Friday, 22 April 2016

When the Movies Were Better

Rule number 1 of book lovers everywhere: the book is always better. Or is it?

There's always such excitement when it is announced that a book is going to be adapted for the big screen, but with this comes the almost inevitable disappointment. It's sad when a story and world you love has been changed in some way that you didn't expect. A lot of the time the people adapting the book will have reasons for the decisions they make, but sometimes the changes seem completely out of the blue. A popular example is the movie version of The Lightning Thief. I saw the movie first and actually enjoyed it, but when I read the book I was surprised. How did this story become something so different? I appreciated some of the changes that were made for the big screen, and honsetly didn't think Annabeth's hair colour mattered, but it was not the same story that I read.

Sometimes we are a bit picky when the movies don't portray things exactly how we imagined them, but that's what happens when we are free to interpret books. It only sucks when the movie completely different (The Lightning Thief), or is so terrible it's cringe-worthy (which is what I found City of Bones was - but this is just my opinion).

With freedom of interpretation in mind, that's just what happens when books get adapted, and why we normally prefer the original. But is it possible for us to prefer the movie?

I've found 2 instances where I genuinely preferred the movie to the book. The first time this happened was with Chris Colfer's Struck by Lightning. Although it wasn't quite a 'book-of-the-movie' type thing, the story was designed to have more perspective than Carson's journal could give, and so I found that I enjoyed the movie version much more.

Another example is with The Maze Runner. I really enjoyed book 1 of the series, mainly because I thought it was leading onto some huge conspiracy/discovery that would be deeply explored in the rest of the series. So much happened at the end of book 1 that I mainly loved it because of the excitement it gave me for book 2. My expectations sadly fell flat. But when it came to the movie, there were changes made that didn't change the plot (although there wasn't really much plot to change) but did make it more enjoyable in a way only a visual adaptation could. I haven't seen the sequel to the movie yet, but the changes that have been made from what I saw in the trailer seem to be pushing the story into a different direction that I'm excited for.

I conclude that there can be exceptions to the rule (*gasp*), but it really depends on you and what you take from what you read/watch.
Have you seen any movies that you think were much better than the books? Do you prefer to read the book before or after seeing the movie?


  1. I don't go out of my way to read books before going to see a movie. Case and point: the Help. I really enjoyed the movie, but I didn't have any desire to read the book before or after watching the movie. Of course, there are books like Harry Potter. I'm a superfan, so of course I read the books before I watched the movies. And I know there were changes made for the movies, but I didn't mind. Theeeen there are the Lord of the Rings movies. I went to see the first one because Elijah Wood was in it and one of my favorite movies when I was a kiddo was Flipper. I ended up becoming OBSESSED with the Lord of the Rings after that, which encouraged me to read the books...which I did not care for at the age of 13. I've reading them in my late twenties, and so far I'm enjoying them so much more now than when I was 13. I'm still a bigger fan of the movies though.

    1. I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks one way isn't better than the other! I think I normally prefer to read the book before the movie just because I like to know the author's original intention. In fact, I haven't watched The Help yet just because I am waiting until I get around to reading the book. I tried to read the Hobbit but I couldn't get into it, but I've seen the first LOTR movie and thought it was amazing, so I think I'm going to carry on watching the movie adaptations and leave Tolkien's books for later.

      Thanks for visiting!