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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Dallas Wiertella
Dallas Wiertella
Multimedia Editor

Through my experience here at the North Wind I have been able to have the privilege of highlighting students through all forms of multimedia journalism. Whether I'm in front or behind the camera, I aim...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Movies don’t capture books

When it comes to well-written books, movie adaptations simply cannot compare to the depth of tens of thousands of words on hundreds of pages.

If there’s a book I am interested in reading, like “The Help,” I will not watch the film prior to reading for a simple reason; it removes the personal interpretation from the book.

Creating images of the characters and settings in my head is part of the experience of reading. I’d much prefer that over imagining the actors and manufactured settings.

At least at the pace I read, books are a much deeper commitment than a two-hour movie. Things which are simply provided for moviegoers are slowly discovered when reading books.

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When comparing a book with a film, the latter just skims the surface of what readers know. The most recent example of this for me was “The Hunger Games.” I got the feeling that moviegoers were being cheated out of a connection to the characters and story.

After reading the book (twice), I saw how many memorable things were missing from the movie. Film adaptations often seemed stripped of emotion and replaced with action.

While it’s understandable that most viewers do not want to sit and listen to characters’ thoughts, they often reveal character motives. In turn, these motives often drive the plot of stories. Character thought fills many book pages, but is difficult to portray in films without getting too wordy.

“The Hunger Games” book was full of tension, personality and pain, and much of that was not portrayed in the film. The cast was chosen perfectly, but even that could not make the film live up to the emotion and suspense of the book.

The quality of movie adaptations varies across a wide spectrum. There are the exceptional adaptations, like “A Clockwork Orange” or “Forrest Gump.” There are some that match the level of the book; “Twilight” comes to mind.

Then, there are movies like “My Sister’s Keeper” that absolutely ruin the print version, removing the details that make a story what it is.

I do not want to spoil the ending for those interested in reading the book. But I will say the film does a better job than I could imagine of destroying an honest tear-jerker.

If an author is involved with the screenplay, actively picking out the vital parts and weeding out the unnecessary ones, it’s a promising sign. No one knows a story better than the one person who put all of their energy into it.

Readers will always go into film adaptations with high expectations, but it should not be assumed a movie will be identical to the book without it lasting several hours.

At the same time, movie producers should not change the story so drastically it’s unrecognizable without changing its title.

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