31 August 2009

When books become movies

By: Jessica B.
Tagged: Movies, Random

I love books and movies and sometimes, my favorite books become movies and the result is….moreso bad than good.

On Saturday after a full day of shopping, TC and I went to see “Time Traveler’s Wife” and I found myself, as I normally do, comparing it to the book.

I read the book about a year ago and liked it a lot. I think it’s safe to say that the book “broke” a piece inside of me and made me cry harder than I have at any book, even more than “The Bridges of Madison County.” Don’t mock me for reading it. It did when it was super popular and I was younger and more impressionable.

Moving on, while I enjoyed the movie (no spoilers I promise!), I didn’t enjoy it as much as the book. I think it’s safe to say that when books are adapted into movies, the book is just about always more enjoyable because you can imagine the characters and actions taking place better in your head than someone else envisioning it on screen. For example, while Eric Bana and Rachel McAdams are great, they aren’t really who I envisioned for Clare and Henry and if you read the book you’ll see why.

I can only think of one movie I like better than its books counterpart: “The Devil Wears Prada.” I think it was better acted and more well rounded than the book, which just kind of…ended. Um and Meryl and the fashion within it, I die!

Other awful movie/book adaptions include:

  • Twilight (come on, you know I’m right)
  • Nanny Diaries (why ScarJo, why?)
  • The Firm (pre-crazy Tom Cruise) and
  • Great Expectations (even Gwenie couldn’t save that one)

But despite the bad Twilight interpretation, I’m beyond excited to see New Moon in November.

I might be a bit of a book/movie snob but I’ll stick with the books, even though curiosity to see them on screen will likely get the best of me :)

What do you think, are you more of a book or movie purist? Or what movies have you seen that you liked better than the books or vice versa?

Note: So a friend of mine e-mailed me today, mad that I didn’t mention my shopping finds from the weekend. I didn’t want to bore everyone with it but if you’d like to see pictures, let me know! I’m always looking for a reason to show off fun stuff!


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  2. Rebekah says:

    I’m always afraid to see the movies made from books I love. “The Other Boleyn Girl,” what a godawful letdown. I LIKE “Time Traveler’s Wife” but I don’t quite love it – so I’m actually kind of looking forward to the movie in hopes that it will make me as happy as the book seems to make everyone else.

  3. Lil' Woman says:

    I agree I liked the TTW book better than the movie! :)

  4. bob says:

    I always prefer to read books because movie doesn’t give much impact on me as books do…… but this wont stop me to see movies also

  5. E.P. says:

    I am totally in agreement with you about this. More often than not, the movie just falls short. All the Harry Potter movies (especially this last one) are on the list for me. They’re good, but just not the same. And I haven’t read the Time Traveler’s Wife, but I plan to before I see the movie.

  6. Hal says:

    weirdly enough I am reading devil wears prada right now cause I love the movie! but beyond that, I totally think all books are soo much better, pretty much no matter what. I also just love reading so maybe i’m bias :)

  7. katelin says:

    i totally agree with you with ‘devil wears prada’, i loved the movie way more than the book. i also love ‘the notebook’ as a movie more than i enjoyed the book. probably because that movie is just amazing and i read the book second but still. otherwise i usually prefer the book version but in no way object to watching the movie before reading it.

    and woo new moon! :)

  8. MinD says:

    I compare books and movies every time. The Notebook, the Lord of the Rings trilogy, Twilight, so many others and the book always trumps the film versions. Some get it close, some are way off mark. I guess it’ll always happen that way though.

  9. golublog says:

    I’ve never liked the movie better than the book not even once.

  10. Erin says:

    I took an English/Film class in college where we would read the book and then watch the movie. The goal was to be able to critique them separately. I’m now much better at looking at a movie and saying “It was a great movie but a bad adaptation”. Or the reverse. Very rarely is it a good movie AND a good adaptation. I can only think of a few (and strangely, they are all based on Stephen King books). However, it’s funny that you mention this because I just watching “Coraline” and I thought it was a good movie. I hated the book, though. And, like Lauren’s comment, it was a Neil Gaiman book!

  11. Kate says:

    Usually, when a book is made into a movie, I never like the movie as much (although I agree with you about The Devil Wears Prada). One movie in particular that sticks out in my mind is The Namesake. The book was so moving and the movie was so … eh. If memory serves, they even moved the location for the movie — I think the book takes place in Mass. and the movie in NYC. Can you say lame?

  12. Confessions of a Shopaholic and Nanny Diaries were EPICALLY HORRENDOUS adaptations. True disappointments.

    But yes, Devil Wears Prada was excellent.

  13. Bing says:

    Nothing annoys me more than when I read a great book (White Oleander, The House of Sand and Fog, What Dreams May Come) and the movie is completely different than the book. I know things have to be omitted to make the story fit into the 2 hour time frame. But come on! You can’t just change the ending in the movie version. Nothing annoys me more than that.

    And I am totally in agreeance with Twilight being meh. Fingers crossed New Moon is better.

  14. Katie K says:

    Since I don’t get around to reading the book before I see the movie (Twilight, Devil Wears Prada, Nanny Diaries, Time Traveler’s Wife), I don’t get the chance to compare it, but after hearing about Eat, Pray, Love filming in New York recently, I decided to read the book in time to someday see the movie!

    The book has so much depth and meaning, so I see what you mean about books being more enjoyable than the movies. However, I have a feeling the Eat, Pray, Love movie might pull it off too!

  15. Abby says:

    I feel this way about The Davinci Code and Angels and Demons – the books were WAY better.

    I just finished reading The Lovely Bones and it was AWESOME. The movie comes out in November but I’m not sure I’ll see it because the book was so good.

  16. Paula says:

    The only book I think was turned well into a movie was Bridget Jones 1 and 2. The Shopaholic one was okay but they changed way too many details. Apart from that, I would generally always choose the book version over the film.

    Although the Harry Potter books and LOTR trilogy transferred well to film…

  17. I started reading The Time Traveler’s Wife YEARS ago when it came out. My boyfriend and I read it to each other out loud. I read Claire’s parts and he read (I can’t even remember the husband’s name…) but this was when we were long distance when I was in college, and I wasn’t allowed to read it when he wasn’t there… and then life happened so we stopped. It’s in our house somewhere… I’d love to read it again (and by read it again I mean start it again and actually finish it).

    But as for movies that sorely disappoint? I always get upset at the Harry Potters. And I had big big issues with Where The Heart Is way back when. I loved the book. I read that book so much that the spine fell apart. And I read it in one day the first time.

  18. Baby says:

    I have to say I’d completely agree.

    99.9% of the time I’d take the book over the movie adaptation anyday!

    However, that will not stop me from seeing the midnight screening of New Moon in Nov!!

    Hypocritical, yes.

    Absolutly necessary, double yes yes.

  19. Andhari says:

    They turned many good books into disappointing movies a lot, didn’t they? I admit I am dissapointed in twilight movie but I’m still excited, and I love rpattz and taylor lautner playing edward and jacob..hope they make it better in New Moon.

  20. L.C.T. says:

    I was given the Time Traveler’s Wife (book) for my birthday last week so I’m excited to read it :)

  21. Caz says:

    I am ALWAYS a book is better than movie person. Looking forward to seeing TTW when it comes out here though, as I think Rachel and Eric are pretty similar to the characters I pictured. We’ll have to see though.

  22. bianca says:

    9 times out of 10 I’ll pick the book over the movie. I think it’s because I like the images I create of characters/locations. Most of the time when I see the movie version I get really upset because it’s not how I imagined it. Example: Twilight. I loved that book and the movie was not at all what I wanted. Not to say I won’t be lining up to see New Moon with the rest of the 15 year olds :)

  23. mandy says:

    You know, I was all excited to see The Time Travelers Wife but now, I just can’t bring myself to go see it because I am afraid it will ruin it. I much prefer to have the idea of the book in my head. One big book turned to movie where I absolutely hated the movie was Memoirs of a Geisha. Although I hated the book Eat, Pray, Love (so much so that I couldnt even finish the book) I will probably see the movie because its a Julia Roberts flick.

  24. A Super Girl says:

    I’m usually a book person; unless it’s been awhile since I read it. Then I can still appreciate the movie because I’ve forgotten most of the book!!

  25. I love Time Travelers Wife but I have not read the book. I think TTW is my next book to read! In general I totally agree with you though I wasn’t upset with the Twilight film as most…

  26. Erin says:

    Generally, I almost always prefer the book to the movie. That’s not to say that I don’t LOVE some movies that are based on books, but they just can’t get it all in a 2 hour movie.

    What is up with movies these days always being based on a book or a remake of another movie??? Where are the original movies???

  27. Lauren says:

    My boyfriend and I always have this debate. I like comparing the books to their adaptation, while he likes to keep them as separate entities. That said, i think it’s quite hard to keep them separate – no matter what, you’ll compare. There was an interesting article in the AV Club a bit ago saying how the only true reviews of book adaptations are written by those who’ve never read the book.

    Ramblings aside, have you seen the film “Stardust?” The movie was super cute, so I decided to read the book after – written by Neil Gaiman who’s really good. Honestly? I hated the book. It lacked the magic the movie had. So, sad to say, that was the one time I honestly can say the movie was better.

  28. Jenn says:

    I’m reading The Time Traveler’s Wife now and am not moved to tears. Is something wrong with me? I heard the movie wasn’t good at all.