This week's YA Highway Road Trip topic: It isn't surprising that this month's Bookmobile selection, Leigh Bardugo's Shadow and Bone, has sold film rights; the darkly magical world of the Shadow Fold begs for an on-screen translation! But that got us wondering. We'd like to know, in your opinion, what is it that makes some books seem ideal for a film translation?
I'm definitely a the book is better kind of girl...but I appreciate this week's Road Trip because it has made me think about why I feel this way.
Both movies and books have different kinds of restraints in telling a story. They also have different kinds of magic...often, I believe, the way these things mesh and don't mesh in the different medias will determine the quality of the translation.
But I'm still bothered that Katniss didn't get the bread from District Eleven after giving Ru her respectful final send off. That is my favorite moment in the whole book, maybe even in the whole series.
Which brings us to the next issue. The significance of some moments are in the character's inner thoughts. Katniss considering how much that bread would have cost the people of District Eleven is what makes that moment so significant, but who would have conveyed that info on film? Katniss couldn't mutter it to herself without sounding awkward and/or putting her safety at risk. Maybe they could have flashed to Haymitch finding out about the gift, but even then, who would he share his observations with? Either way, the moment loses its umph without that inner thought (so easily utilized in a novel) to convey the info.
Comedies, I've noticed, get around this inner thought issue by creating characters who tend to say their inner thoughts out loud.
Bridget Jones's Diary is such a wonderful film adaptation because it has the outspoken main character plus her diary entries to convey her inner thoughts.
I don't remember the film version of Princess Diaries using the diary entries as much, and (I think) you lose some of the quirky/outrageous tone of those books because of it.
Given that example, it would be easy to say that the better the world building, the better the movie result can be. But this theory doesn't work entirely.
Then (also related to inner thoughts), an author's world building is sometimes dependent on character narration.
Rick Riordan's engaging world of demi-gods, monsters and gods turns into a plain old action film (one with major time constraint issues too) without the main character's witty descriptions of his encounters.
What about you? What do you think makes film adaptations work/not work?