In general, I’m more into books than movies.
Not that I have anything against movies, you understand. I love my Star Wars films as much as the next gal (as long as we’re talking the original three). A good romantic comedy every now and then is good for my soul, and sometimes there is nothing like watching a good knock-down dra- out shoot ’em up-and-beat ’em senseless story on the big screen. I have my favorite movies – Star Wars, Serenity, The Gods Must be Crazy – that I’ll watch repeatedly and never seem to get tired of.
But for the most part, I prefer the books. I like to use my own imagination, read at my own speed, and sort of create my own little world out of what the author has given me to work with. Still, I always go see the movie that’s been made out of one of my favorite books. Even though the Viking looks at me and just shakes his head.
“What?” I say.
“You know you’re going to hate it,” he says.
And he’s right. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy? It’s fun, and I confess to swooning over Viggo Mortensen as Aragorn, but there are just too many details wrong. Things added, things left out, plot points altered, characters where the casting went horribly wrong. I feel the same way about the Harry Potter movies. As for the new Jack Reacher flick – well, I couldn’t bring myself to even go see that one. Tom Cruise as my hero, Jack? No thank you.
But every now and then, a movie actually does it better than the book. I have three films in mind where I believe this to be true.
The first needs no introduction. By now, I think we are all acquainted with that perfect kiss, and a lot of us have probably been heard to mutter, “You killed my father – prepare to die!” Or even, “as you wish,” in a more serious moment.
After seeing the movie for the first time, being a book girl I naturally dug up the book from the library with great eagerness and was surprised to find it dark and somewhat disturbing. The Man in Black bordered on being physically and emotionally abusive to Buttercup and the description of the life sucking machine might have cost me a couple of hours of sleep. Maybe if I had read the book before seeing the movie I might have felt differently, but in this case it’s definitely the movie that has my love.
The second movie I’m thinking of is Holes, by Louis Sachar. This was a good book. It was well written and fun and I have nothing against it. But the movie somehow managed to draw me into a place of wonder and magic where the book didn’t take me. I’ve forgotten most of the details, I just realized, and I’m wanting to watch this movie again. What I do remember is the feeling of absolute delight in a perfect ending when it was over. I sighed that long, happy sigh, the way you do when something resonates in that perfect, heart filling sort of way, and carried that feeling around with me for a couple of days.
Lastt, but certainly not least, is Ordinary People. This truly is one of my favorite movies ever. It’s hard to go wrong with a cast that includes Mary Tyler Moore, Donald Sutherland, Timothy Hutton, and Judd Hirsch, especially when directed by Robert Redford. I saw the movie first and fell in love with it. When I found the book I was thrilled – if the movie was awesome, surely the book would be even better. But no. In this case, once again, the movie had the magic and the book felt flat. If you haven’t seen it, I think you’ll find it to be one of the older films that holds up to the test of time. Here’s the trailer:
So what about you – any movies you love that are better than the books they were based on?