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Old 05-24-2010, 10:09 PM   #1
SmartyPants
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Books made into movies

What is your general opinion of this?
I tend to read a book first.. and if i like it, it is doubtful the movie will live up to my expectations!
Eg Lolita... i hated the movies, all of them. I dont think it is possible to translate Nabokov's writing style into a movie successfully.

I did, however, like Clockwork Orange - book AND movie. Lovely Bones were great as well.

It also annoys me to no end when the movie is made based on some more or less obscure book, and practically no credit is given to book author.

So what are your examples of a good or not so good book to movie transition?

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Old 05-24-2010, 11:13 PM   #2
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I liked the movie version of Clockwork Orange better than the book. I thought both versions of Memoirs of a Geisha were great. Perfume.. liked the book, not so much the movie. Twilight, loved both versions.
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Old 05-25-2010, 03:11 AM   #3
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I find it rare that a movie adaption of book is ever as good. Of course there are times when it is, but most often than not it just cannot live up to the original material.

I think that applies to any sort of adaption really. Usually a good source material when trying to be adapted into other mediums loses somethings in the transition resulting in mixed results.

Most of the time, I find myself preferring whatever version it is that I experience first. That is unless the other versions are just that much better to overwrite my original opinions. So if I read a book first, chances are I will think that the book is better than the movie. Even particularly good movie versions sometimes lose out to the book just because it is not always possible to fit everything into a movie.

That being said I don't think I've seen many books into movies, or at least with books that I have read.

The Harry Potter movies are hit and miss I find. Enjoyable if you are a fan, but again when they start varying the source material it just doesn't feel right.

I throughly enjoyed the Lord of the Rings movies, however it has been some time since I read the originals so I do not know how much I can stack them up against each other.

I disliked the movie versions of the Twilight series very, very much. Of course I absolutely hated the books so I guess that was a given. Even so the books are far more tolerable(to an extent) than the horrible acting in the movies.
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Old 05-25-2010, 03:25 AM   #4
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Having recently read and loved 'Gone with the Wind' when it was an MR Book Club choice, I then watched the film for the first time and thought that was excellent too.

A rotten film of a great book is the 1962 version of 'The Day of the Triffids'.
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:43 PM   #5
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The Man Who Fell to Earth is an example of a movie that while different from the book, is a very good compliment to the book. By which I mean they go together well.

The Ninth Gate is probably better than the book which inspired it - the Club Dumas. I don't know because I got a bit bored with the book and stopped reading with about 1/5 of the book remaining. To be fair(er) the movie only deals with part of the book's plot.
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:53 PM   #6
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The Ninth Gate is probably better than the book which inspired it - the Club Dumas. I don't know because I got a bit bored with the book and stopped reading with about 1/5 of the book remaining. To be fair(er) the movie only deals with part of the book's plot.
Agreed. I do like the book, except for the ending - it's just plain silly and a bit of a letdown. Well, the end of the movie is a little silly as well, but not as much.
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Old 05-25-2010, 01:59 PM   #7
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I think Merchant/Ivory's adaptations of three of E. M. Forster's novels, "Room with a view", "Maurice" and "Howards End" are fully as good as the books. Perhaps it's also because I think Forster's writing lends itself well to adaptation, for example his dialogue works very well with very little change.

One film adaptation that some people probably feel a little "religious" about is "The Lord of the Rings". I personally find that the film is a highly successful adaptation of a book most would think very difficult to adapt. Whether or not it's better, can be discussed.

I think the film "Blade Runner" improves on the original. I don't find the short story "Do androids dream of electric sheep" nearly as interesting and engaging as the film.

.... and now I've just mentioned three of my absolute favourite films (Maurice, Blade Runner, LOTR).
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:16 PM   #8
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I love the Lord of the Rings movie adaptations. That's some of the best ones. I also love Pride and Prejudice 1995 version. The To Kill a MockingBird movie while good was too concise, should have been longer thereby capturing more of the book.
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:18 PM   #9
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I did read I am Legend after seeing the movie. Both were good. But the movie was just that much different.
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:26 PM   #10
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I think the film "Blade Runner" improves on the original. I don't find the short story "Do androids dream of electric sheep" nearly as interesting and engaging as the film.
I agree with that; and in a similar vein, I thought 'A.I.' was a good SF short story adaptation.
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:43 PM   #11
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I think the film "Blade Runner" improves on the original. I don't find the short story "Do androids dream of electric sheep" nearly as interesting and engaging as the film.

.... and now I've just mentioned three of my absolute favourite films (Maurice, Blade Runner, LOTR).
DADOES is a novel, and a very complex one. I think it's one of Dick's five best. Bladerunner is a work of art in its own right, and one of my favorite movies, but much like my earlier Tevis example - it's not a very faithful adaptation. It's more like an exploration of one of the book's themes. You'd need a mini-series to get things like Mercerism and mood organs right - You wouldn't happen to know what von Trier's up to these days? I bet he could do it right

Oh, and since we're talking Dick, some of his short stories and novels have inspired some truly enjoyable films:

Total Recall - from We Can Remember it for you Wholesale
A Scanner Darkly - reasonably faithful, excellent use of rotoscope animation that really brought across the feel of the novel.

Then we have such abominations as Minority Report and Paycheck. But even those hackneyed blockbusters have the redeeming feature of putting money in the bank accounts of Dick's kids - which, in my opinion, they totally deserve.
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:58 PM   #12
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I did read I am Legend after seeing the movie. Both were good. But the movie was just that much different.
I Am Legend has been filmed three times as, Last Man on Earth, The Omega Man, and I Am Legend. Each of these adaptations have their strong points but I found the latest one to be the weakest. The book has also been released as a graphic novel.

While we're on Matheson, Showtime's Masters of Horror anthology series featured one of his darker short stories (first published in the 50's IIRC) directed by Tobe Hooper called Dance of the Dead:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0643102/

brigidbob says "check it out"
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Old 05-25-2010, 02:59 PM   #13
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I like to read the book first and then watch the movie, though the movie seldom lives up to the book. There are a few which do-- The Reader, I thought was really close.

Only twice have I read a book and preferred the movie.
1. The Horse Whisperer: The movie had a better ending. It was begun before the book was even finished.

2. The English Patient: I found that book almost unreadable.
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Old 05-25-2010, 03:02 PM   #14
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2. The English Patient: I found that book almost unreadable.
Tastes really do differ The English Patient is one of my favorite books and I found the movie to be almost unwatchable. It sure was pretty though.
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Old 05-25-2010, 05:57 PM   #15
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Some of Michael Chrichton's books were made into movies with very little of the plot altered (thinking of 13th Warrior, Sphere, Jurassic Park). Yes, the movies lost a TON of infodump that he lays on us, essentially losing the force of his message. But the stories weren't badly warped and the characters only mildly bent.

I hate it when scripts deviate tremendously from the book. I mean, why bother basing it on a book if you're going to rewrite half of it?!

edit - And MC's Congo is an egregious example of the latter. The movie had only a tenuous connection to the book!
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