And Then There Were Movies

People often say the movie wasn’t as good as the book. Well, I’d love for one of my books to be made into a movie. Perhaps this is an unpopular opinion. But I think movies can make great stories even better.

Image of boxes of popcorn.
Photo by Pixabay on

A picture is worth a thousand words

Sometimes only a view will do. Facial expressions in movies are a great example of this. Like that moment in Love, Simon. When Simon realises he accidentally signed his anonymous love letter with his real name. Or the scene in The Maze Runner. When the group, who’ve been running for their lives, reach a door with an Exit sign.

Another visual moment I love is in Divergent. It’s when Tris asks about Four’s tattoo. There’s no doubt the words here are awesome: “I don’t want to be just one thing. I can’t be. I want to be brave. And I want to be selfless. Intelligent, and honest, and kind. Although I’m still working on kind.”

This shows us a different side of Four’s personality. Actually seeing his tattoo of all five factions gives this quietly powerful moment added impact.

Actions speak louder than words

You know the part in Jurassic Park when little Tim is climbing the electric fence, and the scene cuts to Ellie flipping the electrical switches? We’re watching her get closer to the switch for the fence he’s standing on. Did you call out to the fictional character on the screen? I know I did.

When Tris is speeding along the zip-line in Divergent, we don’t need to be told what’s she’s thinking, or feeling. We’re right there with her – holding our breath too.

Another scene that had me on the edge of my seat was from The Maze Runner. It’s when Minho is carrying Alby back to the Glen, and the gates start to close. We don’t know if they are going to make it in time, and then we realise the gates are closing too fast. What happens next is another moment when yelling at the screen seems like a reasonable choice.

A heart-wrenching action moment is in The Hunger Games. Whenever someone raises their hand in that iconic gesture of respect and solidarity, we feel that too. But when Thresh says, “Just this time Twelve. For Rue.” and raises his hand to his district – that’s one of those times when it’s officially OK to cry at a movie.

My all-time favourite action moment in a film is from I am Number Four. Number Six walking away from her old life, as flames obscure everything behind her, shows her resilience in a way no words could. This has to be one of the coolest scenes in cinematic history.

Can you feel the chemistry?

Everyone imagines characters slightly differently from everyone else. And of course, sometimes the actors cast in the roles don’t look anything like the characters described in the book. This is one of the main reasons given for not liking a movie as much as the book it’s based on. But real people have real chemistry. And you can feel it.

Whether the characters love each other, or hate each other, the right actor pairing can add fireworks to a story.

My top pick for romantic pairing is Clary and Jace in Mortal Instruments: City of Bones. I love how they try to be cool about it, and then Jace gets unreasonably jealous over Clary’s friend. The sparks between the two leads make addictive viewing.

My favourite book to movie enemies are probably Harry Potter and Professor Snape. Now this might seem like a strange choice since the main villain in the Harry Potter series is, of course, Voldemort. But Voldemort is an almost mythical figure, who is rarely seen by anyone outside his trusted circle. Conversely, there’s something about the daily struggle between Harry and Snape that feels real, relatable, and sometimes dangerous. It may be fantasy but the acting makes it totally believable.

The World of the story

OK, I’m just going to put this out there – a book based in a gaming universe was maybe not the best idea. But Ready Player One did make an awesome movie. I love the striking contrast between the players’ avatars, and what they look like in real life. That is a brilliant visual message for teens.

Outside of sci-fi and fantasy, books are usually set in the real world. But it may be a part of the world we haven’t visited. The Fault in Our Stars is partly set in Amsterdam. I loved seeing Amsterdam in the film. And feeling the excitement of the two teens travelling for the first time.

Everything, Everything includes a trip to Hawaii. It’s one perfect moment in a challenging life. This book to movie adaptation would be worth watching for the scenery, even if the story wasn’t brilliant. Which it is.

Animals and other creatures

I don’t need to tell you that cute animals make us feel happy. The unnamed puppy in I am Number Four is utterly adorable. It can almost make you forget about the kids being hunted. Until the puppy turns into a giant warrior beast, and then it’s just awesome!

I find it hard to imagine mythical creatures. Like the ones in the Percy Jackson books. The same goes for the magical creatures in the Harry Potter and Fantastic Beasts series. But seeing them on screen makes them feel real.

The Jurassic Park series may feel like it was made for the cinema. But that was originally a book too. Those dinosaurs are everything from cute, to mind-blowing, to terrifying.

Cue the music

The right soundtrack can improve an entire movie. But there are certain scenes which really need music. Like in this moment from Everything, Everything. Olly stands outside Madeline’s house and connects his phone to her wifi so she can hear what he’s listening to. That is a beautiful scene.

So many movies have music that everyone identifies with the story. Like Jurassic Park, for example. Are you humming that tune now? But it wasn’t in the book!

The music during the credits is a game-changer too. When I get to the end of a great book, I sometimes feel empty. Because I know the story is over. But the music played at the end of a movie can take you right back to an uplifting part. You get to have that great feeling again. That’s one of the things I love most about movies.

What’s your favourite book to movie adaptation? Drop an iconic line, animal character, actor pairing, action moment, or soundtrack highlight we should experience!

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