When creating a movie adaptation of a book, I find that the three most important things that I look for when comparing the movie and the book include: how well the key points of the plot were followed, the flow of the story line from one scene to another, and whether or not the characters look and behave in a manner similar to how they were written.  In my mind, the only reason a book should be adapted into a movie is to bring a story to life and enhance it further by adding some incite to the world/ environment that is being portrayed.  If, through the process of creating a movie, the storyline, flow, or characters takes a hit, then I believe that a person is better off simply reading the book.  A great example of an adaptation that missed the mark in plot, flow, and character development is the movie “Eragon,” adapted from the book “Eragon” of the Inheritance Series.  The Inheritance Series is a rather complex series of books that greatly depend on the proper portrayal and inclusion of all of the events and characters encountered within the series.  Its intricate weaving of characters and events makes every detail exceeding crucial to the flow of future events.  When making the movie, the director and producers cut so much of the plot and spent so little time on character development that the movie quickly became a confusing, tangled mess of events.  The lack of attention paid to details pertaining to character interactions, events, and logical flow made it so that another movie could not possibly be made from the second installment of the series and ultimately caused the movie to flop in the box office.  Adaptations of this manner are not successful, because they fail to meet the expectations of any fans, both readers and non-readers.

In contrast, the Harry Potter movies, by my standards, were exceptional adaptations of the books that they were adapted from (though some movies were substantially better than others).  Though only the first three movies stayed close to the plot of the books, enough of the major key plot points were pulled out of each of the other books for use in the movies that the absence of some points didn’t really affect the overall flow of the scenes.  For example, in the Goblet of Fire, each of the competitors had to face the sphinx with a riddle during their third task in the maze.  In the movie, the sphinx was completely removed as an obstacle in their course, but the plot was still able to easily move forward without that scene.  In other instances, throughout the series, some key scenes were completely removed, but incorporated into the movie, slightly altered, at another time.  For example, in book version of “The Sorcerer’s  Stone,” Harry and Hermione help Hagrid get rid of his dragon Norbert, before he could get into trouble, by sneaking it up to the top of the astronomy tower where a few friends of Charley Weasley’s whisked it away to Romania.  In the movie version, Dumbledore sends Hagrid’s dragon off to Romania after Draco Malfoy discovers Norbert in Hagrid’s hut.  Though this change in plot layout may have frustrated fans who have read the series, the new scene was easily able to convey the same key element, but in a more time efficient manner.   Additionally, although many of the secondary characters do not exactly look the way that they were described in the books, such as Dudley having brown hair instead of blond, their roles and mannerisms still hold true to that of the book when portrayed in the movie.  The reason this is acceptable is because although they look different, the similarities between the rest of the movie elements is so affective, that a person can easily forgive the difference as long as other important aspects remain the same.  It is also helpful that the critical main characters look and act nearly identical to their portrayal in the books.

In regard to my specifications for what makes a good adaptation, I believe that, while all of the movies were able to successfully bring the world of Harry Potter to life, the first three movies were much better than all of the rest in sticking to the books.  Other than a few minor scene alterations and a couple of clipped scenes, the plot, flow, characters, and even setting were reasonably similar.  However, as the books began getting longer, the quality of the movies in relation to its portrayal of the plot, flow and setting gradually decreased.  This can mainly be attributed to cost of production and time constraints.