Monday, May 17, 2010

Musing Monday...The Tarnished Silver Screen?

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about movies based on books…

What happens when you see a movie based on a book/story, especially one you’ve not read? Do you feel the need to track it down and read it?

Awww...the classic book vs. movie question.
Ok, let's be honest here folks. The book is always better than the movie.

Now, I admit I may be wrong. I thought and I thought (for a minute or two) and I could not come up with a case where the movie was better than the book, but if you have a suggestion, please, speak up.

Books can just contain so, so much more than a movie. Descriptions of setting, exploration of characters, emotions, motivations, thoughts can all be present in a book, but because of the very limits of time, are often only hinted at in the movie.
Now don't get me wrong. I love movies and will go to see movie based on a book, but if I have read the book, I admit I do it with a bit of fear. The recent case of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo is a perfect example. Loved the book, could not think the movie would ever live up to the book. And while the movie was quite good and I enjoyed it, honestly, it was no contest with the book.

Now, what if I see a movie based on a book, a book I have not read. Do I then want to read it? Yes, I have done that in the past. It is my preferred order, movie then book. The other way is often going to lead to disappointment in my experience. But if you love a movie, the book will only add more to the story in the vast majority of cases. I do not have the best imagination and sometimes, I like being able to picture things in the movie as I read the book. You can take the best of the movie, the visual material about the setting and the characters, and add that to the interior information the book supplies and that is a good thing.

Of course, then there is the all too common situation where the movie folks change things, very important things, from the book. I admit it, that drives me crazy. Move the setting from Iceland to a tropical jungle. Cast the scary hag as a beautiful, big name actress....That sort of thing is just totally unacceptable and makes me want to scream.
Unless you are in a scary horror movie, they don't really seem to encourage screaming in a movie theater.

Do you have a favorite movie/book combination? Maybe a great, beloved book that you found by seeing the movie first.
Or do you have one where you thought the movie was actually better than the book? That I would really like to hear about!

As is true every Monday, Musing Monday is hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page.... Be sure to head over there and check out some of the other answers to this weeks question.


  1. I think you meant to say the book is always better than the movie?!? From the rest of your post...

    Which I agree with, btw ;)


  2. On my did I screw that up? lol
    Thanks Dana, for pointing that out and allowing me to fix it. I swear, I need an editor to pre-read this stuff.

  3. I almost jumped out of my skin when I read "the movie is always better than the book"! Then I realized you were kidding! We have this discussion in our house frequently. Two movies that were equally as good as the book (but not better) were The Shining and Gone with the Wind.

    I had a situation a few months ago where I finally read A Little Princess, but have been watching and re-watching the movie for years and is a favorite. Until I saw what they had done to the plot, then I freaked out. Boy was I mad.

  4. haha I actually do have an example of a movie that is better than the book. Forrest Gump. I love, love the movie and I actually saw the movie first because it wasn't until recently that I even knew the book existed. The book is awful. It's so strange and off the wall. The movie is a million times better.

    I also think A walk to Remember is better in movie form but I'm a not a huge Nicholas Spark's fan (except for this one) so I may be biased on that one.

    However, to counter your point (which is something I hadn't ever really thought about) there are some movies where I don't want their visuals because it messes up what I've imagined. An example Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code and Angel and Demons. I do not picture Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon, I think it was an awful casting choice, so I'm glad I read the books first and wasn't stuck visioning Tom Hanks while reading.

  5. Sandy, it was a shocking typo. since corrected.
    that is what I get for typing pre-caffine.

    sadie, I can't say about Gump, because I didn't know it was a book either. Awful you say...well, just goes to show no one, even I, am not always right!
    Sparks...I am not a fan of his books really, so I don't search out he movies either.

    But as to you last point, see that is another advantage of seeing the movie first. As I said, you can take the best of the movie to the book.....but if the movie folk have screwed it up, as they often do, you can just ignore it and let the beauty of the book wash the images away.

  6. I agree with Gump - terrible book.

    I also - and I know some people think this is blasphemous - prefer the Lord of the Ring movies to the books, especially #2. They're like what would have happened if an aggressive editor had gone after the books. And in my opinion, the books dragged out way to long.

    But generally, yes, I prefer the book to the movie.

  7. Oh my gosh, I was all ready to say Forrest Gump and I see Sadie beat me to it.

  8. I usually love the book more than the movie and totally agree with Sadie. I loved the book The Da Vinci Code and I was so disappointed in the movie and Tom Hanks as Robert Langdon. Sometimes I am just scared to watch the movie after I have read the book!

  9. Well, I'm probably going out on a limb here but I thought the Lord of the Rings movies were better than the book!

  10. I think there are a few...maybe quite a would agree with you on LoTR. Certainly, it was very well done and very accessible.

    Of course, true fans of the book would stone you for saying that.

  11. The books are always better. Period. :P

  12. Hey
    I participated in BANO PEHLA MOVIE JOCKEY contest on and found it really interesting. It's just about writing movie reviews.Hoping to win!:) I'll be a Movie Jockey and all famous wow!


  13. I thought the movies "Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurty and "Centennial" by James Michener did a good job...maybe not better, but still excellent.

  14. only as good doesn't

  15. The Great Gatsby and Cider House Rules were better in movie form than the book, imho.

  16. never read or saw Cider House...but I would disagree about Gatsby. We will have to agree to differ on that one.


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