Books and movies are like apples and oranges. Both are fruit, but taste completely different. – Stephen King.
And linking nicely to that quote, I recently finished Stephen King’s masterpiece IT. Though it’s common knowledge that it is one heck of a long novel, it is difficult to imagine that much is left out of the film given that that it also very long. But lo and behold, some crucial parts are missing from the film adaptation.
As a bookworm, this is a feeling I’m often left with once seeing an adaption. Finishing IT motivated me to write about this nuisance.
Harry Potter series – J.K.Rowling
Anybody who has spent a considerable amount of time on the World Wide Web will be familiar with one difference between the book and film regarding Harry Potter…
HARRY DID YOU PUT YOURNAMEISNT HE GOBELTOF FFIRE?!?!?!?!?!?!?
is NOT how it goes in the book. Dumbledore asks Harry calmly if he did this. Jeez.
Personally, one of my favourite characters in the series is Peeves, who just does not exist in the film wizarding world. The mischievous poltergeist who haunts the school simply to piss people off. What a spirit animal, or…Patronus…
But hey, at least we got Peeves in the early 2000s games where he looks excellent (see below, if you dare).
A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
On a completely different note, I have one simple problem with the film adaptation of this must-read novel. The ending.
Once you get to the end of the novel you become sympathetic (…or maybe it’s just me) towards anti-hero, protagonist Alex. You’ve been with him mentally through his brainwashing, torture and de-brainwashing, to end up having to ‘witness’ him being isolated by his friends who have just simply moved on from the old ultraviolence.
I believe the whole point of this open-but-closed ending is to leave the reader wondering whether Alex went back to his old habits on his own. A very easily agitated young man has just been parred off by his best mates after leaving both prison and hospital. Makes sense to turn to bad habits, right? Alternatively, this rejection could have made him rethink what he wanted to do, leading him to better things.
With the film’s ending you just don’t get the opportunity to analyse in this way, to think of the different ways scenarios can end. He’s just in a hospital bed happy as larry. I guess I’m just a sucker for a film with an unhappy ending.
IT – Stephen King
Like I’ve already mentioned, this encyclopedia of words and ideas is just not given justice by its film counterpart. Don’t get me wrong, the film is fantastic, but the novel is fantastic.
The idea behind IT and how IT appears to the children, and the children as adults, is very much simplified for the big screen. The backstory of all the characters is missed out, resulting in the viewer not fully engaging with the kids. I watched the film before reading the novel and it actually took me two viewings to get what was going on. Ironically, by simplifying the story, the story was made harder to grasp.
Furthermore, in the novel King appears to be at points engaging with societal ideas such as racism and sexism. The two things usually absolutely adored by horror (the black one dies first, the slut second…) are portrayed in such a negative light. There is a part where the boys are completely horrified by Beverley’s decision to allow them to perform sexual acts on her, clearly not seeing her as this object, but their friend, one of them.
An entire Interlude of the novel (of which there is four) is dedicated to race-motivated crimes, with King emotionally explaining the effects of racism on blacks in America during the two decades (50s and 80s). If you’ve only seen the film (most likely) you’re probably just as surprised by this as I was when I read the book, it being completely overlooked by the producers. But hey, I guess it would have ruined their fun. Of course, as always, the ending to the film is different than the book. I won’t spoil it though, you can just read the book it won’t take you long 🙂
And finally, I can’t believe Stephen King invented the GIF. (if you know, you know)