Monday, May 7, 2012

A Question for the Ages: What’s Better, the Book or the Movie?

This weekend the husband and I went to see The Hunger Games; and while I thought it a good movie, I still think the book was better.   The movie lacked some of the more interesting cliffhangers and foreshadowing (not to mention, completely removed a likeable character).  I gave the book a B-; and based on that same scale, I would have rated the movie a C. 
It gives rise to a question being asked more these days as more movies based from books are being made: What is better, the book or the movie? 
Before The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, I was adamant that a movie could never (ever, ever) be better than a book.  And then Peter Jackson wowed us with an artistic genius that I doubt even Tolkien could have matched.  Tolkien himself admitted that he was no author, but a linguist; the books allowing him a platform to create his Elven language.   
I read The Hobbit when I was a seventh grader and I will confess this: I hated it!  I thought it the worst book ever written!  I remember skipping chunks of the novel just to save my sanity!  If I had to read one more description on how the blades of grass grew from a sparkling emerald meadow, I was going to vomit! 
When I saw the trailer for The Fellowship of the Ring in 2001, I was not wide-eyed, clutching my chest, and squeezing tears of joy from my eyes as some of my friends and other moviegoers were.  But fast forward a few years and sitting in my DVD cabinet you’ll find all three extended version sets (oh how much time I’ve spent enthralled in this epic trilogy!  Worth.  Every.  Second.).   Now, I can’t wait to see The Hobbit movie, even though so many (many, many) years ago, I often fantasized about throwing the book in the toilet.
I still stand by that in MOST cases, the book is better than the movie.  But I’m interested in what you have to say on the matter.  Is there a movie based from a book that blew you out of the water; whilst the book itself waned?   Or how about the other way around?  Have you ever found yourself so excited to see a movie based from a book you fell in love with, only to be extremely disappointed?


  1. Overall, I think books are better...I agree with Lord of the Rings and I would venture that Harry Potter does a fantastic job with the movies. I think the books are better. What I think is fantastic is when filmmakers take the book and their task of bringing it to life seriously. Superman movies and most of the Batman movies before this latest rounds were too cartoony and even comical. But when taken seriously, they make great movies and perhaps motivate people to read the books. I was late to the Harry Potter books. I didn't start reading them until I saw the first 3 movies but I had to know what was happening next so I went and bought the books. THAT is quite a testament to the movies. :)

  2. That is true, the Harry Potter movies are fantastic and really do provide the novels with some real competition! I would venture to say that is the best book(s) to film franchise out there. Although, you still have the movies leaving a lot of information out, but unless you want a seven hour movie, I suppose it necessary to cut information! :)

  3. I know some people dread seeing film adaptations of their favourite books, but I love it. It's never going to be as rich or complex as the book; it's just fun seeing the characters step out of your imagination and onto the screen. I can only think of one adaptation that truly infuriated me - that paragon of Great American Literature, He's Just Not That Into You, aka my Bible. The movie totally conveyed the exact opposite message of the book. She falls for the guy, he rejects her, she keeps pushing it (which the book says you should never do), and he finally changes his mind (which the book says he will never do)!!! Whew...sorry, got a bit worked up there.


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