Book vs. movie adaptation debate rages on


Movies, like “The Hobbit” and “The Hunger Games” set up an age-old debate where fans of the books are often at odds with fans of the movie adaptations.

Book fans are often disappointed when the movie adaptation of their favorite book comes out. However, book adaptations though, people’s attention to books they otherwise wouldn’t hear about and elicit people’s curiosity about the original narratives that the movies are based on.

Jennifer Lawrence stars as 'Katniss Everdeen' in "The Hunger Games." (Photo by Murray Close)
Jennifer Lawrence stars as ‘Katniss Everdeen’ in “The Hunger Games.” (Photo by Murray Close)

Alexander Rice, a BYU student studying linguistics and English, loved “The Hunger Games” movie, although he didn’t read the books. “The Hunger Games” trilogy by Suzanne Collins is a New York Times bestseller series. The sequel to the first movie is expected in the fall.

“I really liked the atmosphere of the film,” Rice said. “I didn’t know much about (it) beforehand. It had a slightly dark, a bit gritty and realistic depressing feel to it that I liked.”

Rice also liked the main themes of the film, such as social-political struggle and the portrayal of an authoritarian government that takes advantage of its people.

“That’s a reality of life for pretty much all people everywhere,” Rice said. “And to see it represented in a fictional setting as a form of entertainment, I think, can help people be more fully aware of these same sorts of things going in their own world and could possibly encourage them to do something about it.”

On the other hand, Tasha Hickman, a UVU student, felt let down by “The Hunger Games” movie.

“I don’t know why I get all excited about a book I love turning into a film anymore,” Hickman said. “I should know by now that Hollywood is only going to vandalize my loved stories.”

Hickman felt that the movie adaptation stripped away essential elements of the book.

“‘Hunger Games’ missed a huge chunk of subtext about repression under government laws and destitution,” Hickman said. “It speaks to many Americans in our current state. The movies skated over a lot of that and focused on the action adventure aspect. That made me mad. We don’t need an eight-minute fight scene; we need character development.”

Keenan Grimmer, a visual arts student at BYU, almost always prefers movies to the books.

“I feel movies are capable of more immediate depth,” Grimmer said. “(Various) aspects, such as the score and other audio components of a film, create an atmosphere that might never be appreciated or even realized when leaving it to the responsibility of a reader’s imagination as they experience the same situation in a book.”

Matthew Dibb, a junior in construction management, enjoys both movies and books. The last book-to-movie adaptation he saw was “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.” Even though there were a few things Dibb didn’t like, he enjoyed watching the movie.

“I like the idea of book adaptations, even though it is hard to fit a 400 to 500-page book in a two-hour movie, so a lot of things are usually left out,” Dibb said. “But in general, I like those movies, and I usually try to read the book before watching the movie.”

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