Apologies for a very late Wondering …. just got in from running Race for Life this evening and this is the first chance to post.
Another week, another Wednesday Wondering and this time I’ve posed the question again, turning to another of my loves; films.
The Wondering is:
Many amazing books become films (ch-ching!) Can you name one book that you preferred to the big screen adaptation and/or one film that you thought was better than the book? And, of course, please tell us why.
I’d also love to hear whether you are someone who likes to read the book before the film or after the film. I know some people have very strong opinions on this.
So, what did the Write Romantics come up with? I’ve given the responses on previous Wonderings in alphabetical, reverse alphabetical and random order so here’s alphabetical by surnames.
Looking back on my previous responses for the Wednesday Wondering, most of them spookily linked to this theme. I spoke about Harry Potter in one of the posts and my eleven year old daughter is adamant that the films are better than the books, as they contain almost non-stop action. The books have too much description for her liking but, since she thinks I know nothing anyway, there is little point me trying to explain the difference between visual and written media on this point! I also wrote about the Green Mile, but I can’t pick a favourite between Stephen King’s book and the film.
TV adaptations are easier, I think. I loved Jilly Cooper’s novel, Riders, as a teenager, but the actor cast as Rupert Campbell-Black in the mini-series was so wrong – at least I think so! On the other hand, although I loved reading Pride and Prejudice, seeing Colin Firth in tight breeches as Mr Darcy meant the TV adaptation pipped the book to the post I’m afraid. This started a long love affair for me with Colin (in my dreams), which strangely takes us back to films… And, much as I adored Helen Fielding’s Bridget Jones Diaries, the films with Colin (and Hugh thrown in for good measure) are so perfectly cast and edged past the novels and into my heart!
Why do I set such tricky Wonderings? Hmmm. I’ll start with the last bit first. I know some people have massively strong opinions on book then film or film then book but I’m not one of them. I would probably lean a little towards film first simply because it usually (but definitely not always) helps me with the visualisation of characters and scenery.
The worst film adaptation I’ve ever seen is one I haven’t actually watched all the way through – Flowers in the Attic by Virginia Andrews. It’s shockingly bad and they massively change the ending. I got quite angry about that one. Also Cecelia Ahern’s PS I Love You. I think Hilary Swank is a great actress but she really didn’t fit the bill of Holly for me. Gerald Butler is welcome eye candy. But … sorry … I didn’t like what they did to the story. I saw absolutely no reason to take it away from Ireland where it’s set and fiddle with the story in that way. The book was so much better.
As for film being better than the book, I am inclined to agree with Jo about Bridget Jones even though I adored the book. The cast were just perfect. Another one was Sleeping with The Enemy. The book was good but I saw the film first and it absolutely terrified me. Perhaps I may have preferred the book if I’d read that first, though.
I’m not a regular cinema-goer but when I do go it’s often because I’ve read the book, so for me it tends to be book first then film, although I don’t have strong views either way. I don’t think I can honestly say that I’ve ever found the film ‘better’ than the book because it’s a totally different experience but there are times when I’ve got something extra from the film that I didn’t get from the book.
One example is Ian McEwan’s Atonement. I love his writing – the man’s a genius to my mind – and I read his books with a permanent ‘wow!’ going on my head, but the plot of Atonement is somewhat convoluted and seeing it on screen helped me make sense of some of the bits that I had perhaps misunderstood in the book. That I might need this kind of help is of course one of my failings, not his!
Another is Notes on a Scandal by Zoe Heller. She tells the story well and I really enjoyed the book but it’s quite short and I found myself wanting more. The film made the whole thing that much ‘bigger’ somehow. In the book I didn’t find much sympathy for Barbara Covett, the narrator, but seeing her portrayed on screen by Judy Dench with her wonderfully expressive face made it easier to ‘see’ the person she really was.
Hmm that is a tough one. I would say that Twilight wasn’t better than the book but it’s the best film adaptation of a book that I’ve seen because it kept to the original story. I loved the film The Woman in Black and thought it was much scarier than the book by Susan Hill.
That’s a real toughie! I think the only films I prefer to the books have to be the Harry Potter films. Whilst I think that J.K Rowling’s writing is simply amazing, it really isn’t my sort of thing…but, I don’t mind sitting through a condensed version on the big screen (when hubby has had enough of my rom coms!)
I always prefer the books to the films: Nicholas Sparks’ “The Notebook”, Cecilia Ahern’s “P.S I love you”, Jennifer Weiner’s “In Her Shoes” to name just a few. I would always choose to read the book first because I wouldn’t want the film version to “spoil” it for me, but perhaps this is why I always end up liking the book best? Films are always so much shorter than the book so I tend to feel that they’re lacking in the richness of the words that I enjoyed.
I loved the film ‘Salmon Fishing in the Yemen’ which is a romantic comedy about an uptight fish scientist (played by Ewan McGregor) who falls in love with his colleague (Emily Blunt) when he’s working on a project to introduce salmon fishing into the Yemen. He starts the film thinking the project is crackers and that she’s an idiot for suggesting it but through working together they become friends and then fall for each other. It’s warm, charming and uplifting. I found the book a huge disappointment. It’s more of a scathing satire on government, PR and idealism with a tragic ending.
I don’t have strong views on reading books before seeing the film. But watching the film first has definitely helped me to get through some of the classics. There’s no way I’d have made it to the end of Jude the Obscure (which must be the most depressing book in English Literature) without imagining Christopher Eccleston as Jude.
OVER TO YOU …
Tell us what your answer would be. Or tell us if you agree/disagree with what any of The Write Romantics have said. We’d love to hear from you. Thanks for reading and for joining in.