Saturday, August 1, 2009

The Book Was Better!

That seems to be a common lament after the screen adaptation comes out. But it seems to be a bigger issue if you've already read the book. I'm finding that there are quite a few movies or TV series that I've seen or watched where I haven't read the original book first. I saw Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring without having read the book (I still haven't read those books... but I have read The Hobbit, so I'm not completely unfamiliar with Middle Earth). I watched The Princess Bride and The Neverending Story long before I read the books they were based upon. And I've just finished watching the first season of True Blood... without ever having held Dead Before Dark in my hands.

On the flip side, there are plenty of movies or TV shows that I've watched where I'd read the book first. More often than not, they're a disappointment. I suppose it's the inevitable comparisons, and the fact that you can cram more into a novel than you can into a screenplay. Plus, some moviemakers feel the need to put their own spin on the story, which can often be disastrous... at least in the eyes of the fans of the original book(s). I was very disappointed with the movie version of Howl's Moving Castle (one of my favourite books). I'm not an anime fan anyway, and I really didn't think that style suited the story. I can only imagine how awesome it would have been if someone like Tim Burton had done it, or if it had been given a treatment similar to that of the movie version of Coraline. I Capture the Castle was another disappointment. On its own, the movie is fine. But for me, it failed to capture the magic of the book.

As someone who likes to read books and watch movies, it seems that it's almost better if I watch first and read second. Then there are fewer expectations. The comparisons are still there, but there's also the fun of reading the book and discovering great little bits of the story that weren't included in the movie version (I'm experiencing this now as I'm reading Pride and Prejudice). I don't hate the movie if I enjoyed the book more... at least, not if I watched the movie first. However, if the book was awesome and then I'm disappointed by the movie, I'm liable to be more critical of the movie. So I'm a bit nervous about The Time Traveler's Wife. I read the book years ago, and I've been eagerly awaiting the movie version ever since. I guess we'll see if it can live up to people's expectations. At least the casting looks fairly good (that's pretty much how I imagined Henry and Clare)...

Anyway, after seeing a movie (or TV show) I enjoy, I often want to read the book it was based on. So I guess I'm going to have to add Dead Until Dark to my TBR pile. How many books are in that series again?

1 comment:

  1. There are 9 books. Have you started reading it yet? You'd be happy to know that no one in the book sparkles =D. The content though is abit explicit,