Watching The Martian

Blogger Book Nook #7: Books to screen

March 9, 2018Hels

I was really excited when I found out this months prompt for Blogger Book Nook was about book and film adaptations, it’s something I love discussing!

1. What’s your favourite book to screen adaptation? Why?

I actually have a few. My absolute favourite is The Martian, which is my mini book review below, but I love Lion, which is based on A Long Way Home, a true story by Saroo Brierley. It’s an incredible book and a brilliant film. At the end of the film, there is even some footage of the real people that the film is based on.

Still Alice is another adaptation I loved. I read the book by Lisa Genova a few years ago, and it is beautiful and heartbreaking and so well written. I put off watching the film for personal reasons, but when I sat down to watch it, I was so glad I did. It was a brilliant adaptation, true to the story and I thought it was done extremely sensitively, even if it made me sob like a baby.

2. What’s your least favourite book to screen adaptation? Why?

So, I may be in the minority here, but I cannot bear the Harry Potter film adaptations. I absolutely love the books, the incredible world that has been created, the minute detail, the carefully interwoven plots and the films just don’t live up. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the films as films, and will happily watch them over and over, but as adaptations, I think they are poor.

I went to go and watch the The Half Blood Prince with a friend who had followed the films but had never read the books, and he said he genuinely didn’t understand what was going on. I appreciate that the books are long, and of course bits will be missed out and changed and dramatised, but for me, they all fall short. And lets not even get started on Voldemort hugging Draco Malfoy and then exploding into pieces at the end of The Deathly Hallows. In the books, he falls back, a mundane finality, a mortal death, he’s referred to as Tom Riddle, not some weird explosive, dissolving end.

Harry Potter reading

3. What book would you most like to see on screen that hasn’t been adapted yet?

Apparently the movie rights to I Am Pilgrim were bought in 2014, and I’d be very interested to see this. I absolutely LOVE this book, but it is very long, very detailed and extremely intense, so I’d be a bit anxious that a film wouldn’t do it justice, but we shall see…

4. Do you always read the book before watching the adaption?

I try to, yes. There have been a few times when I’ve watched a film without knowing it is an adaptation, but I always love to read them first and create my own vision of the characters and the places rather than picturing the cast.

5. Does seeing your favourite characters on screen ruin how they appear in your imagination?

Yes. Well, not “ruin” – some are exactly how I picture them, and so it’s completely fine, but sometimes I find it hard not to picture, for example, Michael Gambon (who I really disliked) as Dumbledore and that does affect how I read a book I think. I found that I don’t really picture actual people when I’m reading books, it’s more the imagery of the houses or the location of the book that I picture, the people are often just faceless blurs, which I kind of like, and then when the actor pops up in my mind…its gone.

Mini review: The Martian (Andy Weir)

I’ll start by saying I have a weird addiction to this story. I wish it were a true event. Sam will tell you that he regularly comes home to me rewatching the film, and I listen to the audiobook whenever I go for a walk.

The Martian is a science fiction story that tells the story of astronaut Mark Watney, who, through a series of unfortunate incidents, is left on Mars, presumed dead. The story tells of his efforts to establish contact with Earth and to survive on the planet. I absolutely loved the book when I read it. Mark Watney documents his time on Mars, and he’s funny and relatable. Back on Earth, NASA is putting together a plan to rescue him, and the whole world is rooting for his survival.

I personally think the adaptation sticks very closely to the story. It changes the order the way the story is told slightly, and inevitably a few bits are missed out, but the film remains true to the book, with direct quotes, and the same level of humour. Matt Damon plays Mark Watney, and he plays it exactly like I imagined him, and so while I inevitably picture him when I read or listen to the book, that’s totally fine by me!

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