Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Books and Movies

On the eve of the release of the Hunger Games movie, I feel like maybe it's time to take a look at books and their cinema adaptations. I'll be honest here. I haven't read Hunger Games yet. I've been wanting to, but it's always out of the library. But to be honest, I probably won't go and see the movie either. I want to see it, but not until after I've read the book. If I see the film first, it might ruin the book for me.

I'm having the opposite problem right now with We Need To Talk About Kevin. I saw the film a while ago and was blown away by it. Dark, disturbing, honest and very real, it's everything I look for in a movie. I think it's probably the best film I've seen in several years. But I hadn't read the book before I saw it. Now the book is sitting in my to-be-read pile, and I'm not sure if I want to read it. I'm afraid reading the book will ruin the movie for me. I've never had this problem before.

I'm always prepared to be disappointed by cinematic renderings of books. Some are better than others, but in general, the book is always better. When I come across a film that really is as good, or better than the book, I take note. It's a short list....

The Sweet Hereafter (film by Atom Egoyan, book by Russell Banks).
Rumble Fish (film by Francis Ford Coppola, book by S E Hinton - interestingly, this is the only film of Hinton's books I do think is better. Coppola's film of The Outsiders doesn't do it for me.)
The Green Mile and The Shawshank Redemption (both by Frank Darabont from books by Stephen King)

And really, that's about it. Winter's Bone was as good as the book, but not better.

Can you think of any films that are better than the book?


  1. I think it's better to try to think of the book and the movie as separate entities with similar themes. They're such different mediums that they're impossible to compare.

  2. I'm doing something very similar right now. With Harry Potter, we saw the movies first, or at least the first movie, and then read the books. And usually I can do what Christine said and consider them two separate entities.

    A while back we watched the movie Stardust because my sister-in-law said "Dustin Hoffman, Gay Pirate, Fabulous". And I love Neil Gaiman. The movie was amazing. Just what I thought a fairy-tale should be. So I bought the book.

    Now I just sit and stare at it and don't dare open it because I really did love the movie and don't want the book to ruin it for me. Same thing with Fight Club. Except minus the gay pirate.

    I don't know what it is about some stories that do that to us. Most the time it doesn't matter to me. But sometimes...

  3. This might tick some people off but since I didn't really like the last Harry Potter book, I thought the movie was better