Original Posts

stopcomparing

Not “The Next” Anything: Why Stories Should Be Able To Stand On Their Own

Whenever a new young adult book-to-movie adaptation is about to be released, it is always measured against it’s predecessors and that is often frustrating and a big issue for fans of the books. Of course, these comparisons can be fair because sometimes the stories have certain similarities that would make one draw that conclusion. However, these stories are their own individual piece of work and should be allowed to “stand on their own,” so to speak.

For instance, when The Hunger Games was going to be released, many people claimed that it would be “the new Twilight.” The major issue in that statement is that Twilight and The Hunger Games are two completely different stories that provide readers with extremely different messages. Twilight has messages about love, family, and the importance of relationships, whereas Hunger Games has messages about war, resistance, personal strength, and autonomy. Twilight also heavily focuses on the love triangle and Bella needing to be in a relationship to feel fulfilled and happy. The Hunger Games also has a love triangle, but it is not a main focus of the narrative and Katniss does not need a relationship to be happy or to feel fulfilled. Katniss is almost always confused about her feelings and can be very aloof towards both Gale and Peeta.

katniss

Once again, when Divergent was going to be released it was being compared to several of its predecessors such as The Mortal Instruments, Twilight, and The Hunger Games. These comparisons were mainly based on how the film might do in the box office, but it was still also a commentary on the stories. Many people do not support Mortal Instruments because it began as Harry Potter fan fiction and they feel that the story was not very strong. However, the story is still unique and adds another complicated universe to the young adult world. Mortal Instruments’ poor box office performance, followed by several other poor YA box office debuts, made the industry doubt Divergent and the potential it had to do well. Personally, I believe that there should have been no doubt that Divergent would do well as it is a strong and intriguing story and the cast behind it was going to draw audiences in. As Tris says: “You really need to stop underestimating my character.”

Unlike The Mortal Instruments, Twilight, and The Hunger Games there is no love triangle in Divergent and the main romantic relationship is between Tris and Four alone. Yes, Divergent is similar to The Hunger Games in the sense that they are both set in a dystopian world with a corrupt government and there is a strong female protagonist, but that is where the similarities end. Divergent has messages of bravery, selflessness, and not being defined by a system. Tris also has to train, both physically and mentally, to truly become Dauntless and she undergoes a strong character transformation in which she finds who she is a person.

Film Review Divergent

John Green’s The Fault in Our Stars has been measured against A Walk to Remember and Gayle Forman’s If I Stay, which is the comparison that inspired this piece to begin with. Seeing an article calling If I Stay “the next The Fault in Our Stars is just too much – neither of the films have even hit theaters yet! It’s getting ridiculous. Especially since If I Stay actually was published before The Fault in Our Stars. All three of these stories are amazing in their own way and, once again, provide the readers with very different messages. The only major similarities between these stories are the personal tragedies and romantic relationships involved.

A Walk to Remember and The Fault in Our Stars both involve cancer and a romantic relationship, yes, but that does not make it the same kind of story. In A Walk to Remember, only Jamie has cancer and Landon tries to make her bucket list come true and supports her through that journey. In The Fault in Our Stars, both Hazel and Augustus have struggled and are struggling with cancer and relate to each other in that way. A Walk to Remember has beautiful messages about accepting love, always being there for your significant other, and staying strong through difficult times. The Fault in Our Stars has equally beautiful messages of not being defined by an illness or disability, accepting reality, living life to the fullest, opening your heart to others, and the importance of friendship.

NEWTFIOS

Saying that If I Stay is going to be the new Fault in Our Stars is like comparing apples and oranges. As I mentioned, yes, they both have personal tragedy and romantic relationships involved. Here in lies the problem, If I Stay involves a car accident, Mia losing her family, and her trying to come out of a coma. Mia has to decide if it is worth it to stay alive after she realizes everything that she has lost. Apart from being in a coma Mia, or anyone else in the story, does not have any major physical disabilities. In The Fault in Our Stars, struggling with physical disabilities is a major part of the story. If I Stay has very unique and interesting messages about, re-defining the meaning of family and staying strong not only for yourself, but for those who love you as well. The Fault in Our Stars shows that it is perfectly acceptable to be afraid and you don’t always have to be stoic when dealing with hardships.

These are just a few examples of the situation that is present in the book-to-movie industry. The messages that the author and the filmmakers are trying to present are often very different. Even though the stories may have similarities and be within the same genre, they should be allowed to stand on their own and should not be measured up to their predecessors.


What do you think of this trend of comparing new YA films to whatever came before?


Yaunna is a 20 year old, full-time Journalism and Communications student from British Columbia, Canada. Although she lives in Canada now, she was born in Portland and has been raised up and down the West Coast of North America. She has a love for all things entertainment and runs her own site called TrulyLuminary. She considers herself to be a Nerdfighter, Muggle, Tribute, and an Initiate. When she isn’t blogging she helps take care of her naughty kitties Eskimo and Nuit and her beagle Lila. One day, she wants to be a professional entertainment journalist and she loves writing for Page to Premiere.


  • Misty

    *High five* I agree with everything you said.

  • Bess

    I totally agree. I’m sick of this when some people compare these movies. Yeah, there are some similarities between the YA book adaptions since they are based on the teenager problems such as a love triangle but this way we can say that the Need for speed is the next Fast and Furious. But no one says this, unfortunately…

  • Scarlett Herrera

    very good! “Stop the Comparisons” :) THG,Divergent,The Mortal Instruments,Twilight,TFIOS,… are different but amazing histories and not deserve be compared.

  • Allison Joy Stricklin

    Stop the comparisons. Let each story shine on it’s own.

  • Jeremy Chenevert

    I couldn’t agree more people really need to stop the compares.

  • Elizabeth Loch

    Fully agree. Great article!

  • Em1059

    I 100 % agree , this comparisons stuff should stop but it wont, unfortunately we¨ll see more of this with others YA book to movie adaptations that are coming just because they´re based on YA books :(

  • http://twitter.com/iceymoon iceymoon

    Most of the time (i.e. there have definitely been some times when they do), they don’t seem to be comparing the stories.. they are comparing the hype, the book origin, the fact that it is a series, the target audience, and the potential.

    That being said, I still think it’s harmful to make these comparisons. The only pro is that it gives people that are unfamiliar with the story/property an immediate reference so they can have rough sense of what category it falls under. The cons, on the other hand, are many – annoying fans, encouraging assumptions about the story/series, pigeonholing things that may otherwise have broader appeal, lighting a fire in the type of people who get easily annoyed by trends, sounding uninformed, reinforcing the idea of pop culture journalism being a joke, etc.

    It’s not like the world is Twitter where you only have 140 characters to covey something.. most media coverage goes on to reiterate what is established by the comparison to begin with anyway (based on a series of books with a large young adult following, etc), so why summarize it in the laziest and least informative way possible?

  • Karmen Mayte

    Vampire Academy is the worst in this case. The only compared to Twilight vampires, comparing it to Harry Potter because it goes into a place like Hogwarts and do magic.

    We are the worst not carry, thanks to the stupid stereotypes of Hollywood -. -

  • LivinginaDystopianWorld

    Then when THE 5th WAVE would be released it would be – “the NEXT DIVERGENT” and if LEGEND would be released it would be “the NEXT 5th WAVE”…. I mean the only have the same genre that is [DYSTOPIAN] with a kickass female characters…. Please stop comparing them for they have a unique plot or story

  • Chela Masen

    Yes! Thank you for this article I completely agree. Personally, I think the comparisons often hurt the new YA movies because people who disliked any of the previously released YA based movies might disregard a good story without giving it a chance. I feel like YA movies automatically become guilty by association, and it’s a shame.

  • Sana

    I’ve been waiting a long time for someone to say this. Thank you!

  • Donna Ling

    I mean it’s annoying, and sometimes a completely arbitrary comparison, but it’s a marketing tool, and I think you have to see it as such (and just ignore it).