There is only one true constant in this life: if a book makes any amount of money, Hollywood will try to make a movie of it (or, at the very least, a Netflix original series).
Now, I have nothing against movies — I'm total Star Wars trash, and I've seen at least two of the Oscar nominations for this year (Star Wars was nominated, right?). But it's a different story when the news breaks that one of your favorite books is about to get the big-screen treatment. First, there's the excitement. They're making a movie of that book that you love! You're going to get to hang out with all of your favorite characters in a darkened room while eating popcorn! Then, there's the fear and the slight nausea. Because what if they make a movie of your fave and it's bad? What if they cast all the racially ambiguous characters as white and give all of Ron's best lines to Hermione?
It's a risky situation. I mean, a lot of authors have been bitterly disappointed by adaptations of their own work: Roald Dahl thought that the original Charlie and the Chocolate Factory movie was "crummy," and P.L. Travers cried all through the premiere of Disney's Mary Poppins.
But what are you going to do? Not watch the film adaptation of your favorite book? Since you have no choice but to sit through the screening, good or bad, here are some thoughts that will probably run through your head:
1. The Movie Hasn't Started Yet... I Could Still Leave Now
Whether it's a midnight premiere and you're dressed like a wizard, or it's an afternoon showing and you're trying to avoid the crowds, there's always that moment when the lights dim and you realize that you could just leave now if you wanted to. You could just avoid all the emotional upheaval of watching a movie of your favorite book (am I right, Percy Jackson fans?). But... then the trailers start, and you're stuck there, for better of for worse.
2. There Are Like 10 Trailers For Other Book Adaptations Before This Movie Even Starts
WHY? I mean, yes, great, it's good that so many people are paying attention to books and giving authors money and putting their stories on the big screen... but this just means that you'll have to keep going through this process over and over again. But it also means that you're getting EXTREMELY HYPED UP, and the movie hasn't even started yet. Oh boy.
3. I’m So Excited And Also Scared
HERE WE GO. Here come the opening titles. Remember to breathe. And to pace your popcorn inhalation so you don't choke. How did the book start? What was the first line? Has the movie strayed from the opening paragraph in any way yet? I'm watching you, movie. All good so far, but if this movie puts one toe out of line I'm going to LOSE it.
4. UM, Is That Actor Supposed To Be The Main Character?
OK, you already knew all the casting. You've been keeping up with all the casting news on this project, from the big name stars down to your favorite tertiary character's love interest. So you already knew that this particular actor would be playing the main character. But actually seeing it is a whole different ballgame. They either look SO PERFECT for the role that you begin weeping in relief, or they look SLIGHTLY DIFFERENT than how you imagined them, and now you're suspicious of this whole "film" thing as a medium.
5. Why Did That One Character Get Cut Out?
Um, excuse you, movie, but Dobby gives Harry the gillyweed?? Not Neville? What is happening? Minor characters are always the first to be sacrificed to the Hollywood gods. And on some level, you understand that a two-hour movie can't include every scene and beloved character from a 700-page book. But you also suspect that someone in some office somewhere in California has it out for your favorite supporting characters.
6. Why Did That Other Character Get Written In?
Wait, but who's this clown? They're cutting out your favorite character and adding in some stranger? Um? But? Why? Yes, OK, sometimes it makes sense for a film adaptation to add in a character to bridge gaps in the plot, or to improve the gender balance of the movie (but like, please just adapt more movies from books with interesting female leads instead). And then other times someone has added a random character because they're trying to shoehorn a love story into The Hobbit for no discernible reason.
7. This Scene Wasn’t In The Book At ALL
Ditto with this scene. This scene was not in the book. It was not even a little bit in the book. Did the director of the movie actually read the book? Have they ever read a book before? Are they even literate? Because if they were, they would understand that it's super weird for a fan of the book to watch the characters they know and love doing things that they would never, ever do (looking at you, seasons 2 through 5 of Game of Thrones).
8. Ohhhh, I See What They Did There
Oh, wait, OK. Suddenly you see why they switched those two scenes around. Hey, this director might actually have read the book! You... you might even be having a good time right now! This is fun! They kept in your favorite scene! And they kept that one great line that that one character says! Maybe everything is going to be OK!
9. Huh… That’s A Choice
Hmmm... OK, they're not ruining the book, but it's maybe not exactly the way you want it to be... that one actor is totally miscast, and that one scene is supposed to take place in the castle and not in the forest, and those two characters shouldn't kiss until after the scene with the anti-gravity potion... but, all things considered, you don't want to run out of the theater screaming (not yet, anyway).
10. OK, This Actor Isn’t Total Garbage
OK, you can work with this. There is at least one actor who is absolutely PERFECT for their role (we miss you, Alan Rickman), and there is at least one lead character who's doing a solid job. You're going to stop waiting for them to mess up, and maybe even try to sit back and enjoy the movie. After all... you're still a little bit excited that they made a movie out of your favorite book.
11. I LOVE THIS
BOOKS ARE GREAT, MOVIES ARE GREAT, YOU'RE UN-IRONICALLY ENTHUSIASTIC ABOUT THIS EXPERIENCE RIGHT NOW. Who cares if the costumes are slightly off and the CGI looks meh and the love story is getting too much screen time? You're going to squeeze some enjoyment out of this, damn it, because you love the book and you've already paid for these movie tickets.
12. I Hate This
Ughhh this is awful, why did you subject yourself to this. You already cried at the book, and now you're crying at the movie (although if you went to see The Fault in Our Stars, you already knew what you were signing up for). Everything is garbage. Movies are terrible. Books are terrible. They make you have so many feelings. And good or bad, this movie is reminding you just how many FEELINGS you have for this book, which is why you're sniffling into an empty popcorn bag.
13. I’m Going To Go Reread This Book
And possibly force everyone else who's seen the movie to read the book as well. Because no matter how perfect or decent or hilariously bad the film adaptation is, it'll never compare to the book. That book was your first love, and you're not about to toss it aside. You can still love the movie (or you can very easily hate the movie), but either way, you're sure to leave the theater reminiscing about that first read. Lucky for you, there's always rereading (and you'd better get on it before the sequel hits theaters next summer).
Images: Warner Bros., Giphy (13)