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Why Hollywood cannot replace Literature

Updated: Jan 31

When a novel is adapted to the silver screen, stories can tend to lose the certain "magic" that drew people to them in the first place as certain elements are cut from the original work. To get students more interested in the wellness benefits of putting down the screen and picking up the page, we asked Carlson students about some of their favorite novels adapted into film.

Books in a row, spine side up, sitting on a shelf

Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Rodrick Rules

Diary of a Wimpy Kid - Rodrick Rules book cover

The Diary of a Wimpy Kid series is a staple to everyone’s childhood. Rodrick Rules especially, is an iconic favorite to those who were a fan of the series. The movie did a decent job of portraying the book, by showcasing the drawn characters into scenes of the movie and replicating the chaotic memorable scenes from the book. Although, anyone who has read the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series would understand the importance of the illustrations of the book. The illustrations and first person perspective give the book a quirk that really can’t be replicated in a movie. When watching the movie, it’s difficult to grasp each character excluding Rodrick, Greg, and Rowley. It’s something about the stick figures with only a few lines to represent hair, and the constant slight frown that adds quirkiness to every character and overall makes the book itself a unique read. The Diary of a Wimpy Kid movie isn’t a bad watch at all. But it’s only worth it if you’ve read the book itself and understand the love for the book before watching it play in live action.

- Hillary Pham

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes

The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes book cover

“The Ballad of Songbirds and Snakes”, written by Suzanne Collins, tells a compelling story set in the Hunger Games universe about the beginnings of President Snow and how he became the villain we know today. This book particularly excels compared to its recently released film adaption. It explores Snow’s motivations, thoughts, and morals, offering readers a deeper and more thorough understanding of his character, in which movies tend to struggle with capturing these key details.

I read the book a few weeks before the film hit the theaters, so I was able to properly compare the two. I found the books use of internal monologues gave readers the opportunity to connect with and understand the characters, providing a sense of empathy. While I found the movie did a great job of capturing the entirely of the books plot, I thought it went on very long and therefore lacked more intricate details relating to these monologues. Overall, the depth of the book and narrative nuances significantly contribute to its supremacy over its movie adaptation.

- Marie Gardien

Ready Player One

Ready Player One book cover

If you are looking for a thrilling sci fi adventure steeped in 80s nostalgia, look no further than the world of Ready Player One. This novel by Ernest Cline takes readers on an epic easter egg hunt for fame and money in an extremely desolate dystopian United States. Except that this hunt doesn’t take part in the wasteland that humanity created for itself but in a virtual world that most of humanities interactions take place in, named The Oasis. 


I was excited to see one of my favorite novels get adapted by Steven Spielberg and am putting it lightly when I say that I was let down. The movie does not feel dystopian enough. The technology present in Ernest Cline’s universe is advanced and The Oasis is a fantastical place, but the novel always makes sure to make the protagonist, and by extension the reader, feel like we are fighting an uphill battle. The movie is more lighthearted and better enjoyed as its own standalone piece of sci fi media as it changes so many key aspects of the story.


Ernest Cline’s novel makes the protagonist, Wade, and all other “normal people” of The Oasis come off as battered down, almost even hopeless in the face of the bleak capitalistic future that the world has become. This initial struggle and bleak outlook are what makes Wade’s journey to finding the final prize against all odds a truly memorable one to teen and young adult readers alike.

- Zachary South

The Iliad

The Iliad book cover

There are some stories that must be read to be educational and for sure ancient literature has to be mentioned. It’s impossible to develop a masterpiece like “Iliade” in a movie and it’s impossible to convey the magnitude of what is written. Low authority of a movie like this can compromise the size of such an huge work. One of the most important event in the history as the “Trojan War” cannot be minimized to what’s in the film. Differently, it has to go through every single detail to be understood at all.

Words steeped in multiple meanings, verses full of theatrical musicality and modernity of covered topics should be read to revamp love for reading in our generation. Put down the screen and any device, just pick up a book of this level and you are gonna appreciate how one hour more reading could be much better than one hour more on social media.

- Luca Salvatore Alborino


Hopefully this list acts as an inspiration to go out and find more stories that Hollywood didn't get quite right and to Put Down the Screen and Pick up the Page!


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