Ready, Set…

Can a movie be better than the book it was based on? What examples come to mind? Or is it sometimes just a matter of which version you see first, as that will define the story for you, regardless of which version was made first?

I’m not sure if it can be or not. I haven’t been witness to one that in my opinion was better than the book. I have seen a few movies that I think came close to possibly being true to the book but never as good as or better.

The first example and most recent that comes to mind for me was Water For Elephants. Excellent, excellent book. The movie was great too and stayed fairly true to the movie BUT… as always when movies are made out of books, a lot was left out of the movie.

Now I understand that when a book is made into a movie that they can’t possibly include every little thing in the movie or the movie would have to be a mini-series! There is simply too much information to be included for a normal two hour and under movie. And let’s face it, how many of us WANT to sit in a movie theatre seat for more than 2 or 2 and a half hours? I know my back can’t take it.

And even when made into a mini series, which has happened with many books, it still in my opinion doesn’t capture the whole essence of the book. For instance, ROOTS, while a wonderful miniseries, couldn’t hold a candle to the book.

And the one that sorely disappointed me was The Stand. But then again, how can a camera capture the true essence and insanity that must be Stephen King’s mind? I liked the mini series but I think my imagination of what the characters and towns should be can’t be matched by any Hollywood casting agent. Although I have to give props for the casting director for casting Bill Fagerbakke as Tom Cullen….BRILLIANT. I don’t think anyone else could have done him justice. “M O O N… that spells Tom Cullen!”

Lots of times when I see a movie after I’ve read the book I am usually disappointed but that’s just because in my own imagination I’ve already decided what someone should look like and when they don’t I can never wrap my brain around the character in the movie not looking like what I imagined that they should. I guess most of our imaginations are much more vivid than what translates film and I’m usually left wanting more than what I get.

It’s weird but in the cases where I have seen the movie first and then read the book I don’t seem to be quite as disappointed. Maybe because the “work” of developing the characters has already been done for me and when I read the book I imagine the actor portraying the part to be the character so it doesn’t seem to contradict the plot as much as it might when I read it first.

The most recent book that I read that has been made into a movie and will be coming out in August is The Help. I absolutely LOVED that book. I really really can’t wait to go see it. I really hope I’m not disappointed in it. I cried when I read the book and when it was over I felt I’d lost my best friend. I’m hoping that seeing the movie can conjure up those same emotions. I’m already thinking I’m not going to like some of the casting just seeing the trailers for the movie although some seem right on the money. I’ll let you guys know what I think when I go see it.

What do you guys think? Do you think a movie can be better than the book it was based upon?


About pegbur7

South of the Mason/Dixon Line
This entry was posted in Just Life and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Ready, Set…

  1. Ron says:

    “Lots of times when I see a movie after I’ve read the book I am usually disappointed but that’s just because in my own imagination I’ve already decided what someone should look like and when they don’t I can never wrap my brain around the character in the movie not looking like what I imagined that they should.”

    Yup….I have to agree with you, Peg. Our imaginations fill in blanks within a book. Where as with a movie, it’s right in front of you.

    The only movie I’ve seen which I felt was ‘as good’ as the book was, The Other Side Of Midnight (a Sidney Sheldon book). It truly was wonderful.

    But in most cases, I think it all depends on which you do first. Either read the book or see the movie.

    I’ve GOT to see Water For Elephants because I hear it’s wonderful!

    Have a great day, dear friend!


    • pegbur7 says:

      Oh, Ron… you will LOVE Water for Elephants. It IS fabulous. They just had to leae some stuff out that I guess they didn’t feel was important for time contraint reasons I’m sure.

  2. Katie says:

    I am not sure I have ever seen a movie that was as good as a book. Maybe the Harry Potters…I have never seen a Stephen King movie that was ever done as well as the books. I went many years ago to see a sneak preview of House of the Spirits from a book by Isabel Allende. Meryl Streep, Glenn Close, Jeremy Irons…Should have been a good movie and was awful. I thought there must have been a good book there and went to read it and it was fantastic. I have read many of her books since. I think the time constraints have a lot to do with it as you said.

  3. NikNik says:

    The only time I have ever liked a movie better than the book was “Eat, Pray, Love.” I could barely finish the book because I thought E. Gilbert (author) was too whiney and self pitying. I didnt really like Water for Elephants the movie- I thought they changed too much, but thats just me. I am super excited about “The Help” though, one of the best books I have read in a while!

  4. I have SO MANY THOUGHTS ON THIS. Too many, really, to put in a comment, so I’ll be brief.

    “Water for Elephants” was an incredible book, wasn’t it? I don’t want to see the film because I’m so scared of it being a huge disappointment.

    I’m of the opinion that films can never be as good as they books they’re based on. Series can be – DEXTER, for instance, wasn’t a great book in my opinion, but the script-writers at Showtime really made the characters come alive and put much more thought into them.

    The film version of “Atonement” is probably the most accurate movie-version of anything that I’ve ever seen. It was extremely true to the book, and the most incredible thing was the way it captured the mood of the book, something films rarely succeed in doing.

    Overall, though – yeah, the book will always be better as far as I’m concerned.

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