Anonymous asked in Arts & HumanitiesBooks & Authors · 1 decade ago

"If it's been made into a movie you know it's good." True or False?

Define "good." And what are your reasons for thinking it's either true or false?

I just read that phrase in a question, and I thought it was an interesting statement. Does it imply that film making is a higher art form, or that it appeals to a lower common denominator? What do you think?

17 Answers

  • ck1
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer


    The definition of good in that statement merely means the book has some sort of popular appeal. Even to me, coming from the reader's not the critic's point of view, this does not necessarily equate with a "good" book. It's made into a movie because the producer believes it will make money. Popularity does not determine whether or not the story is well written. A certain segment of society is attracted to the story for one reason or another and will most likely spend the money to sit in a theater and watch an adaptation.

    Words have meaning and, unfortunately, implicit in that statement is that the making of films is a higher art form than the writing of books. It may not have been meant that way, but it is what a reader would get out of the statement (or, at least, this reader). If you say a movie must be good because it was taken from book x, the book is placed on the higher ground. To say a book must be good because it was made into a movie, makes the movie the determining factor and, thus, the higher art form.

    Actually, there are two different art forms present here. Just because the one is good does not make the other automatically good as well. If I write a novel based on a famous work of art, will it be a given that my book is good? Not even close. You can't make that determination when comparing two different art forms. You can't even come to that conclusion when comparing two different books written by the same person, in my opinion.

    Once again I'm all over the place (I may edit this when I'm not so tired), but though the implication is film making is the higher art form, that statement actually tells me it appeals to the lower common denominator. Those who don't want to read may watch a movie based on a popular book. It gives instant gratification which a book is unable to provide.

    Perhaps what it comes down to is you can't judge a book by its movie and you can't judge a movie by its book. They are two, independent, art forms which stand, or fall, alone. ***To put it another way, you can't determine the quality of a book based on the quality of the movie adaptation. A book's value is entirely separate from a movie's. Truly a book is neither more nor less estimable because there is a movie adaptation.

    I will say that once they do adapt what I consider to be a good book, I have a tendency to judge the movie based on how faithful it was to that book. Since this may be somewhat unfair, I try to divide my judgment into two parts: 1-is the movie a sound adaptation of said book, 2-is the movie skillfully done.

  • 1 decade ago

    A book that's "good" enough to be made into a movie is popular and well-known. I don't think they would make a movie on a book that isn't New York Times Bestseller. They could be classics like Jane Eyre or just fads like Twilight. Either way, they very rarely make good adaptations of the novels.

    When you write a novel, it's written in blood, sweat and tears. With writing you create, with filming you're just changing the story to a different media. I'm sure it's hard work, but it's just not the same as writing a novel. Then again it's all pretty subjective. I mean, Pan's Labyrinth was awesome and that has blood, sweat and tears written all over it.

  • 1 decade ago

    Not necessarily. You can make a good movie from a bad book, if it's a fresh work of art and addresses what a movie should address -- the real theatre -- the one in the viewer's mind. If the statement is real, and the art and craft are both there, the movie can make it even if the book does not.

    In the case of good books that have been made into movies, almost always the book is much better. Exceptions are "Shane" and "The Old Man and the Sea", with Spencer Tracy. Often Hollywood will actually savage a significant book, which it did with both "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and "Lord of the Flies". An author should have creative control on the movie, but once he's sold the rights to a publisher, he's up the creek.

    Many shoddy movies have been made simply from following the book too slavishly, instead of creating fresh art. "There Will Be Blood" suffered from this, and had coherency gaps because of it.

    I guess it's good if it makes a statement and captivates yuh.

  • 1 decade ago


    Just cause it's been made into a movie doesn't mean that's it's good. I guess you could say using similar logic is that if it's had a sequel then you know it must be good.

    There are so many movies with sequels, and I think that the original was pretty lame.

    I think if it's been made into a film, then it means that either a) the director and people involved really liked the story, or b) they thought it'd make money.

    I mean, I've read many books that I've not really liked and then they are made into movies.

    But then again, maybe what I think is good, isn't what other people consider it to be.

  • How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer.
  • 1 decade ago

    False. It's not necessarily true.

    Movies and books are such different forms of art. They both appeal to different audiences. If a book is made into a movie, it really only means that it will greatly appeal to people *on screen* because it has that type of story. Some books should never have been made into movies, simply because they didn't have the right type of story. The Golden Compass, for example. There's way too much information that needs to be given to the audience on screen for it to be a good movie. There was just not enough entertainment for it to be a good movie; the graphics were great, but other than that it was bad. But as a book, The Golden Compass is fantastic.

    The most obvious example of why that statement is false is Twilight by Stephenie Meyer. It's technically a horrible book and I'm not sure how they're going to make Bella's trip to Italy in New Moon look realistic, let alone cover up the numerous plot holes for the rest of the books. But the general story is one that looks lovely on screen. (Or so I'm told; I never actually saw the movie.)

    I think that the statement implies that the novel which will be turned into a movie is that good- that it can appeal to readers as well as movie-goers. I don't think it's really saying anything about film-making.

    But while we're on the topic: I've always thought that book-based movies are rather underappreciated. Some are downright terrible (like Eragon and The Golden Compass) but others really aren't, like the Harry Potters and the new Pride and Prejudice. I don't think people realize how much of a challenge these particular movie makers have; the ones who want to make a book into a movie, I mean. They have to make sure that their movie will appeal to those thousands who are already in love with the book and those who probably have never heard of the book, let alone read it.

    And when you look at Harry Potter and P&P that way, they're fantastic movies, at least for me. I can watch any of these movies over and over (I actually watched P&P last night) and still enjoy it. That, by itself, is a major accomplishment of movie makers. But they both also capture the essence of the novels of which they were based off very well. Obviously, they won't be exactly the same. But people need to remember that they *are* different mediums of art, and there are things that will have to be compromised when a book is made into a movie.

    That said, I don't really mind seeing a movie before I read the book. My preference *is* to read the book first, but it isn't the end of the world if I don't.

    Sorry for going so off-topic :)

  • 1 decade ago

    My oppinion: Im going to say false because in almost every case the book is better than the movie, so making something awesome (the book) into something worse (the movie) doesn't make it sound good.

    As for the statement itself, I think that the person who thought of this said it because a movie is really expensive to make. Movies cost a lot more, actors and actresses have to be hired, makeup artists, camera people, all the people in the credits are involed. In books however, there is the author and publisher and editior, probably some others but not near the amount of time and money in movies.

    Anyway with that said, I think they would think that someone wouldn't waste thier money on a book being turned into a movie unless they thought it was good, but people always have different oppionions.

    I think the person who said the statement did think that a film was a higher art form which is very sad because i completely disagree with that.

    Ummm yep I think I rambled way too much and I lost my train of thought so I'll be done now.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    False: The Bourne Identity was an absolute atrocity. There were so many things eliminated from the general aspect of the movie, and I was disappointed with the movie at the very beginning.

    Native Son was an awesome novel, but an obscene movie. Again, the vital aspects of the movie, which gave impetus to the film was eliminated.

    In essence, novels to movies never make an auspicious transition--reading has a sense of magic that movies cannot use.

    And don't get me wrong, because movies are awesome to watch, but it takes a bit more intelligence to enjoy a great book. Movies are popular because it doesn't take much to enjoy them--not much thinking required, and inevitably many people do not like to "think" often.

    This is also why the performance of the economy is performing inauspiciously.

  • 1 decade ago

    It can be either true or false.


    To make a movie based on a novel/book it is very risky -it will be constantly compared to the book it is based on. To impress the public it will have to be an expensive movie and I think no one will get into this if they think that the book isn't good enough to make a movie that will bring them profit.

    If a book is the base of a film you can trust that if it isn't a good book ( meaning challenging ) at least is interesting.


    Many movies are based on books that are already successfull when the movie appers -so they can get advantage of the popularity of the book and also they wouldn't risk making a movie out of an unknown book. And many books that are not 'famous' are much better/clever than those that are.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Since i just wrote this in an answer, i'd have to say true, but let me clarify. A producer wouldn't produce a film based on a book that no one liked or read. And to be a popular book it must appeal in some way to its target audience. Most books that are made into films are bestsellers, classics or very popular, so it stands to reason that by producing a movie based on popular book your movie will hit box office gold, as the fans of the book (and just to clarify: if the book has fans then its a good least for those people) will want to come see it.

    But i really think it comes down to each his own. While i thought the Twilight movie was terrible, i might get thumbs down from those who thought it was great. Its really a matter of personal opinion.

  • 1 decade ago


    Something that's been made into a movie doesn't necessarily mean it's good. It just means they believe it will do well at the box office and will get a lot of hype. As I'm sure we've had plenty of evidence that people get hyped up about a lot of rubbish-quality stuff.

Still have questions? Get your answers by asking now.