Thursday, June 09, 2011

The Book is Always Better

by Cheri Chesley

We've all had the experience of sitting in a movie theater eagerly awaiting the start of a movie based on a beloved novel--only to be disappointed in the end. At some point, we've forgotten the phrase "based on" that they attach to every movie-from-a-book project.

What I find interesting is the regularity in which movies are made from books these days. A lot of people I talk to about my book ask whether there will be a movie. I've even had someone volunteer to be one of the characters. :)

But I'd like to explore the other side of the coin. We're such a visual society, and yet I've almost never heard a person say they enjoyed the movie more than the book. I find this super-awesome, because to me it means people are happier creating the fantasy of a story in their minds rather than being content having movie makers translate it for them on the big screen.

I have to say there have been several movies made from books that I've enjoyed a lot, but only if I take the "from the book" aspect out of the equation. As long as I can keep the two separate, then I can enjoy each. My husband has a harder time if he reads the book first, so he's happier if he can see the movie first (complicated, in most cases, since by definition the book has to come first--but it has worked).

When you think about it, this puts a larger emphasis on books than ever before. Movie makers are looking to recently published works--and public response to them--for their next idea. It's nice to think authors can still make a difference, though, have you ever wondered what's wrong with Hollywood that they can't come up with their OWN ideas? :)


Jolene Perry said...

Interesting post. I have a rule that I can't watch a movie, adapted from a book, if I haven't read the book first.

The ONLY movie that I thought did better than the book was The City of Ember. The book was fun, and I broke my rule and saw the movie first, so that might have been it. But I LOVED that movie - great middle grade fun.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

I'm glad Hollywood is making their movies from books. Perhaps it will encourage more readers, more book sales and more money for author.
Though they weren't much like the books, Last of the Mohicans and The Count of Monte Cristo, were lots of fun.

Kiwasi said...

Might I suggest Lord of the Rings?

@ susan - don't forget authors get money from the movie too.