Iâ€™m about to make a sweeping generalization…but I hope someone out there can prove me wrong.
Have you ever noticed that when you read a book and see the movie of the same story, the book is always better than the movie?
There are a couple of simple explanations… A book allows you to get into the characterâ€™s head better, because their thoughts are on the page. And when you look at how much shorter a screenplay is than a book, you realize the screenwriters have to lose a lot of material from the book in order to fit it into a movie.
But on the other hand… A movie can be so much more visual, and can bring a book to life in an almost tangible way. So why is the book always better? Or am I wrong about this?
There are some movies Iâ€™ve enjoyed without ever reading the original novel. Youâ€™ve Got Mail, based on the book The Shop Around The Corner. Heartburn, from the book of the same title. I canâ€™t comment on the book v. movie question there.
And I have to say, The Sound of Music (my favorite movie) was better than the book The Von Trapp Family Singers. But it doesnâ€™t really count, as the movie was only very loosely based on the book. It wasnâ€™t an adaptation of the book for the big screen.
Some great books have been transformed into terrible movies. The Bonfire of the Vanities (horribly miscast, IMHO). Captain Corelliâ€™s Mandolin. And my kids tell me they didnâ€™t enjoy the Eragon movie (they loved the book). Reportedly, The Other Boleyn Girl was a poor reflection of the book, but I havenâ€™t seen that one.
There have, of course, been some excellent adaptationsâ€”the Harry Potter movies, a couple of John Grisham stories, Stephen Kingâ€™s Miseryâ€”but I wouldnâ€™t say they were better than the original books.
I havenâ€™t read The Diving Bell And The Butterfly, nor read the book. Apparently they’re both great – I donâ€™t know which to do first. Any recommendations?
When I hear that a book I love is being made into a movie, Iâ€™m cast into nail-biting anticipation about how good the movie will end up. Can Sophie Kinsellaâ€™s Shopaholic heroine Becky Bloomwood be as brilliant on screen as she is in the books?
I wonder what the secret is to turning a great book into an even better movie…if thatâ€™s possible. Iâ€™ll bet Blake Snyder knowsâ€”heâ€™s a Hollywood screenwriter who gave a brilliant talk about story structure at the Romance Writers of America convention last weekend.
What do you think about the book v. movie question? Give me your recommendations for â€œa great movie from a book,â€ and Iâ€™ll go rent the DVD.
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