Thursday, April 21, 2011

Book to Film: Why the Same Story Doesn't Always Work

This past weekend me and my sister watched Flipped -- the movie based on the book by Wendelin Van Draanen. I'd heard mixed review on this one, from "absolutely adorable" to "meh" to "one of the worst movies of the year," so I basically had no idea what to expect. But, being such a fan of the book, I had reasonably high hopes (NOT expectations).

The movie was exactly like the book. And by this I mean that so much of the dialogue (maybe even all of it?) was taken directly from the book. The voiceover narration was straight from the book and all of the characters were accounted for. Aside from being set in the 1960s (I don't think there was anything in the book about it taking place 50 years ago), the story of the movie was play-for-play exactly like the book.

Unfortunately, what works so well in the book doesn't really translate as well in the movie. A book is black shapes on a white paper -- with this story a split-POV is needed to show the thoughts and feelings of both Bryce and Juli. In a book there are no lingering looks or cameras panning or atmospheric music. But guess what?

THESE THINGS ARE ALL AVAILABLE TO MOVIES. And the fact that this movie didn't take advantage of those things was disappointing to me. Though my sister loved the movie, I thought it was sweet-but-seriously-lacking.

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