I have mentioned before on NerdMerge and in our podcast multiple times that I spend my days as a teacher of English at a rural high school. This position allows me to come face to face with many of those, “The movie is better than the book” people. You guys know what I’m talking about. Sometimes, it is difficult for those of us who are fans of source material, any source material, to reconcile our own fandom with whatever film or television show that Hollywood turns out. Here’s my opinion on it: Why does it matter?
I like to try to convince myself to look at any adaptation as a different entity than the source material. As a lifelong reader and lover of books I have had to do this many, many times. The movie It is a great film, with Tim Curry galavanting about as a killer clown with a sick sense of humor. However, the film is entirely different than the novel, and for good reason. The novel included several scenes and themes that would not have flown on the screen a few years back. I get that. That’s why I don’t try to substitute watching the movie for reading the book. It just doesn’t work.
A few years ago, I got into an argument with a college buddy about the DiCaprio movie The Great Gatsby. He was upset because of the musical selection in the film, stating largely that it was not in agreement with the music of the time period. My response was, “So what?” Yes, it is a great book, probably one of the greatest in the entire canon of American literature. However, the movie was also, and for different reasons, equally great. It was, all in all, a fairly good adaptation of the source material. What was more important, at least to me, was the fact that it got a new generation of readers involved in the book and wanting to pick it up and read it. That is, in and of itself, pretty important.
I suppose it’s different with comics. I’ve heard many lamentations from folks who have read one particular comic their entire lives who wail and screech when a new movie adaptation comes out. I guess I understand that logic, but, again, just repeat a mantra to yourself and you’ll be fine. “It’s a completely different thing. It’s a completely different thing. It’s a completely different thing.” You’ll be A-Okay in no time, trust me.
As someone once said, “There is nothing new under the sun.” They’re going to keep adapting our favorite stories over and over and over again. There is a new It movie in the works as we speak, and I’m, quite frankly, excited for it. Yes, I might end up hating it. That, however, is not going to change my feelings for the story as a whole. I might dislike it, but I won’t dislike the original novel or the first film adaptation. It’s a completely different thing. I’m cool with that.