Wednesday Wondering: The dreaded Movie vs Book debate

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Wednesday Wonderings: A chance for me to muse about anything and everything literature.

With the hyped-up anticipation of Gone Girl (the movie), I was inspired to re-think books turned movies. After reading the book I was actually surprised that they were doing a movie of it as a big bulk of the movie was Amy’s diary entries and feelings discussed. I haven’t seen it yet, but it’s gotten 8.6/10 on IMDB which is promising.

There is a huge list of books turned movies that didn’t live up to the hype. Some would argue The Lord of the Rings series, although impressive, never lived up to the amazingness of Tolkien. Harry Potter series especially did not do the series justice. I remember re-reading The Order of the Pheonix a week before the movie came out and being immensely disappointed with just how much they’ve left out.

Then there are those books that are very psychological. I don’t mean psychological as in disturbing, but rather that they deal with the character’s emotions, thoughts and mental being. There has yet to be a film technique to transcribe character thoughts properly. This is one of the powers of the novel. We can properly dip into the mind of the character (if it’s first person narration mind you). It’s what makes books amazing, as they can create a world that isn’t necessarily physical and they are able to make it personal. In movies, you never really fully understand the characters. Frequently, their reactions are overemphasized to try to indicate a certain emotion that isn’t necessarily realistic.

In reverse to that I find that action packed movies are better than action packed books (yikes, what a bold statement!). I couldn’t imagine reading Star Wars and enjoying it like I had the movies or say like the Jason Bourne series with the music, and the car chase scenes. For example the recent thriller I have read, I Am Pilgrim, I could see how amazing it could be in movie format, but I just felt like it lacked in book form. Maybe I am just not as imaginative as I had thought?

What I have learned about movies and books is that you have to do just that, treat them as different entities. When younger, I used to get angry when films did not interpret the books the way I had imagined when I had read the book. But now, I just try to treat each film as a single interpretation of the novel. There is a reason why there is a disclaimer at the beginning of movies, it’s just “based” on a book not identically copied.

I feel like that is a reason why books are still so amazing today. There are able to discuss and bring to light elements of human psychology that cannot be transcribed on the cinema screen.

What are your thoughts on movies turned movies? How to you handle the frequent disappointment?

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7 thoughts on “Wednesday Wondering: The dreaded Movie vs Book debate

  1. I actually reviewed Gone Girl in my blog. I didn’t drag it out due to spoilers and I just tried to highlight society’s and medias perception of domestic crimes. But to get to your point about books turned movies, its hit and miss for the most part depending on who you ask. There’s book worms who would always appreciate the book over film and vice versa.

    • Ooooh I reviewed it too, would love to see what you have got to say about the book. Is it sexist that it surprises me that guys read it? I really felt like it was a borderline chick-flick book!

      • I actually didn’t read the book but I heard the book just due to the detail in it. It be a little more un-traditional for men to read that but I feel like more and more guys are starting to.

  2. I have reviewed a few books that were turned into films and from time to time I also vent my anger [no, anger is much too strong – maybe just frustration/disappointment] at what has been done to them. I so agree that you have to treat them as different entities.

  3. I love the Lord of the Rings movies. I know how you feel about Harry Potter, they could’ve been so much better, but I can’t bring myself to hate them, they’re still Harry Potter. I totally agree with you on what makes movies & books better. Now if only books came with a sound track. Yes! Exactly! There’s no way to enjoy a movie based on a book if I’m too busy comparing it to the original. (I learned this with comic book movies)

    • What a great point about soundtracks! They are so amazing! Quite a bit of my library are actually songs from movies, and that is something that I know books don’t give us but I really love. Sometimes I listen to music while reading, and on occasion a sad song starts up during a sad scene in a book and it’s SO COOL!

      And yes, I can’t bring myself to dislike Harry Potter series, they still contain that Hogwarts magic!

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