1. Fitzroy Zeph
    Offline

    Fitzroy Zeph Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 7, 2013
    Messages:
    747
    Likes Received:
    269
    Location:
    Canada

    Books versus the movie of the book.

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Fitzroy Zeph, Jan 26, 2014.

    You often hear said, "oh the book was so much better than the movie", usually in slightly condescending tone, as if to suggest that if you ever do take up reading, you would come to the same conclusion. Fact is, at least to me, that this is often the case; whereby movies just aren't as good as the book they were made from.

    However, I recently read and saw Ender's Game, where I found the movie much more enjoyable. Can you think of any other examples?
     
  2. Mackers
    Offline

    Mackers Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    268
    Location:
    Co. Tyrone, Ireland
    3 examples in my opinion where the movies are better than the books:

    American Psycho
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's nest
    The Shining
     
  3. JJ_Maxx
    Offline

    JJ_Maxx Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2012
    Messages:
    3,339
    Likes Received:
    502
    I disagree, Ender's Game is my second all-time favorite book, and I had read it cover-to-cover at least a dozen times before I saw the movie. To me, the book was significantly better.

    On the other hand, the very worst adaptation was The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy which really disappointed everyone. The books are classics and the movie was just awful.
     
  4. Wreybies
    Offline

    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    May 1, 2008
    Messages:
    18,915
    Likes Received:
    10,108
    Location:
    Puerto Rico
    The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith published in 1955. The film version was released in 1999. I read the book well after having seen the film and the book was muddled, colorless and timid. The characters of Dikey Greenleaf and Marge Sherwood (what a godawful name) were dull, and at times boringly stupid in the book, where in the film they were fun and glamorous, if a bit superficial. Because of this, in the book I didn't buy Tom Ripley's motivations at all, where in the film his motivations were much more believable. Heinous, but believable.
     
  5. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    I once heard that as a rough guideline, one page was equivalent to one minute of screentime (and script pages usually have less info than book pages). So just using that as an approximation, you can see how much needs to be cut out of a typical 300 page book to translate it to the screen.

    There were a few movies that I thought managed to do a very good job capturing most of the essence of a book. But I can't think of any movies I've seen, where I've also read the book, where I've thought the movie was better. I always think the book is better.

    Someone on another site recently brought up this issue -- he had read Silver Linings Playbook and loved the book. He couldn't stand the movie.

    One movie I really enjoyed was About a Boy, which was based on a book by Nick Hornby. I'm almost afraid to read the book, because I liked the movie so much, that I'm afraid the book will spoil the film for me.
     
  6. thirdwind
    Offline

    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 17, 2008
    Messages:
    7,352
    Likes Received:
    2,896
    Location:
    Boston
    The Godfather. That movie is really, really good.
     
  7. chicagoliz
    Offline

    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    May 30, 2012
    Messages:
    3,295
    Likes Received:
    815
    Location:
    Pennsylvania
    Yes -- I LOVE The Godfather and Godfather II. However, I've never read the books.
     
  8. Selbbin
    Offline

    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2012
    Messages:
    3,249
    Likes Received:
    1,812
    Location:
    Australia
    Some movies that were better than the original book/short story....

    The Beach
    Fight Club
    American Psycho
    Deliverance
    Father of the Bride
    Die Hard
    Bladerunner
    Atonement
    Jaws
    Schindler's List
    The Shining
    A clockwork Orange
    Jurassic Park
    The Exorcist
    The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Fincher)
    It's a Wonderful Life
    2001
     
  9. SuperVenom
    Offline

    SuperVenom Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    478
    Likes Received:
    72
    Location:
    South Wales
    Prob gonna cause a storm here....eyes closed as I type.....
    I liked the Lord of the Rings movies better than the book. It removed pointless charaters and back story. I mean Tom Bombadil...come on.
     
    Andrae Smith likes this.
  10. Earthshine
    Offline

    Earthshine Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2013
    Messages:
    42
    Likes Received:
    6
    Location:
    Australia
    I actually agree about Lord of the Rings. I absolutely love the movies. But I hate the books. I just couldn't get into them. I forced myself to read them, just so I could say I had, and I hated every moment.

    Another movie I thought was comparable to the book (not better, but not god awful either) was the Hunger Games. I mean, the movie made me cringe from time to time but overall I thought it stayed fairly accurate. Then again, I wasn't that big a fan of the books.

    For the most part though, I would have to agree that the movies are generally worse than the books. Possibly the worst of these is the movie interpretation of Eragon. God that was awful.
     
    Andrae Smith and Cailinfios like this.
  11. SuperVenom
    Offline

    SuperVenom Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2010
    Messages:
    478
    Likes Received:
    72
    Location:
    South Wales
    Thank goodness.
     
  12. Patra Felino
    Offline

    Patra Felino Active Member

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2012
    Messages:
    182
    Likes Received:
    126
    Location:
    Colombia
    I agree too. In my opinion, Tolkien's Lord of the Rings is a bit like Monty Python's Flying Circus: eternal respect is due for creating a whole new (sub-)genre, but people have done it much better since. A Song of Ice and Fire, for example.
     
  13. Liam Johnson
    Offline

    Liam Johnson Member

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2014
    Messages:
    87
    Likes Received:
    28
    Location:
    Warrington, England
    My background is in screenwriting and you're right. 1 script page (roughly A4) is equivalent to a minute of on screen time-- though that's often not always the case. Producers also love "white space"-- i.e. the most amount of space on a script page you can leave whilst still getting the point across. Screenplays though, they're more instruction manuals than stories. Very dry documents.

    I also agree about LotR-- the book was very irrelevant to me, at times. Too much description about stuff that didn't need to be described. I think they got 'the chop', so to speak, spot on with the films. It's also the reason why I haven't (and won't) see The Hobbit films, for the opposite reason. That book never equaled three, 3-hour films and I don't care to see the stuff they've added.

    As a general rule, though, I would usually take the book over the film, bar some odd few, excellently directed, exceptions. I think it's probably best to just go with one, rather than compare the two-- it inevitably means one of them will come across as a disappointment.
     
  14. xanadu
    Offline

    xanadu Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Oct 21, 2008
    Messages:
    552
    Likes Received:
    407
    Location:
    Cave of Ice
    For me the biggest example is The Wizard of Oz. Baum's book was awful, in my humblest opinion. And when compared to the brilliance of the movie, I don't think there's any question as to which comes out on top.

    The only other one I've found is more recent--Cloud Atlas. The book was very well done (especially the different writing styles and the natural evolution of language throughout the time jumps--Sloosha's Crossin' was nothing short of genius), but for me the message was a little heavy-handed, and the timelines didn't gel anywhere near as much as I was hoping for. The movie didn't brow-beat you with the message, and it tied things together better (like the climax of Sonmi's story and the location Zachry and Meronym visit in Sloosha's--even if it was slightly different from the text). They're both excellent works, I just think the movie does it a little better.
     
  15. Macaberz
    Offline

    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2012
    Messages:
    3,146
    Likes Received:
    297
    Location:
    Arnhem, The Netherlands
    I've said it before and I'll say it again: Eragon was a dreadful movie. Some might add that the book was as well, and I've come to understand that position better ever since I watched all the Star Wars movies, but truly, as a series The Inheritance Cycle is quite enjoyable. The only good thing about this movie is the decent soundtrack and the well-rendered (and imho imaginative) dragon, Saphira. Most of it came down to horrendous screenplay, sloppy dialogue, introduction of characters that then leave 5 minutes later never to be seen again...I could go on and on, but perhaps worst of all is that they butchered ALL their chances of ever making a sequal. All relevant plot points were either skipped or warped into hollywood monstrosities.

    I also agree about The Lord of The Rings. Those three movies are so well done, and the extended editions really have some great added value without making me feel I missed out when I first watched the director's cut in cinema.

    Now here's a bit of a dangerous one, but I'll say it anyway. The Harry Potter movies aren't very good. Don't shoot me yet! There are certainly alot of things that are done right in these movies, but overall, they never climb above a 7.5 rating (out of 10) for me. The biggest disadvantage that movie franchise had was the fact that not all books were completed during the shooting of the first few. If they had been, Hollywood would've done well to start of darker alot earlier. HP4 and 5 should've continued the ominous tone that HP3 so masterfully created. Out of the entire parade, the third movie was the best one because it had that lighthearted magical feeling, whilst still feeding you that undercurrent that something larger was stirring in the darkness. They could've done without the soap-like intros in all movies, as if audiences don't remember who these characters are! My biggest issue lies with the tone of the first, second, fourth, and fifth movie (The over-the-top laserbeam showdown Voldemort and Harry are having is in a whole other league of 'bad' So I won't mentioned the quite awful HP7.1 and HP7.2 here). They are much too light-hearted for my taste, and they almost manage in making you forget what is at stake here. Not a good thing. Of course it doesn't have to be all doom and gloom, but there could've been more of that.

    Then there's the casting. Daniel Radcliffe is not a bad actor, but he grew out of his role. The last few films made me painstakingly aware I was watching 20-something actors pretending to be 16 or 17. Only Thomas Brodie Sangster and Jack Gleeson can do that because they actually look younger than they are. It might not be a big deal to others, but to me it was. It was believable up until the fourth movie, after that they out-aged (is that a word?) their roles. Asa Butterfield would've been a much better choice in the long run.

    I can rant all day long about what they could've done better, but I will grant them that they didn't make the movies unwatchable. They are decent, but they aren't great yet have the potential to be. I actually have hope that the movies will be remade some day, perhaps a series would be a better format?
     
  16. Keitsumah
    Offline

    Keitsumah The Dream-Walker Contributor

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2012
    Messages:
    3,279
    Likes Received:
    285
    Location:
    Nebraska
    The Hunger Games and Catching Fire both did very well in my opinion, and sadly, yes I have to agree that Eragon was all wrong. And the Ra'zac...... Sorry but even I could record a fake movie and do better than that i think, that's how bad it was.

    That movie was a sad excuse for a tribute to Alagaesia, and Christopher paolini.
     
  17. TessaT
    Offline

    TessaT Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Messages:
    357
    Likes Received:
    127
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    I don't understand the love for the movie the Shining. I saw it... and thought it was terrible. Perhaps it was because I read the book first and I was expecting it to be, well, like the book. But it was nothing like the book and eliminated a lot of the background and connectivity that King had in there.
     
  18. Mackers
    Offline

    Mackers Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2012
    Messages:
    433
    Likes Received:
    268
    Location:
    Co. Tyrone, Ireland
    What...? That's blasphemy! What happened to me was the complete opposite of you. I saw the film first and thought it was brilliant, and I read the book second and thought it was shite. I still think the film is top quality to this day
     
  19. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,728
    Likes Received:
    4,826
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    This, alas, is the problem with making movies about kids. Kids grow. When they hit puberty, they grow a LOT. Sometimes it's hard for them to be convincing even in one movie, let alone a series. There was a Peter Pan movie released in 2003 with a kid named Jeremy Sumpter as Peter, the boy who never grew up. Well, during the shooting of this one movie, he grew eight inches. It's very hard to make the character convincing when that kind of thing is going on.

    It's a problem. Sometimes a story takes place over only a few days, but the shooting takes six months. It's hard to do that kind of thing with fast-growing kids. It's one of the limitations of film. Sometimes, in cases like that, the only real solution is to animate the movie, or do motion capture and CGI. The technology is now available to do that pretty convincingly. But with actual live action, it's nearly impossible.

    Give me the printed word any day! It doesn't suffer from problems like this!
     
  20. rasmanisar
    Offline

    rasmanisar Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2014
    Messages:
    129
    Likes Received:
    29
    My most recent experience of this is with the excuses for films that are the Percy Jackson movies. I've never seen worse interpretations of a book series in my life, and I am a die-hard Rick Riordan fan. Those movies are SO bad.
     
    Cailinfios likes this.
  21. TessaT
    Offline

    TessaT Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2013
    Messages:
    357
    Likes Received:
    127
    Location:
    Bay Area, CA
    I can understand that happening, considering that they're so different. I had read the Shining after some other Stephen King books too, so I knew a little bit more about the world and what was going on. I really enjoy the fact that his universe is connected throughout a lot of his books. So when the movie had NONE of that... meh. Even then, I thought the movie was sort of boring overall. :oops:
     
  22. 123456789
    Offline

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    6,351
    Likes Received:
    3,092
    Tom Bombadil was the only GOOD part of LOTR....
     
    Pheonix likes this.
  23. minstrel
    Offline

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2010
    Messages:
    8,728
    Likes Received:
    4,826
    Location:
    Near Los Angeles
    Tom Bombadil was a huge, long, dull digression from the main plot that had no payoff at all, either in Fellowship or in the trilogy as a whole. Any good editor would have had Tolkien remove it. It wouldn't be lost; it could still be made a separate story in the chronicles of Middle-Earth, but it didn't really belong in LOTR.
     
  24. 123456789
    Offline

    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2012
    Messages:
    6,351
    Likes Received:
    3,092
    It's been a ....long... time since I've read anything by Tolkien, but, I'm pretty sure there was something about that passage that contributed to my mental development.If I remember correctly, it was obscure, mysterious and poetic, much more so than any other part of the trilogy.
    Long after the ring is destroyed, Frodo breaks Sam's heart, and everyone goes to commit ritual suicide, I am still left wondering about Tom Bombadil.
     
  25. Macaberz
    Offline

    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 19, 2012
    Messages:
    3,146
    Likes Received:
    297
    Location:
    Arnhem, The Netherlands
    I am still wondering about the two blue wizards that went east.
     

Share This Page