DISCUSSION: When the Movie Departs from the Book

Hello wonderful readers! It’s been a while since I’ve had a discussion post, but something happened today that sparked this post idea.

Today my sister texted me, frustrated at some of the decisions about the new Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children movie. She had been looking at the photos that were released a few days ago and she was specifically dismayed that Emma appeared to have the floating peculiarity (on the right, wearing iron shoes) and that Bronwyn seems to be younger than she is in the book (second from the left, sailor outfit).download

In addition, it looks like the twins will be getting more play (I don’t remember them doing much of anything in the book), and the girl on the left with the gloves is Olive. Does anyone else remember an Olive from the book? Granted, I haven’t read the third one yet, but I don’t recognize this character. Another change that I’ve noticed is that Dr. Golan is a woman and Miss Peregrine is MUCH younger than I pictured her (but that might just be a me thing).

Honestly, the two “issues” that my sister brought up don’t bother me. First, I didn’t even remember what Emma’s real power was, I had to look it up (controlling fire by the way). Second, I actually kind of like Bronwyn as a younger girl. I think it creates a better and more interesting contrast between her appearance and her peculiarity. This did get me thinking, however, what is okay for the movie to change and what isn’t?

First I would pose this question: Do the changes made alter the story/plot? As is the case with Bronwyn, I don’t think it does. For Emma, it might. I’m remembering a section from the second book especially that makes me wonder…but I won’t say any more than that. Then we get to our second question: If the change does alter the story/plot, does it even matter? Do we care? This question is trickier to answer. Mostly I think about my experience with Austenland the book vs Austenland the movie. The movie made quite a few changes from the book, some that change the story a bit and some that don’t. In the end, tumblr_nt04uynwf21r2a4kfo1_1280however, I love both the book and the movie! I don’t care that there are differing subplots.

The last thing I want to touch on is the author’s involvement. I know that Shannon Hale was very active in the creation of the movie Austenland. I also assume that Ransom Riggs is similarly involved judging by this picture of him with Director Tim Burton. Does knowing that the author is involved with and participating in these changes make things more acceptable?


What do you guys think? Should movies stick 100% to the book or are some changes okay? What are some examples of changes from books/movies that you did or did not like?


17 thoughts on “DISCUSSION: When the Movie Departs from the Book

  1. I think changes are ok, as long as the spirit of the book is kept. Some of my favourite adaptations are only loosely based on their source material (like Hook for example). It’s actually worse when they try too hard to recreate the book exactly. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I think difference is expected and needs to be more widely accepted. While both mediums tell stories, they are vastly different and often serve a different purpose. When looking at film, I always look at it strictly as a film, not as a book adaptation because that is unfair to the film. Instead, I view the book as source material, or an idea for the film.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I really like that way of thinking. Sometimes I think readers may get into a little bit of a superiority complex where they think, “Well, I’ve read the book and I know that doesn’t happen” etc. If we could just view the movie as its own thing I think it would be a lot more enjoyable for everyone.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I agree. It makes the experience better if one can understand them as two completely different mediums that have something in common– storytelling. I’ve always thought that people who adapt books into movies enjoy the story or the characters, not necessarily the specific detail. Just look at Breakfast at Tiffany’s. The book and movie are vastly different, but both good in their own right. Someone can say the book is better, but it is a relative argument. You can’t judge two different mediums against each other.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Great post! It doesn’t bother me if some changes are made (like Brownyn being made younger), it’s bothersome when they change e v e r y t h i n g! For example, in the Scorch Trials movie, literally almost everything was changed from the book; the storyline was virtually unrecognizable!

    However, I have heard in interviews that while Ransom Riggs was always welcome on set and whatnot, he didn’t actually have very much involvement in the movie. That being said, from what I’ve heard, he always liked what he saw, so that’s promising!

    Also, Olive was in the books! She was the one that could float, and was younger like Brownyn is in the movie. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, thank you for reminding me about Olive! I wonder if she has Emma’s book power then? But I totally know what you’re saying about changing everything. For me the main example is the Divergent movies. I don’t recognize them AT ALL.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think she does have Emma’s power!

        And about the Divergent movies, I totally agree with you. Like, have you seen the Allegiant trailer where they look like they are floating around in bubbles?? Like, what even is that! 😛

        Liked by 1 person

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