Success only flourishes in perseverance -- ceaseless, restless perseverance.
--Baron Manfred Von Richtofen

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Never Judge a Book by it's Movie

I had a bookmark once that said that, and I loved it. You could also say Never Judge a Movie by it's Book. After all, books and movies are completely different storytelling methods and it really isn't fair to expect them to be the same. Still, when it comes to the books we love, we want the movies to be true to them, don't we? And what writer hasn't wished to see their books turned into movies? I know I have.

My favorite book to movie adaptation hands down is The Lord of the Rings. We just had another Lord of the Rings movie marathon to celebrate the end of school, and I fell in love with the movies all over again. Despite the many and often major differences between the movies and the books, I felt that Peter Jackson and gang were true to the heart of the story that I love.

I also really like all the Harry Potter movies. I didn't even start reading the books until the first movie was about to come out. I knew my son loved the books, and would want to see the movie, so I thought I'd better read them. Well, I loved them of course and I like the movies too.

I've never read The Lightning Thief, but I absolutely hated the movie. It was boring, trite and cliched. I'm told the book is better, so I may give it a try, but my experience with the movie makes me reluctant to do so. Sad, huh? Ditto for Eragon.

A couple of movies that I loved, despite bearing almost no resemblance to their books are Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs and How to Train Your Dragon. Completely adorable movies, but they almost have nothing in common with the books. That's okay. I love both the movies and the books in different ways.

I could go on, of course, but I won't. What are some of your favorite book to movie adaptations. Which ones did you hate?


Cherie Reich said...

I agree with you about Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. I loved the books and movies.

I'm a big fan of Jurassic Park, and book.

My sister enjoyed reading the first Percy Jackson book, but we haven't seen the movie yet.

How to Train Your Dragon looks so cute. I can't wait to read those books and see the movie. Then again, I love dragons and Vikings.

I don't get to the movies often, so I'm having a hard time to think of a movie adaptation of a book that I disliked. Hmm....

Tere Kirkland said...

Very rarely, I find a movie that's actually better than the book. That almost never happens. But after I saw the movie What Dreams May Come, I searched out the book, only to find it wasn't nearly as interesting.

And frankly, I don't know why old Alex Dumas never thought to make the Compte de Monte Cristo's girlfriend pregnant with his child when she learns about his death. That makes for much better television.

No Guy Pearce in the book, either, which was a huge turn-off. ;)

Fun post!

Stephanie McGee said...

I love LOTR. I'm such a nitpicker though that I haven't ever been able to truly enjoy the Harry Potter films. Love the books too much and some of my favorites (scenes and/or characters) are naturally the ones that get cut when adapting.

I flat-out refused to see Eragon because I did enjoy the books.

I never did see The Lightning Thief because I did hear that it didn't do the book justice.

A movie that was better than its book? My mom really liked the move "The Firm." Mainly because the screenwriters changed the ending from the book and made it a better ending. She says the same about The Horse Whisperer.

I thought the first Twilight movie was better than the book, but I still didn't enjoy the movie.

Linz said...

I am WITH you on this one!!! Books and their movie counterparts have to be treated as seperate entities. And yes, the Percy Jackson movie was disappointing. The books are really fun, though!!

Adventures in Children's Publishing said...

I'm totally with you that while a movie and the book that inspires it can both be likable, for me, I usually prefer the book much more. Two exceptions that came to mind for me were The Ya-Ya Sisterhood and The Joy-Luck Club. I adored both formats. For me, the Harry Potter movies have to take out so much of the detail I love from the books. And do I dare talk about how horrific the Twilight movies are? Books are hard to compete with.


MT said...

Narnia, of course. I love both the movies and the books.
I've enjoyed many movie versions of Alice in Wonderland - more than the original book.

Anonymous said...

Self-proclaimed Potter freak right here. There are moments when I think the books surpass the movies but I can always tell that the cast and crew gave their best to make the movies good. You're so right that they're two different ways of telling stories. I think a lot of people forget that and that's why they complain so much.

Another one of my favorites is "Girl, Interrupted." I saw the movie then read the memoir and while the book's more intimate, the movie hurts more which makes it a little more memorable.

And of course I can't think of any I didn't like off the top of my head, though I know there are tons. Stupid Tuesday pretending to be Monday.

Karen Lange said...

Love that saying; it's a good one to remember. This is going back a while, but I liked the Anne of Green Gables books and movies. I can see why the books differ somewhat, L.M. Montgomery has a way with words that is not conducive to the screen. Talk about trimming scenes...
Have a good week:)

Mary Campbell said...

I liked the Lord of the Rings movies too, but I didn't like how they changed the character of Faramir - he's cool in the book and a jerk in the movie - didn't like that - Also I loved Return of the King book and the movie didn't quite live up to it. I like the Harry Potter movies too - my favorites or the Prisoner of Azkaban and The 6th one. Any mostly I can appreciate the movie and the books for what they are. I enjoyed the How to Train your dragon movie, and I'm reading the book to my boys right now - they're different but I like them both.

Lisa said...

I think you nailed it with Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter. I didn't even start reading Harry Potter until I'd seen the third movie and decided I really wanted to know more. What a pity the depth of the books can't be represented by the movies.

It's a tricky business transforming a book into a movie. And Eragon is definitely an example of that.

Jan Markley said...

The lion, the witch and the wardrobe was one of my faves. I also liked The English Patient movie adaptation even though they left out one of my favourite story lines.

Aubrie said...

I have to go with you on this one and say LOTR and Harry Potter. I do want to see "The Road " adaptation because I read the book, but I haven't seen it yet.

Amanda said...

I saw Eragon. My BIL loves that series. I was unfortunate enough to watch the movie which has given me no desire to read the books. I haven't seen or read How to Train your Dragon, but my husband saw it with my boys and they all loved it!

I love the Harry Potter series in movie and book. My husband has watched a few of the Harry Potters with me and has had to listen to my griping about the changes made in the movies. The most offending scene was the one where the Weasley's house was burnt down in #6.

Carolyn V. said...

I totally agree with you on Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings. As for the movies that weren't as good as the books...there are just too many to say. =)

Tyrean Martinson said...

I totally agree. Some books are far better than their movies, some movies are better than books (rare), and some just are good individually. I enjoy both the Harry Potter books and movies, although movie #6 just didn't feel right to me. I'm still looking forward to #7.
I loved How to Train Your Dragon the movie, and am planning to read the books even if they aren't like the movie.

Lord of the Rings is a toss up for me. I read those books over and over, and had such complete pictures in my head for the main characters that I had a hard time with seeing someone else's vision for them. I really like the way the movies pull the action and the plot together smoothly, but I miss some of those side offshoot adventures that didn't make the cut.

I love both the Narnia books and movies, even if they aren't exactly alike. I have enjoyed the characters in both, although I'm a little nervous about The Voyage of the Dawn Treader because it is my favorite book, and I wonder, will the movie be as good as the book with my imaginary landscape attached? Only watching the movie will tell.

Jackee said...

The Lightning Thief book is WAY, WAY worth reading. And not much like the movie.

I love LOTR movies and agree with you--they really tried to stay true to the heart of the story. And I'd add to the list Anne of Green Gables. I loved both movie and book as a kid.

Is it bad that as much as I love the How to Train Your Dragon books, I loved the movie more?

Lords of the Manor said...

Confession: Lord of the Rings, both the book and the movie, bored me to sleep. I've tried both three times, and haven't made it through either one all the way yet.

My all time favorite is Phantom of the Opera, love the book, love the movie, love the musical...

Aubrie said...

I just thought of another book-tv adaptation that I liked: Anne of Green Gables.

Thanks for the encouraging words on my blog :)

Melanie Goldmund said...

I really liked the film Whale Rider and I understand it was based on a book, but after reading the book reviews, I didn't bother to order it. Apparently, it was completely different from the film and not as good, either.

And if anybody in America has ever heard of British actor Richard Armitage, he's just finished starring in a mini-series based on a book called Strike Back by ex-SAS officer Chris Ryan. I've read the book and it's okay, very much a manly man book with lots of emphasis on weapons and fights, but the mini-series was much better!

I really liked the Lord of the Rings movies, but I got a little impatient while reading the books.

It's been so long since I've read C.S. Lewis that I don't remember the Narnia books, but I really enjoyed both films! And I enjoyed the Harry Potter films, too, along with loving the books.

T. Anne said...

Yes, yes, and yes again! You don't know how many times I've corralled my hubby into watching a movie with me because the book was SO great. Needless to say the movie was a let down.

elizabeth mueller said...

Oh, so true... The Last Unicorn is almost true to its book plot, though, but you are oh so right... Books are way better than movies!