Dear Reader

Random musings on reading and books from a librarian in training.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Book vs. Movie

I always get excited when a book I enjoy is turned into a movie/ tv series, but that excitement inevitably turns into disappointment when I see the final product. I'm not sure why this is. Maybe books are too nuanced to successfully translate onto the screen. Or perhaps my expectations are too high.

Recent disappointments

True Blood. I had really high expectations for HBO's series, which is based on the Sookie Stackhouse novels. I was irritated that there wasn't more Sookie. While there were some quotes/ passages lifted directly from the book, there were new subplots that weren't in the book. I understand the need to pad the book a little, but at the same time felt that the weakness of the subplots were due to how one dimensional the characters were.

I was particularly peeved with the ending. In the book, Bill is not brought before the tribunal for killing another vampire. Rather he's away securing his position amongst the New Orleans vampires to have more independence from Eric and he does not try and rescue Sookie from the killer. He's out of town.

Silver lining: If more people are reading Charlaine Harris because of this show, that makes me happy. I also discovered Octavia Butler as a result of the documentaries HBO did before the show. (Seeing Stephen Root aka Jimmy James on tv is also a plus!)

Twilight. I just felt like it really didn't capture the essence of the book and rather came off as kind of cheesy. The low-budget special effects and giggling teenage girls might have distracted me. I also wasn't crazy about the makeup job for Edward and the music was slightly grating.

Some movies really capture a book ... Antonement, A&E's Pride & Prejudice and Masterpiece Theater's Jane Eyre and Anne of Green Gables. But the clunkers are what stand out. I still wonder if the people involved with Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont ever read the novel they "based" their movie on.

Maybe a book's appeal lies in the fact that your imagination shapes what you read. After creating an image of the characters and becoming emotionally attached, it's difficult to accept someone
else's vision. Perhaps the magic of books can't be captured in a tv series or movie. Doesn't mean I'll stop going to the movies though, I'm just resigned to that fact that I'll probably leave the theater feeling let down.

Do you have a favorite movie adaptation or a real stinker you can't get out of your mind?

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