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Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Books or Movies?

Which is better, the book or the movie?

My first reaction is to say the book. Definitely the book! Often when I compare a book to the movie made from it, I see how much richer and deeper the book is--we get inside the character's heads, there are layers of motivation and plot not even touched upon in the movie, and so much more detail.

However...

I just went to the movie version of the Jane Austen Book Club. I adored it. Funny, warm, fabulous characters, great acting--and actual book discussions! So the thing is, I wasn't that enthusiastic about the book. I found it dry and really kind of boring, even though I'd expected to love it. I never actually finished the book either, although now that I've seen the movie I'll go back and read it again. I might even like it better the second time.

This got me thinking. Have there been other instances where I preferred the movie? Well, Brokeback Mountain might qualify. While the short story was excellent for what it was, the movie was far more moving. It had grandeur. So did The English Patient, one of my all time favorites. I also loved the book by Michael Ondaatje, but the visuals of the movie swept me away. The characters came alive (even when they were dead). The book was astounding, lyrical, magnificent, but the movie matched it, in my opinion.

What about the more lowbrow stuff? A lot of Stephen King's books have been made into movies. I'd call them a draw. There have been outstanding examples--The Shawshank Redemption, Stand by Me--and schlocky losers (too many to name).

I'm not a Harry Potter reader or watcher, but I'd guess that most of you prefer the books?

Bridget Jones? Almost a draw, but I've seen the movie several times while I'll probably never read the book again, so I lean toward another vote for the silver screen.

Hmm, come to think of it, maybe my sudden preference for the movie over the book is a case of being too drained from writing all day to read. Not when it's so easy to pop in a DVD and zone out....

Aha! I just thought of one author-who-shall-not-be-named (not my most attractive trait, but I'm still holding a grudge over his attitude toward female romance authors) whose movies are far superior to the books. Message in a Bottle, The Notebook. On that, I shall say no more. :-)

What do you think? Books or movies? Post your opinion for a chance to win a copy of my October release from Harlequin Blaze, MY FRONT PAGE SCANDAL, the second book of the Martini Dares miniseries written with the fantastic authors Lori Wilde (Book 1: MY SECRET LIFE, Sept 07), Jamie Denton (Book 3: MY GUILTY PLEASURE, Jan 08) and Isabel Sharpe (Book 4: MY WILDEST RIDE, Feb 08). I'll choose a name at random and post the winner tomorrow.

Thanks to Lee for inviting me to join the Totebaggers!

18 comments:

tam said...

I think it's always best to read the book first. There is so much more you can get out of the book, because the author can write so much more than they can put into the movie. By reading the book first you will know what is going on in the movie and under stand more of what is going on when some parts happen to be left out.

peggy said...

i love to read .but i get more out of a book .the movies seems to lose
something. so its books for me

Lois said...

A few months ago I decided to read all the Jane Austen books instead of just P&P (LOL) a year or more ago. . . and to watch all the movies of each that I got a hold of. Ultimately, the book is always supposed to be better because that's the original idea. . . but I noticed in some instances with the movies, that'll they helped in understanding how things could happen, if Jane didn't elaborate herself in some situations. Then of course there are times that they severly butchered the intent and words of the original book it was ridulous (1999 Mansfield Park, anyone? LOL Well, my opinion of course.)

Ultimately, it comes down to interpretation. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, regardless of who's book and who's movie it is. :)

Lois

jenna said...

I have always enjoyed books as that allows me to live within the pages, visualize the individuals and the settings. Movies unfortunately cannot convey that to me. They disappoint as too much is left out or is not treated correctly.

cas2ajs said...

I'm going to have to say the book, for the most part. When I read a book, I get a definite idea of what the hero and heroine look like and how they interact. Most times, the movie casts actors and actresses that just are "not" the people I pictured in my head and I'm disappointed in the adaptation for film. There are exceptions, of course.

Cheryl

Nathalie said...

Love the books, and usually I don't even watch the movies for fear of being disappointed :)

Lily said...

I usually also prefer the movies, but yes sometimes the Jane Austen movie are good, though I did not really like the new Pride and Prejudice one.

Terrie said...

Carrie! Hello doll -- long time no see. :) I miss the RFF ..ah well... books or movies? 95% of the time the book -- the exceptions being a few of the Stephen King's you mentioned -and how could you not mention The Green Mile -- movie far superior to the books in my opinion. :) I also have to admit to prefering the movies of Jane Austin's books over the actual books -- but with those few exceptions I generally prefer the book over the movie (Bourne series by Ludlum is a good example -- I enjoyed the movies but LOVED the books) ;)

Terrie

Pam said...

Almost always the books. Terrie you mentioned the same as I came here to post about. While I enjoyed the Bourne movies, Ludlum's books were so much better. I really didn't expect them to compare before I saw the first one.

Jen in WA said...

Yes, books are almost always better. Harry Potter is a prime example.

Movie that I prefer over the book. Princess Bride comes to mind first. The Lord of the Rings trilogy is up there too. I couldn't make it thru book 2, but loved the movies!

HOTCHA1 said...

i agree that reading the book first is far better as they cut so much out of the movie.

DOESN'T THESE COVERS ROCK?

deseng said...

Reading the book is by far my favorite form of entertainment. I do love movies and have seen some books they were made into movies. Such as the Harry Potter series. I loved all the movies! I notice that the movies lack depth though. Books go into so much detail whereas the movie does not.

Michele

Maureen said...

It's hard to pick. For instance, Pride and Prejudice was a wonderful book but watching it come alive with the costumes, carriages and settings is also a pleasure.

CrystalG said...

I like to read the book first and then see the movie. I find that they often change the story in movies.

bamabelle said...

I generally like the book better than the movie version. With a good book you can go as far as the imagination will take you, but with a movie there are limits. Also, a lot has to be cut out to make the movie version, most times. There are instances though, when the movie surpasses the book. As you mentioned, The Notebook was a much better movie. I thought The Devil Wears Prada was a much better movie than book as well. :)

Charlene Sands said...

When a movie is great, like Gone With the Wind, I have to admit - even the book has trouble topping it. The scenery comes alive and the shots of the Civil War were so dramatic on film, that I prefer it to the book.
But it depends. Some movies, try but never come close to showing the depth of emotion you feel when reading a book.
The original Godfather came very close to the book and I think I enjoyed them equally. I feel the same with Dances With Wolves.

Georgie Lee said...

Books are usually better than movies. However, sometimes a movie captures the spirit of the book better. "Being Julia" is a good example. I love Somerset Maughan and I really did enjoy his book "The Theater". However, "Being Julia" was actually better than the book. The theater is a visual medium so the movie captured many elements, especially the climax which takes place on stage, far better than the book.

YvonneLindsay said...

It's a tough call, usually I prefer the book but then I don't think I'd have read the Da Vinci Code if I hadn't already seen the movie and if anything it made the book seem more real. Like Lois said, it definitely comes down to interpretation.