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-   -   Films as good as the book? (http://forums.writersbeat.com/showthread.php?t=55990)

inkylinks 02-12-2015 12:02 PM

Films as good as the book?
 
It's an age-old trope to say that the film will never be as good as the book, but I would disagree. As heart-breaking as it is see your favourite book dismembered onscreen in a bad re-telling, it is equally exhilarating to see things done right and experience the story anew.

I've been thinking about this since I started reading Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park. I've always loved the film series and was cautious about trying the books: I was certain it was going to be ruined, one way or the other. Either the fantastic dinosaurs would become flat on paper, or the book would so out-match the film that it turned to trash. I was pleasantly surprised to find I was wrong - I've enjoyed the book just as much as the film. They are definitely different, no arguing with that, but I don't think either portrayal of the story suffers much from the chosen format.

The question: are there films that have stuck in your mind that were as enjoyable to watch as the book was to read? Or, do you consider this question to be an act of book-lover's blasphemy?

tremor 02-12-2015 01:47 PM

When we read, write use our imagination to visualize that text, with the details the author provides.
When I watch a film adaptation of a book, I have to remind myself that it's one person's or a group of people's personal opinion of how things would go. I also get ultimately disappointed when films miss out on what is vital information that gets lost in translation.

Sent from my Sony Xperia ZL

Mike C 02-17-2015 10:01 PM

I can't think of any movie that surpasses the book.

I haven't read Jurassic Park; I thought the movie was shit, but assumed the book was too.

JoeMatt 02-18-2015 04:06 AM

Not that I liked the movies or the books all that much -- but I'd say the Godfather and Forrest Gump movies were better than the books.

Probably my favorite adaptation is Revolutionary Road. It was kind of like they based the movie on what I saw in my mind's eye when I read it. Given the limitations of making a movie adaptation, I think it was about as good as it gets. There's this strange P.O.V. shift to a minor character at the end of the book -- they did it in the movie too -- for people who hadn't read the book it was kind of a WTF thing, but I was pleasantly surprised.

inkylinks 02-18-2015 09:01 AM

Quote:

When I watch a film adaptation of a book, I have to remind myself that it's one person's or a group of people's personal opinion of how things would go
Quote:

Probably my favorite adaptation is Revolutionary Road. It was kind of like they based the movie on what I saw in my mind's eye when I read it. Given the limitations of making a movie adaptation, I think it was about as good as it gets.
I think this is ultimately the best and worst thing about adaptations. I would agree that more often than not the onscreen version lacks a vital element, but that vital element tends to be something personal to my experience of the story. Conversely, I think it's a rather sublime moment when an adaptation does match your personal experience - there's joy in knowing your vision is shared, and seeing it given a physical manifestation. (I get an excited inner voice screaming 'yes, that! Exactly THAT!') I wonder if in these cases the writer had simply written the book so well that many people experienced the same thing, or that the film-makers were more able to tap into the shared experiences of the readership?


Quote:

I can't think of any movie that surpasses the book.
I would agree. I've not yet come across a film that I would consider to be better than the book, but there are a couple I consider to be on a par because they manage to recreate my experience to an extent that I'm not disappointed by the change in artistic medium.

Mike C 02-18-2015 09:27 AM

Ah, thought of one.

Lord of the Rings.

The books are cool if you're, like, 13. Or if you're a hippy and it's 1967. But characters lack any emotional depth and in many cases are 2 dimensional avatars. And there's the dreadfully dull Tom Bombadil bit.

The movies are pared down, action heavy, faux-history light, and all the better for it.

calligraphy 02-18-2015 10:35 AM

GOT's for me is better as a series.

I know.

Go ahead and kill me now.

But fantasy can really get me sleepy.

Mike C 02-18-2015 09:50 PM

I saw the first two episodes of GOT. I'd always avoided the books, even when I was young and impressionable and into fantasy.

Two was enough. I'm sure it deserves all the hype, but I've outgrown the genre.

K.S. Crooks 02-21-2015 08:50 PM

For me, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, Angels and Demons, The U.S. version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. And although I have not read the following myself several people I know have said the movie versions of The Shawshank Redemption and The Green Mile are equal to the books as well.

Prodigalson 03-20-2015 07:45 AM

I agree. I'm not much of a Stephen King fan but his books do film well and with those two stories he was at the top of his game. I'd say the book and movie were neck and neck for those two.

There is also the 2004 version of 'Man on Fire'. Its treatment of life and death and the sacrifices we make and why may have struck a chord only because I was doing chemo when I saw it, but I read the book afterward and felt the movie accurately portrayed it.

brianpatrick 03-20-2015 07:13 PM

Films as good as the book?
 
Jaws was a better movie than the book IMO.

Can't think of any others.

KnightofFlowers 03-20-2015 09:15 PM

Hi everyone, In my humble opinion, I thought the movie version of "The Cider House Rules" was better than the book. John Irving wrote both and won an Oscar for the screenplay. I also thought "The Joy Luck Club" movie was better than the book. Interesting thing about "The Shawshank Redemption" many movie peeps think the screenplay and the film are one of the best ever. I thought the movie was okay. I took a screenwriting class and one of these assignments was to watch the movie and discuss it. Me and another guy in the class were the only two who read Stephen King's "Different Seasons" where the story appeared. I noticed little differences like when they drank beer on the roof of the building they had an ice chest so the beer was cold whereas in the book the beer was warm and the character of "Red" (played by Morgan Freeman) was a guy a pale guy with red hair.

Prodigalson 03-21-2015 02:09 PM

...and the ending was slightly different. But so what? Most movie renditions of books make major changes in characters, scenes and plots. 'Red' may have gone from Irish to Black but his character remained the same and other than the three things mentioned I believe the movie was faithful to the book and still pulled it off.

flyingtart 03-22-2015 12:51 AM

The film can be better than the book. Alan Parker's Angel Heart from 1987 was based on the novel Falling Angel by William Hjortsberg. It's a definite improvement on the original material.

And The Godfather by Francis Ford Copolla elevates Mario Puzo's potboiler to classic status.

chat bot 03-23-2015 02:09 PM

SHawSHAnK rEDEMptIoN

JoeMatt 03-25-2015 12:47 PM

Was High School Musical a novel? Because the movie was awesome.

brianpatrick 03-25-2015 02:31 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMatt (Post 689528)
Was High School Musical a novel? Because the movie was awesome.


Sadly, it is not currently available...

http://tapatalk.imageshack.com/v2/15...e248247014.jpg

JoeMatt 03-25-2015 02:57 PM

Hah. I should have known better.

Schmoo 03-26-2015 07:33 AM

I will admit that there aren't any movies that I think are actually better than the book but a few had some changes that I liked and some I didn't. The one that sticks out is Misery by Stephen King, I loved the book and it scared the crap out of me but when I saw the movie I was truly disappointed although a good movie it left a lot of important things out.

But on the other hand being a romantic when I read the notebook by Nicholas Sparks I loved the book but I thought the movie was good but they changed the ending and I did like the ending of the movie better than the books ending.

Usually I like to read a book before the movie comes out. I like to see the authors original view first then see what the screenwriters saw along with the director and all involved. Only a few movies I wanted to read the book after I saw the movie. I am currently reading Wild which I saw in the movies first and went out to get the book. So far there are few differences in the book than in the movie but it is fairly close.

I am sure there are others but my mind is drawing a blank.

Alecc0 04-07-2015 10:04 AM

Bladerunner definitely works better as a film than the Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep short story

brianpatrick 04-07-2015 03:42 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Alecc0 (Post 691115)
Bladerunner definitely works better as a film than the Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep short story


Oh my, friend... I would have to disagree there.

It was a pretty good movie for its time, but the brain of Philip K. Dick couldn't be caught on film.

JoeMatt 04-07-2015 04:15 PM

Spoken like a true Dickhead.

brianpatrick 04-07-2015 05:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by JoeMatt (Post 691169)
Spoken like a true Dickhead.


On an exciting note Joe, I found a place that still has stock of the High School Musical novel!

Should I order an extra copy for you?

JoeMatt 04-08-2015 04:44 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by brianpatrick (Post 691176)
On an exciting note Joe, I found a place that still has stock of the High School Musical novel!

Should I order an extra copy for you?

Absolutely! Do have a PayPal account?

calligraphy 04-09-2015 01:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mike C (Post 686540)
I saw the first two episodes of GOT. I'd always avoided the books, even when I was young and impressionable and into fantasy.

Two was enough. I'm sure it deserves all the hype, but I've outgrown the genre.


Ugh.

Tell me what do we read when we grow up, Michael?

brianpatrick 04-09-2015 08:29 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by calligraphy (Post 691443)
Ugh.



Tell me what do we read when we grow up, Micheal?


The same 33 novels over and over and over again?

Well, that's what I do, anyway...

IWrite 05-01-2015 04:32 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by inkylinks (Post 686180)
It's an age-old trope to say that the film will never be as good as the book, but I would disagree. As heart-breaking as it is see your favourite book dismembered onscreen in a bad re-telling, it is equally exhilarating to see things done right and experience the story anew.

I've been thinking about this since I started reading Michael Crichton's Jurassic Park. I've always loved the film series and was cautious about trying the books: I was certain it was going to be ruined, one way or the other. Either the fantastic dinosaurs would become flat on paper, or the book would so out-match the film that it turned to trash. I was pleasantly surprised to find I was wrong - I've enjoyed the book just as much as the film. They are definitely different, no arguing with that, but I don't think either portrayal of the story suffers much from the chosen format.

The question: are there films that have stuck in your mind that were as enjoyable to watch as the book was to read? Or, do you consider this question to be an act of book-lover's blasphemy?

/ There can be no comparison of them because if you watch movie then everything is in front of your eyes but while reading the book you have to imagine things which is pretty good because it improves our creative thinking and we tend to improve on various things like vocabulary, grammar and lot more. But movies which we watch we watch for fun, we don't have to imagine anything which is ok its just for Fun and entertainment. Books tend to improve us...

Filterdreaming 05-02-2015 12:41 AM

Twilight. Both the book and movie were as painful as each other.

Alicia2 05-17-2015 06:55 AM

.

Ohasa 06-09-2015 08:10 PM

I actually liked both the movie and books of the host by Stephanie Meyer.
Not greats, but enjoyable for me at least.


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