It is no secret that we Quirky Girls love to compare our books to the movies they spawn. It’s all in good fun and adds another dynamic to the regular book review. I, myself, am a big fan of watching movies that come from books and comparing the two. I usually can separate the two mediums and appreciate the changes that are made. Other times not so much.
I can’t remember where I read this recently (someone who posted on Goodreads, maybe?), but someone made a comment that books and movies aren’t meant to provide the same experience. Seems obvious, I know, but I think when we compare the two mediums in terms of the same material, we expect the movie (because it often comes later) to be similar to the book. When we know that in all probability, it’s not going to be. Reading and providing everything else except for the words is entirely different than a film (especially in a theater), which by nature is a much more sensory experience. Even if the storylines, etc. remain the same, the intent is often different.
I think for the most part, we Quirky Girls as a whole are pretty good at separating the two, but it is an excellent point to keep in mind when watching movies based on books.
I, myself, sometimes prefer to watch a movie first and then read the book in order to better appreciate the movie on its own. Other times, I prefer to read the books first because I don’t want my imagination to be sullied by the movie. Case in point-I didn’t start reading Harry Potter until 2001. The first movie had just been released and I was determined to read the book before seeing the movie. I am so glad I did as I got to imagine the world and characters Rowling created and then appreciate just how exactly right the movies got it.
However, I chose to do the opposite when it came to The Time Traveler’s Wife. I watched the movie first. Honestly, I was completely underwhelmed. I wanted to like that movie way more than I really did. But! It made me want to read the book! The same weekend I viewed the movie, I bought the book. I knew they were leaving out some really good stuff and I wanted to know exactly what that was. It ended up being one of my favorite books of the year. I thought it was so well-written. I was completely invested in the characters to the point of getting all worked up and angry at some of the characters. I really felt they were real and had to forcefully remind myself that they were not. Without having seen the movie, I probably would still be waffling if I wanted to read the book or not.
Another example: Many moons ago Mists of Avalon was made into a mini-series. I LOVED it. TNT re-ran it all week and I watched it a few times. And there was this one scene that kept intriguing me further. This look that Guinivere (Samantha Mathis) got in her eye. I just knew she was adding more depth to this one moment based on something in the book, perhaps that same scene. With each viewing, I looked for this moment to scrutinize further this look she had. I couldn’t stop pondering what it could possibly mean. A few days later I went out and bought the book and some of my fondest reading memories are from that week of being completely absorbed in this (literally) oversized, many-paged book.
I do appreciate when I see movies first. Sometimes, when the acting is particularly spectacular (or the screenplay has a lot of holes), the movie will make me want to read the book to find out more. Sometimes seeing a movie will spur me to read the book it is based on immediately (White Oleander, Soul Surfer) in order to learn more. Other times I watch a movie because I just loved the book so much, am greedy, and want more.
I feel like as I’ve gotten older I have come to appreciate more the differences between books and movie adaptations. I am more forgiving for the necessary and sometimes not-so-necessary changes. (But I am somewhat less forgiving when it comes to tv adaptations. . . ) I still have moments when I stubbornly cling to the source material, but these instances are few and far between. At least I like to think so. . .
How about you, dear reader? How do you like your movie adaptations? Do you want a completely faithful retelling or are you okay with some changes? Do you like to read the book first and then watch the movie or the opposite? Do you like book v movie comparisons or would you rather do without?