Book vs Movie/Series

Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by Khorn, May 13, 2022 at 9:17 AM.

  1. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    I’m not a great book reader but my wife is a very dedicated one. One thing we share is we both find that in almost all cases the Movie and maybe to a lesser extent TV series are a letdown to the book sometimes horrifically so.

    Any readers here who have access to both generally prefer the visual versions?
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  2. One of my favourite books and favourite movies is ' The Grapes of Wrath' .

    But..the book is better for a number of reasons.
    It also features a downbeat ending which is more in tune with the rest of it whereas the movie has a somewhat contrived happy ending.
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  3. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Marple, PA, USA
    Only movie I thought was a homerun was Silence of the Lambs. Great book, better movie
  4. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    I think personal experience contributes to the interpretation of a book and specially it’s characters. In a Movie version these are being fed to us on the screen and we may have to adapt to those changes.
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  5. Juan Matus

    Juan Matus Reformed Audiophile

    I think you are right. More often not the book is far better. I can only think of ones where I think they were about equally as good for the most part. I think it might work best when someone takes the basic ideas and does something different. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas was a pretty good adaptation of a book imo. Blade Runner took the book and did something great with it, not really faithful but equally as good. Lord of the Rings was about as good as I could have asked for in an adaptation. Also, Apocalypse Now was an interesting adaptation of Heart of Darkness and a great film in it's own right. Watchmen was a pretty good adaptation of the graphic novel and I probably liked it the same. A Scanner Darkly was a good adaptation of the book. I thought the film of Fight Club was equally as good and maybe better than the book. I actually liked Clockwork Orange the film better than the book. I didn't read it but many say Shawshank Redemption the film is better than the book.
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  6. rockerreds

    rockerreds Senior Member

    Me & Earl & The Dying Girl film was better than the book.
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  7. Jim Pattison

    Jim Pattison Forum Resident

    Kitchener ON
    The TV series The Leftovers, based on the novel of the same name by Tom Perrotta, was an improvement on the book. The first season followed the novel fairly closely. The subsequent two seasons continued and expanded the story. The fact that Perrotta was actively involved in the series was certainly a factor.

    More recently, I thought the mini-series based on Emily St. John Mandel’s Station Eleven was just as good as the novel, even though the series made some substantial changes to the plot and characters.

    These two examples are exceptions. In most cases, even a good adaptation will ultimately be disappointing if you’ve read the book(s) first, because it won’t match the movie you’ve already seen in your imagination.
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  8. ssmith3046

    ssmith3046 Forum Resident

    Arizona desert
    I'm an avid reader so I'll stick with the books.
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  9. Chazro

    Chazro Forum Resident

    West Palm Bch, Fl.
    Although The Exorcist is a great movie, I read the book before the movie was released. In my mind Regan never had the hideous monster-like look that they gave her in the movie. I remember in NY, there were stories of people passing out in theaters due to fright! Well, the book was better!;)
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  10. mmars982

    mmars982 Forum Resident

    Pittsburgh, PA
    I can only think of two cases where a movie improved on a book:

    The Outlaw Josey Wales is based on a book called Gone to Texas. I read the book once and although the general story is the same, there are lots of details changed for the movie that I thought were great improvements.

    Sideways - the book is quite good, but again they changed a lot for the movie that I think made it better. I think the movie actually came out before the book was ever published.

    In every other case I can think of where I read the book and saw the movie, the book was better.
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  11. SmallDarkCloud

    SmallDarkCloud Forum Resident

    You'll probably hear this often, but Coppola's The Godfather is much better than Puzo's novel. The book isn't terrible, but it gets into lurid, trashy territory at times, which Coppola (and Puzo himself, who scripted) wisely discarded.
  12. uzn007

    uzn007 Pack Rat

    Raleigh, N.C.
    Occasionally the movie/series will beat the book, but it's rare. The Godfather and The Maltese Falcon spring to mind, and there are probably a couple of others, but usually the best you can hope for when adapting a novel to the screen is something that's somewhat different but great in its own right. It's very rare, IMO, to translate a prose novel faithfully to the screen and to also improve upon it, because so much of what makes it great is... the prose. Without tons of dialogue or narration, it's hard to capture that in film, so your best bet is usually to try something different. A good example of that is Robert Altman's The Long Goodbye, which departs significantly from the source novel but winds up succeeding as a movie (not "better" than the novel, IMO, but great in its own right).

    I think The Maltese Falcon is an unusual case because the story is great, but the prose itself is pretty pedestrian, IMO. That allowed John Huston to adapt it extremely faithfully while still improving on it.
  13. SmallDarkCloud

    SmallDarkCloud Forum Resident

    Also, another common example people mention - Jaws. Puzo's novel has some quality, but Benchley's novel is pretty terrible. The one part of it I kind-of liked was the ending, where Brody has an existential moment of wisdom, and the shark basically dies of exhaustion (really). But even that was basically cribbed from the ending of Melville's Moby Dick. Spielberg and Gottlieb wisely dropped that entirely, for a much better ending.
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  14. There is a subplot in the 'Jaws' book that was also widely dropped involving an affair between Brody's wife and Hooper.
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  15. That's not actually a book. It's one of four stories in Stephen King's ' Different Seasons'.
    Three of the stories were made into movies.
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  16. SmallDarkCloud

    SmallDarkCloud Forum Resident

    I like both. I wouldn't rank Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption as one of King's best stories (it's a novella), but I think it's pretty good. The story is also much less sentimental than the movie, and more graphic and unsparing in depicting how terrible life in jail is for the inmates. The movie included some of the darkness (like the prisoner committing suicide after being released), but by no means all of it.

    That "triumph of the human spirit" theme from the movie isn't really there in King's novella, or if so, very latent. King is not a sentimentalist, which I think works in his favor.
  17. SmallDarkCloud

    SmallDarkCloud Forum Resident

    There's also a subplot of the town being into debt to the Mob, which is another reason why the mayor wants to keep the beaches open. He might be killed if the money stops rolling in. I thought the movie worked just fine without it; the idea of the town needing tourist dollars to survive is strong enough.

    The book also has Brody as the Amity native and Mrs. Brody as the outsider from New York. Another example of a change by Spielberg and Gottlieb improving the movie. Brody and Quint both being locals and experienced at sea is redundant.

    When Jaws II started production, there was a script that introduced the Mafia subplot. That went away when the original director (John D. Hancock) was fired.
    Last edited: May 13, 2022 at 11:32 AM
  18. Juan Matus

    Juan Matus Reformed Audiophile

    Oh and I'll say The Big Short was a really good adaptation of a book that I enjoyed equally as well. No small feat given the subject matter.

    And there was that move Adaptation (2002) which was really good and creaative- but I never read the book.

    Adaptation (film) - Wikipedia
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  19. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    When choosing what to watch in most cases my wife will choose something based on a book whether having previously read it or not. I’ll agree as in our experience book based material is far more consistently successful than ones that are not. This of course if the final movie reasonably closely follows the original plot and doesn’t turn into an unrecognizable presentation rife with action for just actions sake.
  20. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    Funny, speaking about JAWS I’ve never read the book and have the unopened unopened blu-ray. Guess I should to check it out on line.
  21. mbd40

    mbd40 Steely Dan Fan

    Hope, Ar
    Stepford Wives made for better movies than novel. The novel isn't anything special aside from the premise.

    Misery made for a great movie. I enjoyed the novel too though.
  22. 'Misery' made for a good movie based on Stephen King material.
    Those are few and far between.
    Some great, some so-so, some awful.
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  23. The Panda

    The Panda Forum Mutant

    Marple, PA, USA
    Christine was also very good.
  24. Joker to the thief

    Joker to the thief Forum Resident

    London, UK
    For me The third Man. Huge Graham Greene fan and the movie was my gateway to reading him but the novel disappointed - mainly because it was essentially a draft Greene wrote as a blue print to find his way into the screenplay
  25. Khorn

    Khorn Dynagrunt Thread Starter

    Liked “Misery” but for me it’s “Stand by Me” and “The Langoliers”. Disappointed in the “Golden Years” series.

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