Extended Book Trailers

I don’t remember what provoked it (it may have been finally seeing The Hunger Games), but I’ve decided to start calling movie and television adaptations of books “extended book trailers”.  I know that book trailers themselves have been around for a while, giving upcoming books a little movie trailer boost in their marketing.

But in this day and age, when people are more likely to hear of a book and then wait for the inevitable movie or television series to come out, movies have effectively become highlight reels or really long movie trailers advertising the books they’re based on. But that got me to thinking. There have been many cases where I have loved the book and felt the movie fell flat. For example, I have strong issues with some of the Harry Potter movies (mostly everything in the middle, although they all really had their own issues). The books handed us this richly developed world, with all sorts of interlinked side stories that not only fleshed out the world but set up later plot points, and the movies focused on a single strand through the books (or, in one case, focused on the director wanting to put his own personal stamp on the Harry Potter world to the general detriment of the story he was supposed to be telling).

But there are also cases where I would never have watched the movie or television series if I had read the accompanying book(s) first. My favorite example of this is Pretty Little Liars, which I watch faithfully even though I stopped reading the series after Book 8 (and getting through Books 6-8 was painful). I found those books sleepy and predictable, and am grateful the show’s writers aren’t following the books and are having a little fun twisting things back and forth (sometimes ad nauseum). It is fun, though, to follow discussions on the show where readers are still trying to map events and major plot points from the books onto the show. It shows just how invested people really get in seeing a favorite story in more than one medium.

How do you guys feel about this trend of adapting books to movie or television? Do you read something and then hope it does or doesn’t get turned into something suited to a screen? Have you ever watched something based on a book and had it inspire you to seek out the book itself?

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