Wednesday, October 12, 2016

The Book to Movie Experience

My family loves to watch movies, but only my mom and I really enjoy going to the theater. We've been reading a lot of the same books recently (mostly, I toss a book onto her nightstand and demand that she reads it now so I have someone to talk to about it), and it just so happens that two of our semi-recent reads have been released as movies in the past week.

I'm a big believer in the book-before-movie formula. It practically kills me every time I hear someone say that they've seen the Harry Potter movies so they don't need to read the book.

You can imagine the frustration.
(I hope.)

Our two most recent trips to the theater have really highlighted how that experience of reading a book and then going to see the movie version can go well or can be... disappointing.

More on this below:


Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was most recently featured on Top Shelf Text as a great October read. I first read it back in 2011 when it had just been published and really enjoyed it but didn't keep up with news of the series. I just picked up the second this year (on my TBR list this month) but decided I needed to re-read the first installment before reading the second. I managed to get it done just in time for the movie release. My mom had also just finished it a few days before me, so we went in with fresh memories of the book and high expectations.

Womp, womp.

Disclaimer: I love Tim Burton films. I think he's great and that his style works well with the world that Ransom Riggs has built. But I was really disappointed in this adaptation. It was nothing like the book (they even switched around characters -- so strange and confusing) and they added elements that had no place in the book. The end of the movie got really cheesy and I left the theater rolling my eyes.

Mostly, I was disappointed because I had high hopes. I thought that since the series has such a strong following with both teenage and adult readers that the standard for the adaptation would be along the same level as The Hunger Games or Harry Potter.

The Verdict: 
If you're a fan of the book, this movie is only worth seeing if you have the expectation that it is not grounded in the original story.


I read The Girl on the Train back in April while visiting my brother for Spring Break and the suspense was so high that I managed to finish it in an afternoon (and get a bad sunburn in the process). This week I went to the premier show at our local movie theater, which was completely sold out and packed with women (seriously, there were only 3 men) who had all read the book and were ready to see how the movie measured up.

When the credits rolled and the groups of friends started chatting as we walked out, there was a general consensus that the movie was very close to the book and also really well done. It was extremely suspenseful and the acting was very intense. Even knowing the twist didn't help to ease that uncomfortable feeling that comes with knowing something bad is about to happen. I thought that Emily Blunt was really great at portraying such an unreliable narrator. 

The Verdict:
Highly recommended, whether or not you've read the book.


What's your favorite book to movie adaptation? Which has disappointed you the most?


Happy Reading!