Thursday, January 6, 2011

Book or Movie?

I caught this bit of news on Omnimystery yesterday: apparently, the film adaptation of The Maze Runner (YA novel by James Dashner) has found a new script writer. For those of you who haven't read the novel, it's a thriller about a kid who gets locked in a maze called the Glade, from which escape seems impossible. It's pretty good.

That bit of Hollywood news wasn't all that interesting, but it did make me think about movie adaptations of books. For me, once I've read the book, I don't want to see the movie. It's bound to be disappointing is my philosophy.

But then if I see the movie first, I sometimes go and read the book, and that's also unsatisfying. For example, Jumper was a cool YA-ish thriller, but the book was a MG that sort of missed the mark for me. Maybe it was the expectation of it being like the movie, I don't know. So now I read the book or watch the movie, not both.

How about you? Any great book adaptations that come to mind? Or any movies that were better than the book?


  1. I totally agree, Fleur! Great post. Usually the movies fall short of the book... And sometimes, they're so far off it's painful! Like THE WIZARD OF EARTHSEA or THE SEEKER (which is supposed to be Susan Cooper's DARK IS RISING).

    The only movie I enjoyed more than the book was Neil Gaiman's STARDUST... Strangely enough, I've read JUMPER (and enjoyed it) but haven't seen the film. Maybe I'll like the movie version more too!

  2. I haven't seen Stardust yet--must add to the list. Jumper is fun.

    What I find interesting from a kidlit writer perspective is how many middle-grade books are film adapted to appeal to teens--Jumper is one, Percy Jackson another. Must be because teens have the $$ to spend :-)

  3. Good question.

    Prince of Tides by Pat Conroy was one of those books that I read "The End" and turned back to page 1 to read again, because I didn't want to leave those characters. The movie was awful. It turned a tertiary, at best, character into the protagonist for Barbra Streisand. Uck.

    I respectfully disagree with sdennard on Stardust. I enjoyed the movie, but thought the book was better.

    The Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies did/have done a great job of adapting book to screen by taking into account the difference in the media. The later HPs more than the first 2.

    Oh, and I think that True Blood the TV show is better than the books it's based on. Really loosely in the last season.

  4. Ha--I didn't even know True Blood was based on a book! Go figure :-)

  5. THE GRADUATE for one. Nichols added style to a rather drab book. And THE BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY another. Horrible book, decent film. There are lots more if my memory was working. I would say THE GODFATHER too.