As far as I have seen & read them, all movies adapted from books are either worst than the book or as great as the book, none has surpassed the book.
I wanted to write this since ages ago, but nothing had triggered me to finally write it up…till yesterday when I started rereading Battle Royale. I was actually in the middle of reading The Constant Gardener by John Le Carrè … but when my prize from Hello Japan (Lots of gratitude to Nat of In spring It Is Dawn) finally arrived, I couldn’t concentrate in reading The Constant Gardener, I have wanted to reread Battle Royale since last year. So, I put down The Constant Gardener and reread one of my all time favorite novels. This paperback is different with the one I read before. This one had a foreword by Max Allan Collins. I like this quote a lot:
“Film is an exterior experience: we see the outside of the tale. But a novel takes us inside, where it can play out in the theater of our minds, without budget considerations. Watching film is a passive experience; we sit and the images flash before us. Reading a novel is active and puts the reader in the thick of the action.”
Reading that quote finally set me to write this post 🙂
I am both excessive reader and watcher; I love books and movies equally. However, when it comes to movies based on books…so far, I haven’t seen movie that is better than the novel. Even the movies that are equally as great as the novel can easily be counted…most often, they ruined the book.
I have read that some people think that The Fight Club – the movie is better than the book, I haven’t read nor watched it…so I can’t vote for it or against it. This post is purely based on what I have both read and watched. I’d like you to share your opinion later in the comment.
Since I am now rereading Battle Royale, I love the Book so much and dislike the movie, therefore I want to start it with movies that disappointed me. Mostly, the disappointment comes out because the movie takes TOO much liberty in changing the story or the actors are not doing a good job in portraying the characters. Here are some examples:
Battle Royale by Koushun Takami is an awesome book…as simple as that. It has depth and thrilling action. When I watched the movie, they altered the reason of the killing game into something as cheesy as the teacher’s revenge and the main character is totally off. Fujiwara Fujiyama has no charisma that Shuya Nanahara has.
The Shining by Stephen King…ow how I love the book. Despite so many people saying that the movie was great (some even dare to say the movie is better than the book…yeah right, give me a break!!), I find the boring as boring as hell. I don’t even want to see it for the second time. The changes were huge and the one who played Wendy is really annoying to look at.
The Lost World by Michael Crichton. I saw the movie before I read the book. I was surprise how the book is so different compared to the movie and I must say that the book is far better than the movie. The characters inside the book are more interesting to explore than the one Stephen Spielberg decided to recreate. There is no silly action of dinosaurs in the middle of civilization. There is one very interesting character that was wiped out in the movie, his name is Levine. Why o why they erased his character? After reading the book (which is also my first English novel and I have read it 4 times), I have no desire to watch the movie again even though it has been rerun so many times in TV.
And then there is The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini. Actually, the movie is similar with the book but it was done in the most boring way possible. I don’t know what is wrong with the movie, all I can remember is that I kept fast-forwarding the movie because of boredom. The book is far from boring.
Now, let’s talk about the ones that are equally great.
I have heard that some Lord of The Rings fans is disappointed with the movie…for reasons I can’t really understand. But for me, The Lord of The Rings –movie is the best book adaptation ever made!!! A Very beautiful movie and true to the book. They changed some of the detail but the changes weren’t too significant and it didn’t change the book. The beauty I have in my mind is there in the screen to see. All the characters are close to my imagination. They deleted some stories, but it was totally understandable due to the duration. If I to make top-5 list of movie from book, TLOTR will be in number 1. There are some additional characters in the upcoming movie of The Hobbit, I hope those additional characters don’t ruin the story…please don’t change the book TOO much Peter Jackson…I beg you!!
Two movies based on SK’s books that are as amazing as the books are Shawshank Redemption and Green Mile. The actors were perfect and the stories were exactly the same. Writing this reminds me that I need to reread green Mile one of these days.
On contrary to The Lost Word, Jurassic Park is as amazing as the book. I also watched the movie first then read the book. The book has more scientific detail and more gruesome in some areas…but the movie stay true to the book (minus too much science). Love both book and movie.
The only movie that has major changes compared to the book that I love is Ringu (The Ring- Japanese Version). Maybe because I have loved the movie so much when I finally read the book. It gave a huge surprise of how different the book is. I feel like reading 2 different stories with similar outline. Maybe if I had read the book first then watch the movie, I would feel different. Although judging from The Lost World which I also watched before I read and ended up hating the movie… I might still love the movie despite all the changes.
I want to talk about the okay movies now.
Harry Potter movies are the okay ones, they weren’t terrible but they still couldn’t compete against the book (mind you that I only watched the movies till movie 5). The actors were great but they people behind the movies couldn’t deliver the magical world of Harry potter as great as the book. I also think that The Road, Angels and Demons and The Davinci Code are considered to be okay movies. One that I really like, although I don’t like the book that much, is Perfume. The movie brought out the best from the book and left the boring parts behind.
I couldn’t write all the movies-book s I have watched-read…but I think you got the idea of why I think that there are no movies better than the books.
I sometimes wonder why the people of movie industry decided to change the book, I mean if they had better idea from the beginning…go ahead and make their own story!! There is this movie I voted not to watch…EVER…it is My Sister’s Keeper. The book is amazing because of the ending, but Hollywood thought that the ending is too sad and changed it 180 degrees. Just reading about the change made me sick.
To all movie producers….please don’t take too much liberty in changing the story of a great book!!!
Despite the fact that there are no movies better than the book, I still enjoy watching movies from books because that kind of movies tend to have deeper story the common blockbuster movies. Shutter Island and The Ghost Writer are some movies that I like and both are based on books. I want to read the book one day.
There are some movies based on books that are going to be released next year, I want to find and read the book before the movies are released. Here are the movies/books I am talking about
- The Hobbit by J.R.R Tolkien. With or without the movie coming out, I will reread the book. But because the movie will come out in December 2012, I better reread it (for the fourth time) before December.
- Broken by Daniel Clay. My dear Cillian Murphy will be in the movie.
- At Swim Two Bird by Flann O’Brian. I am not sure I can find this book in Indonesia 😦 Cillian is also going to the movie adaptation
- Horns by Joe Hill. I read the news about the movie in Hollywood Spy. I have only read one book by him and I like it. I want to read more books by him.