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Which is better, the book or the movie? This should have been an obvious topic for me to make a list of because the BCinDC Auction Books to Movies box just finished. And just this morning I had a conversation with a fellow library volunteer about Where the Wild Things Are. But when I realized I forgot to do a list yesterday (I had a miserable yesterday) it still took me a few minutes to decide on a topic.

Typically I like best whichever I see first. Usually I try to read the book before I see the movie for that reason, but sometimes I fall in love with the movies. Before I get into the list, I want to mention that there are LOTS of books I haven't read like: The Godfather, The Shawshank Redemption, Forest Gump, The English Patient, Psycho, The Body, Schindler's List, Atonement, The Notebook, The Graduate, Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, Silence of the Lambs, One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, American Psycho, A Clockwork Orange, The Last of the Mohicans (actually, I've never seen that movie, either) so my list is once again a reflection not so much on the subject matter as my experiences.

Movies I Liked More Than Their Books:
1. Timeline by Michael Crichton- I saw the movie first. I really liked the sense of adventure and action. I really feared for the main characters. I've actually watched this movie more than a handful of times and I am *always* drawn right in and entertained. The book felt a little flat to me in comparison. I still really loved the book (I'm such a sucker for time travel stories) but I prefer the movie version because of a few differences.

2. Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell- I have attempted to get through the book twice now. Neither was a very serious attempt, but neither attempt compared to watching the epic that is the impressive movie.

3. Angels & Demons by Dan Brown- The book wasn't very good. It was okay but not very complex and a little transparent or simplistic in parts. I felt like I was sticking with it just to get it over with. But the movie has Ewan McGregor. Ewan in priest's robes. Ewan in priest's robes that he takes off at one point during the movie. Enough said!

4. Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk- I actually enjoyed the book quite a lot, but the movie absolutely blew me away. I was amazed by the movie, and my head was filled afterward with everything that might be possible. The book... was gritty and graphic and great, but not as shocking and real as the movie had felt to me.

5. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer- Both are awful and hilarious. But in the movie I could actually SEE the shirtless werewolves instead of having to imagine them ;-)

6. Stardust by Neil Gaiman- Excluding the wonderful illustrations by Charles Vess, I preferred the movie version to the book (which I actually earread before reading the graphic novel version). My favorite version of the three is still the movie. I loved the changes and the new characters that were developed. I think I recall liking the ending in the book quite a lot, but still really liked the movie ending. Moreover, something so full of fantasy just works so much better with an accompanying visual medium.

7. Interview with the Vampire by Anne Rice- Oh, the movie was just stunning (and filled with nummy-looking boys). The book was difficult to get through. It was good, but didn't pack the punch I had expected after seeing the bold, emotional movie. And the movie ending was of the awesome :-)

8. Big Fish by Daniel Wallace- I liked the book, but the movie was so incredibly quirky and moving and fun. It was visually outstanding. And, I have to say again, it had Ewan McGregor.

9. Brokeback Mountain by Annie Proulx- Not that I don't love the novella/short story, because I really do. But the movie was stunning and moving and absolutely beautiful. All the actors were wonderful, the cinematography was excellent, and the script really filled out the characters and story so well.

10. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien- Admittedly, there are a handful of moments from the books that I LOVE and desperately wish were in the movie. But, on a whole, I didn't mind the lack of random songs or genealogies. The movies were powerful, beautiful, and have not ONCE failed to move me to tears. I'll never get tired of watching those movies, though I don't always feel like picking up the books (though I do re-read those passages I love the most from time to time).

11. The Princess Bride by William Goldman- I must admit I haven't re-read the book in quite some time, but during my first reading of it, I definitely preferred the movie that I had loved so much I memorized word-for-word when I was younger. I love every second of the movie and am so attached to it (not to mention I'm not good with change) and there are certainly some amazing moments in the book alone but, on a whole, I still prefer the movie.

Have an idea for a list I can write for an upcoming week? Leave it in the comments!

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( 3 comments — Leave a comment )
skyring
Jun. 13th, 2010 02:35 am (UTC)
That's THREE recommendations for Stardust in as many hours. Definitely on my must see immediately list.

I was a huge Lord of the Rings nut in my teens. Totally devoured the books time and time again. The depth of "sub-creation" sucked me right in. Hard to imagine that a movie version of this massive epic could be anywhere near faithful to the books, but it was. The cast was perfect, and the choice of New Zealand nearly faultless. (The utter lack of anything resembling the mighty river Anduin the only drawback. New Zealand has rivers a kilometre wide, to be sure, but that's twenty shallow metres of meandering trout stream and the rest gravel!)

The Princess Bride. Wow. What a movie, full of sparkling wordplay. And the book, a surprisingly different production. I love them both.

Brokeback Mountain. While I can appreciate the sentiments and the scenery, it was still a tale of betrayal.
florafloraflora
Jun. 13th, 2010 08:27 pm (UTC)
I know what you mean about liking best what you see first. Once there's an image in your mind it can be jarring to see it another way.

The movie that always comes to mind here is The Sweet Hereafter. The book was good, but the typical Russell Baker stuff about Jamaica was out of place. The movie was much stronger without it, and the Pied Piper of Hamelin theme really added a lot.
melydia
Jun. 14th, 2010 10:11 am (UTC)
I prefer The Princess Bride movie as well. The book wasn't really my cup of tea.

The Devil Wears Prada was a much better movie than book, which is saying something since I read the book first. Andy just wasn't a sympathetic character in the book - there was no reason she couldn't just quit - but they managed to make it more believable in the film.

As for Stardust (book first), I liked both the movie and the book. Likewise with The Neverending Story (movie first) and The Last Unicorn (movie first).
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