They’ve deviated from their original stories.
I won’t spoil much in this post, but here’s the short version:
I'm happy that DreamWorks changed things so that I could witness the adorableness that is Toothless the Night Fury, and I'm equally happy about the fact that by changing things from the original "Walk Dead" comics, even things that have been spoiled for me in the original series may not actually matter as the writers go their own way and write a show meant to make our hearts pound from anxiety as we wonder who will die next during the end of days. Or, for an even simpler reason: my favorite character in "The Walking Dead" doesn't even exist in the comics!
This topic has come to my mind because in about a month, my Facebook activity feed will probably feature comments about how annoying it is that such and such deviated in some way from the main storyline in "The Walking Dead." But seriously: why do people insist that stories on TV be exactly the same as in the book counterparts?
This is ultimately where a lot of people and I disagree. Because, well, the way I see it is, I don’t want my movies and TV series to mirror my favorite books. I really don’t!
Consider these points (note: these points, like the rest of the post, are a matter of opinion; I’m sure people will have different reasons and examples to agree and disagree, and that’s ok! But the following are simply examples of why I feel the way I do on this matter):
- If I’m going to watch a movie or a TV show, I want to see something new, and something exciting. If, in theory, I had read the “The Walking Dead” comic books, and the TV show played out exactly the same way as those comic books, I bet I would get very bored, very quickly. Why? I already know what’s going to happen. The best part about a movie or a TV show is the suspense and the sense of the unknown. Trying to bring a book to life word for word and action for action ultimately eliminates that. A good example of this? “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo.” Boy, was I bored seeing that movie…because I knew exactly what was happening, in advance, and just didn’t care. "The Watchmen" was even worse, since it basically mirrored its comic book material page for page and made me wonder why I paid to see something I had already seen (literally). Sure, strong scripts and actors can make good stories enjoyable even when they’re predictable…but ultimately and generally speaking, I won’t waste my time watching a story I’ve already experienced elsewhere.
- Different mediums often mean the same story simply can’t be told the same way. For more on this, check out this article about why books are always better than movies. For an example from my experience, well: look at “The Hunger Games." While I personally enjoyed the movie, ultimately, the film was made in a way that really appealed to fans and fans alone. I went to that movie when it came out with a fellow fan of the books and someone who had never read them. My one friend and I left fairly happy and content. My second friend spent the entire bus ride home asking questions about the film. By trying to stick as close to the story as possible, without considering how things would get lost thanks to the differences in storytelling, the director of that film ultimately alienated a chunk of his audience. A few changes may have improved people's viewing experiences quite a bit.
- Sometimes, things just need to be improved on - and not just because the story is being told in a new medium. I’m not saying they always do; and for the record, I’m not advocating that directors change an entire classic story when they make a film (“The Lord of the Rings” is a good example of balancing the need to make changes with sticking close to the original material). But, well, sometimes things just need to be changed. My example for this one is a recent one: I really, really did enjoy “The Hobbit” for its changes when it came to theaters last month. I hate that book. I do! It’s just dull, dull, dull; I prefer the style of and epic story in The Lord of the Rings. The chance to see films that mirror that more enjoyable style is an exciting prospect for me, and so far during Jackson's new trilogy, I’m not disappointed.
I will say in conclusion that this is one of those things that really comes down to personal preferences. But at the end of the day, when it comes to movies and TV shows based on books, I will not (usually) be that person going, “But they changed that and this and…” Because really, what I care about is the individual story I’m given, and how much I enjoy it at the time.
I enjoyed “How To Train Your Dragon.” And “The Hobbit.” And “The Lord of the Rings.” The list of movies I’ve enjoyed that deviated from original source material goes on and on. The list of movies I enjoyed that did not deviate from their original materials is much, much shorter.
It’s ultimately not about accuracy; it’s about good story telling. Get that down, and people like me will sit back and enjoy – and for us, having more than one story to enjoy about our favorite characters just makes life all the better.