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“AH! They’re making one of my favorite books into a movie!” I know I’ve joyfully screamed that phrase numerous time, sometimes accompanied by wild flailing.

After the excitement comes the fear, the worry … favorite characters, worlds, story … will I love it? Will it be what I want it to be?

And we begin pacing, chewing on our fingernails. What if it fails to impress?

I have heard so many people complain …

The movie wasn’t like the book.

Scenes were missing …

The story wasn’t right …

It just didn’t do a good job.

What were those movie people thinking?

I too am guilty of movie judging. And I can tell you the exact moment when I quit.

After seeing the movie ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’, I exited the theater so upset at all the things they changed. All the mistakes ran wild through my mind. During the movie I grumbled, pulling on my HP nerd power to figure out exactly which scenes they cut, how they totally messed up the story … and how this movie (because of a new director) looked so different from the first two.

And then later that evening, I wanted to slap myself. I had just ruined my HP movie experience with all my nerdiness. I had just sucked away all the joy I could have had sitting in that theater with my popcorn. I love Harry and all his gang. I love Hogwarts. What had I done?

That’s when I vowed to never judge a movie by the book, to accept the movie for what it is … an adaptation. And I have found a new love for movies that differ from the books that inspired them. I enjoy having a different experience with each.

Overall, the Harry Potter movies and books give us the same feelings, the same bigger picture, but separately they give us a little something different. If the two experiences were exactly the same … what would be the point?

The Last Unicorn movie had been one of my childhood favorites. Seriously, I had it memorized. Magic do your will!

Same with The Neverending Story. Atreyu!

So when I discovered the books as an adult I was really excited. The Neverending Story was so much more than the movie, which gave us one slice of that book. I was thrilled to read the rest!
The Last Unicorn, however, was exactly the same. Exactly. Hmmm. I was disappointed.

What’s wrong with changing the end of a book for a movie to surprise us? Knowing exactly what will happen is boring.

I flat out refused to see The Golden Compass movie because of my love for that series. I knew they couldn’t put in that movie what those books held. I did years later watch it and I enjoyed it for what it was, but no … they didn’t capture the essence of that book.

I love The Lord of the Rings … both versions, both experiences.

Now, The Hobbit had me confused. They reached the halfway point of the book in the first movie. How would they get two more movies out of the second half? By adding all sorts of scenes, by golly! Fun scenes. Action-packed scenes!

Well, okay then.

I think the Narnia movies took that series to a new level of cool. The books are fabulous, but as they are written for kids are fairly simple. The movies impressed me.

Percy Jackson … the books, the movies, it’s all fun.

If you’ve never read The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brain Selznik … read it. It’s just … well, read it. The movie? Hugo. Just as fabulous with a bit of added humor.

The Shining … Stephen King’s horrific tale is one of my favorite horror books. Everyone knows Jack Nicholson as Mr. Torrence, but that movie, as scary as it is, tumbles far from the book’s path. Even Stephen King was slightly disappointed enough to create a mini-series for TV, which follows the book well and is GREAT! I finally found it on DVD! Eeek!

I have read The Book Thief a couple of times. All the love for that story! I gifted a copy to my mom! It’s SO fabulous. So I bought the movie … and haven’t gotten the chance to watch it yet. So stay tuned for me hopefully screaming in joy with that experience. *crosses fingers*

And with the release of the movie Divergent, we face it again. No, I haven’t seen it, but I did like the book! But I plan on watching without dwelling on the book version.

Anyway, let’s not fight, kids. Let’s embrace all the different forms of the stories we love. We can all live happily.

Unless, well … poor acting, script writing … you know. Overlooking that might be difficult.

Forget, for a moment, of our need for everything to be perfect. It can’t be. As we do in life for EVERYTHING … people, jobs, relationships, accept things for what they are. Like it or don’t, but if we let go of all our high expectations for it to fill this mold in our heads, sometimes we might just find contentment.