The movie was better!

the movie was better Joker  While I am sure that no book lover ever believes that they are going to be told this, in some instances it is true.  There have been a handful of movies that have made mediocre or uninspired books sing.   For any number of reasons-no fluidity of language, plot holes the size of Texas, sometimes even something as simple as over-done descriptions have turned me off some books that made amazing movies.

Let’s begin our discussion with one of my favorite examples: The Princess Bride.  I loved this movie- the beauty, the hilarity.  Witty barbs and puns for days.  While the book has all these things, William Goldman took the liberty of jumping story several times.  Now, this was not in a cute, sick, grandson scenario… the one that sticks in my mind the most is the side story about him meeting some woman at a hotel pool.  I found this jarring, and highly unnecessary.  Besides, the actors really made this story sing.  Miracle Max is still one of my favorite characters to this day.

I will probably get a lot of back lash for this, but I am going to say it anyway.  Another time the movies were better than the books were, in my opinion, Lord of the Rings.  That’s right, the whole series.  While J.R.R. Tolkien did something amazing, creating a whole world with lore and language, my trouble is with the execution.  The man loves the sound of his own voice.  I attempted to read them, really I did.  I believe it was in Return of the King where Tolkien goes on for several paragraphs on the sweat off of a horse.  Why in the name of Heaven is that level of description necessary?  Please don’t get me wrong, I adore a good setting or description that takes me to this place or time.  There were many pieces of the series that did just that, the author just could not rein it in.  The movies take everything that is good in his works and bring them into sharp, Technicolor glory.

Winter’s Tale is another story that upset me.  Granted, there was lot going on; the execution suffered.    Mark Helprin created a beautiful love story between petty burglar Peter Lake and sick socialite Beverly.  If we left it at this, it would have been glorious.  But we hopped and jumped until it became five love stories and a horse (don’t worry, no one loves the horse).  I finished that book feeling drained and angry, cheated not only of the $10 that the book cost, but also the time I spent reading it.  I quite honestly wanted my time back.  The movie, on the other hand, took all of Helprin’s ramblings and made magic.  Not only was Will Smith an awesome devil, all the characters just come to life.  I was enchanted.

Last, is more a personal peeve than anything else.  I like to believe that if the story is good enough I will read anything.  The Martian by Andy Weir nearly made a liar out of me.  I learned that I am not one for what my husband calls “hard science fiction”.  The movie was coming out, and Warren wanted to see it desperately.  We decided we would go see it in theatres.  I hate seeing a movie without also reading the book, though.  So, I bought the eBook.  While the plot is spectacular, certain parts (like the math/ science needed to grow potatoes on Mars) bored me to tears.  Hollywood, in their infinite wisdom, glossed over all of this, leaving a well done story.  Personally I loved the movie, but gave the book perhaps two stars.

What did you guys think of these?  Are there more that I haven’t discovered?



2 thoughts on “The movie was better!

  1. The only one on your list that I’ve both seen the movie and read the book is Lord of the Rings. I enjoyed both, I’d have to rate them equal overall, just in different ways. I don’t think the movies could have been better due to time constraints, and I totally skipped over all of the poems and songs in the book. What’s your thoughts on The Hobbit? It’s been so long since I’ve read it that I don’t remember if it was the abridged version or not but I feel like the movies should have been two at most, maybe even one. The Battle of Five Armies seemed like it was a 90 minute long fight scene that got boring it went on so long, with some cheesy romance added in for no reason.

    Forrest Gump is another that I think most believe the movie was better than the book. From wikipedia Gump also “goes on a mission for NASA with a female astronaut and an ape named Sue. After their re-entry, they crash-land in Papua New Guinea and are captured and held by cannibals for four years. Forrest also has brief careers as a chess champion, a stunt man with a naked Raquel Welch in Hollywood, and as a professional wrestler called “The Dunce”.”


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