Sep 09 2012

Sometimes The Movie Is Better Than The Book – Sometimes Not

There are some people who insist that the book is always better than the movie.  I don’t agree.  There are so many factors that go into what makes a good movie and what makes a good book.  I’ve seen my share of movies that actually trump the book they were based on.  As much as Tolkien fanboys disagree, Peter Jackson’s interpretation of Tolkien’s Lord of the Ring trilogy was far superior to the books in my opinion.  Tolkien’s prose is, well, cumbersome, clumsy, and a little bulky.  I still liked the books, although only The Two Towers ranks in my top 20 fiction/fantasy/science fiction books of all time.  I know, sacriledge!  Don’t care.

The movies were more coherant and did a wonderful job compressing the background information (scenes, etc.) into easily digestible visuals that allowed one to focus on the characters and the story.  And that’s where the story actually is.  I also know far too many people who were never able to get through the books because of Tolkien’s style.  The movies, however, opened the world of Middle Earth up to them.

By the same token, some movies just suck compared to the book.  Take The Hunger Games for example.   In the movie we completely loose what made the book great.  We lost Katniss’ inner monologue.  Yes, Katniss’ does she/does she not love Peeta part of that monologue became annoying towards the end, but it still is what made Katniss, well, Katniss.  The movie was the equivalent of telling the book in the third person without any real insight into her soul.  She was just another tribute who the camera happened to focus on.  They could have worked the inner monologue into the movie, with voice overs or other techniques.  They just chose not to and created a hollow movie.

And thus it is with all books made movies.  Sometimes they surpass the book, other times they don’t.

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