An Ode to Reading: Books Bring Our Imagination to Life | Opinion

When it comes to picking up a book or seeing the movie version, there’s a good answer. Books are more vivid and give you the ability to imagine the world and characters for yourself, allowing you to be immersed in the world in a way a screen never can.

I used to be okay with book-to-movie adaptations. The adaptation of “The Hunger Games” was correct. As a Hunger Games stan, I thought “Catching Fire” was a really well-made movie that I enjoyed almost as much as the book.

But then “Divergent” came out. Shailene Woodley, who played the character of Tris, ruined the book-movie adaptations for good for me. I couldn’t take the movie seriously and spent more time laughing at the bad acting than enjoying the action coming to life.

Then my worst nightmare happened. Shailene Woodley started getting cast in other books that I liked too. Seeing “The Fault in Our Stars” feels like a fever dream. At least her acting was better, but seeing her play Tris changed my perception of her forever.

Maybe I really don’t like Shailene Woodley, but I actually thought she did a good job in “Big Little Lies,” a TV adaptation of the book that surprisingly wasn’t horrible. As an actress, she has definitely progressed, but Divergent will always be my favorite movie when I need a good laugh.

Then think “Twilight”. Physically, I cringe every time I see Edward call Bella “spider monkey,” but somehow that was easier to read in writing than to see in action. Some things are simply best left to our imaginations.

Also, I don’t understand why the books would even be made into movies in the first place. If the author wanted it to be a movie, he would have written a screenplay instead. Books are meant to be read like books, not seen on a screen in a lazier way.

“The Great Gatsby” is known for its elaborate detailing. While it’s great to see this come to life, it was so much more impactful and fun to imagine when playing. The thrill of “The Hunger Games” was good, but it was much better in writing than on screen. Being able to put yourself in a character’s eyes is so much more impactful than seeing the character exist outside of your mind.

There are only a few good book-to-movie adaptations I’ve ever seen that get a pass. “The Godfather” and “Little Women” (2019) are two of them. The movie brothers are right about ‘The Godfather’, he deserves all the credit he got. Although a bit slow at times, the movie is able to cut the slow parts better than the book. “The Godfather” was the first book-movie adaptation I enjoyed and therefore an exception to my belief.

“Little Women” got me into an emotional mess in that movie theater. One of the last movies I saw before the coronavirus closed the cinema, I had more than the book left and I forced my family and friends to watch it with me on several occasions.

So I guess there are good adaptations, but the overall storylines of the book should stay on paper and in our imagination. Every now and then an award-winning or super popular book is understandable, but Hollywood is obsessed with turning every book into a movie. I want to see more original content, not more remakes.

Sydney Fluker is a staff writer. Follow her on Twitter: @sydneymfluker.

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