they are of C- or B-quality but changed the ending or some other important plot point.
F: You walk out of the theater halfway through. It’s awful. The story, the plot, the characters, they’re all barely recognizable. Think Jane Eyre being played by a chimpanzee and the story taking place on Mars. The protagonist has a different personality. Most of the other characters are missing. The filmmakers completely missed the message of the book. The actors are horrible and are all Hollywood pretty people, but not the ones who can actually act. The script could’ve been written better by a five-year-old with a big, red crayon.
I: A movie will receive an incomplete if the scenes it included are very good and in tune with the story, but the whole thing seems kind of disconnected. This movie will likely not make much sense to those who haven’t read the book. This is the type of movie that leads to thousands of IMDb postings beginning with “Why…” and then explained by other posters with “Well, in the book…” Scenes may be added or removed, or certain scenes may be changed. The thing that separates incompletes from the other grades mentioned so far is the accuracy of some scenes mixed with the confusion of how the story got from point A to point B.
X: These films are exempt from grading. They are so unbelievably awesome that it doesn’t matter that the filmmakers strayed from the book just a tad… or even a bit more than a tad. This is the only grade of movie that can change the ending and get away with it. In many cases, these films surpass the source material. They are, at the very least, as good.
Grades A through F may have a + (plus) or – (minus) attached to them.
As I will be going through the differences of the book and the movie, there will be spoilers, lots of them. I would suggest not reading these reviews if you have not A.) read the book or B.) seen the movie. I will do my best to mark all spoilers, especially major ones. Keep in mind, our definition of “spoiler” might be different. I will mark spoilers about the ending of either the book or the movie with ENDING SPOILER. I will mark major spoilers with MAJOR SPOILER and minor spoilers with MINOR SPOILER. If the spoiler pertains to only the book or the movie I will use either BOOK SPOILER or MOVIE SPOILER. Well, you get the idea.
I know that most people will watch these atrocious butcherings anyway (I know I would), but this is just my attempt to save fans who aren’t as stubborn as I am from having to see their favorite books brutally murdered. I should have the first one up by next weekend, but don’t hold your breath. I tend to procrastinate.