Usually Better

Some will say that you can't compare books and movies because they're different mediums, but people do compare them.  One reason that they can do so is because they experienced more pleasure from one or the other.

While I was pleased to see someone have a go at putting Lord of the Rings on film, I was a bit dismayed at how much they meddled with the story.  Having watched the films a few times now, I can enjoy them for what they are, but feel that people who haven't read the books are missing out.  For instance, was everything OK once the ring had been destroyed?  What happened when the hobbits went back the Shire?  In the book, there was a fairly grim situation brewing when they returned home.

I read Jurassic Park before it hit the screens here.  It was a good movie, but the detail provided by the book made the book better value for me (and again, the movie industry couldn't help but tamper with the story to make it more of a Hollywood happy ending than the actual story was).

The first movie that I thought of, when I saw this group, was "The Rainmaker" (based on John Grisham's novel).  In 2006, while I was between homes, I found a secondhand copy of the book and read it a number of times.  When things started to improve for me, I sought out the movie.  While there were some good moments in the film, particularly from Claire Danes and Matt Damon, there was a lot of the story that was missing.  And the opening scene with Mickey Rourke and another actor was so bad that I felt embarrassed for them while I was watching it.

There are some books I'd like to see put on the screen.  But knowing how badly mangled the story can be, in the process of taking it from the page to the screen, I would prefer that those movies don't get made in my lifetime.

Koala1964 Koala1964
51-55, M
6 Responses Feb 24, 2010

I didn't see "The Town," but will have a look at the novel :-)

Chuck Hogan's novel, Prince of Thieves, on which the movie "The town" was ba<x>sed, was far better than the movie, because the characters were more fleshed out, as were the events, and it had a much more sensible, credible ending than the movie. Just saying.

Yeah, it would be nice to be that familiar with the territory in a novel. I guess the downside of that is when you get someone from another state writing things about your hometown that just don't add up for those with local knowledge.<br />
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I don't think I'd be as enthused while reading something set in Adelaide. I would love to travel, but have not had the opportunity for many years, so reading about other parts of the world is my means of getting away from the humdrum existence. Even if some of those novels don't depict a fair representation of a particular part of the world. I figure that eventually, I'll meet someone who can set me straight.

Grisham is not the best writer. I have read little bits, but have never been able to really get into his style. What I appreciate about him is that he combines the possible with the unlikely very well and that he sets everything in his own yard which was the same area that I grew up in. It is nice seeing your home town in big time print (even if you only go back to visit relatives).

Definitely. Characters really are what make the tale interesting. Those are the books & movies that keep me coming back for a second look (or third or fourth...).<br />
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I enjoyed reading Timeline (I like Frances O'Connor, so the movie wasn't a complete loss for me).<br />
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I read Dune and saw the movie, but both were so long ago it's hard for me to make a comparison.<br />
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I know it's not fashionable to be a Grisham fan, but occasionally I just need a novel that lets me escape and his work well for that.

I think you nailed two of the authors with more than one book that was highly altered on the way to becoming a screen play. <br />
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I am not a big Grisham fan, but I know plenty of people in the Memphis area who are. They love to hang around when there is filming, and they like the movies, but they all say the books are considerably different. <br />
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Crichton is another. I loved Timeline the book, but was disappointed with the movie. And weren't the Jurassic Park books more about the people than the dinosaurs? I love special effects, but I love fleshed out characters, good dialogue, and plot much more.<br />
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I know that characters must be parred down or cut out in order to render a streamlined story. You need only to look at the 1983 Dune to see what happens if you don't. However, it really takes a jump in skill from doing it satisfactorily to doing it well. Maybe luck, too.