Monday, June 07, 2010

Eat, Pray, Film

People magazine wants to know which book-to-film conversion you're dying to see this summer. Well, actually they only give you three choices. I don't know, ever since Hollywood turned The Iliad into "Troy," I've been a little wary of film adaptations of my favorite books.

I'm not saying the novel-to-screenplay makeover is always a bad thing. For one, hearing that a book is going to be made into a film often inspires people to read the original source material. I've been seduced a few times myself. But what usually happens is that after I read the book, I don't want to see the movie. For starters, I already know the plot. But mostly I can't see how the movie can possibly be an improvement--subtleties are inevitably lost; interior dialogue, frequently key to understanding character motivation, is often jettisoned; casting choices are made with an eye on the box office, not what's called for on the page. I also tend to get too attached to the text; it pains me to have it altered in the slightest way (major case in point, "Atonement"; minor case in point, "Lord of the Rings: Two Towers"). In fact, the best adaptations are often of novels I never knew existed (ie, "Up in the Air").

So, which books has Hollywood mucked up the worst? Which book would you like to see get the film treatment?


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