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The W - One Question... - The movie or the book?
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Bizzle Izzle
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Since: 26.6.02
From: New Jersey, USA

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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.02

For those of you who both watch the movie and read the book, which do you generally end up liking better? Does it depend on which you see/read first? I generally feel that the book is usually better but this question has been on my mind since I got the Godfather novel for Christmas. I'd have to say the movie is about 10,000x better than the book. I also prefer Christine the movie to Christine the novel.





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Since: 16.3.04
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.91
I think it depends.

My favorite book, "Tuesdays With Morrie" was made into a TV movie and was good, but never could compare to the book as far as emotional value.

Harry Potter is a great series of books, but I prefer to get the actual visualization on the big screen, plus the story unwraps so much quicker.

My favorite movie is "The Shawshank Redemption" and it is a great movie, and I prefer to the book (well story) by Stephen King.




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Matt Tracker
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Since: 8.5.03
From: North Carolina

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#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.19
"Fight Club" the movie was stronger than the book, but that's a rarity. I usually prefer the book as literature allows one to construct everything mentally.



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Since: 20.6.02
From: Kolob

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.36
Forrest Gump was a better book than movie, for the most part. Though, they both had their incredible strong points.



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Since: 11.12.01
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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.30


I almost always like the book better. I have all the Stephen King's (if you live in Maine, you must own them all - State Law and all), and all the novels are better than their screen adaptations. The short stories carry over well, though. That little 8 episode thingee (Nightmares and Dreamscapes?) that was on cable last year was well done.





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Since: 11.5.03
From: Mount Pleasant, Pa.

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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.14
Off the top of my head I can't really think of any movie that was actually better than the book. Now I can think of some movies that were as good as the book, but not better.

Note: But the Broadway show "Wicked" was waaaaaaay better than the book.





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Since: 2.1.02
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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.56
I generally don't care either way, but I really get frustrated when books are converted to movies with radical changes, like pretty much every Grisham thriller was. They changed the whole third act of "The Firm", tweaked a major plot point to have the emphasis on the main character in "A Time to Kill" (and made Sandra Bullock's part a lot bigger, although you could sense that coming when they cast her), and totally changed the premise of "The Runaway Jury". I don't think any of the changes made for a better movie in those cases.



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Since: 30.1.02
From: South Georgia

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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.77
99% of the time, the book is better, IMO. The other 1%, they are about equal. It's very hard to make a movie that compares to the book that it's adapted from, but it seems pretty easy to adapt a movie to book format.



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Since: 11.12.01
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#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.30


    Originally posted by JayJayDean
    I generally don't care either way, but I really get frustrated when books are converted to movies with radical changes.


Good point. I remember watching "The Shining" in the theater and I didn't see Scatman Crothers taking the axe in the chest coming. It was good for the surprise factor, but since it diverged radically from the book, I ultimately felt cheated by the movie.





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Since: 7.11.02
From: Dallas, TX

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#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.73
    Originally posted by Matt Tracker
    I usually prefer the book as literature allows one to construct everything mentally.

What he said. Off the top of my head, The Natural is the only time I liked the movie more than the book (and, in this case, by an order of magnitude). However, the movie does violate JayJayDean's rule because there are some pretty radical changes.



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Since: 24.3.02
From: Oshkosh, WI

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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.12
Jurassic Park (The W at Amazon) was better as a book. One of the things that never made it into the movie was that they were altering the genes of the dinosaurs to make them act like how people expected them to.

It brought up interesting questions philosophically.

I agree that Fight Club was probably better as a movie. The book was too disjointed.

I didn't read Forrest Gump, but I did read the sequel Gump & Co., and that was a good read.

The Princess Bride was probably better in book form. You get the kind of asides in the book that just aren't possible in a movie, though they still did a good job.

It's kind of like something Douglas Adams said (Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy, by the way, was a horrible movie). Each version of Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy was different, because you can do different things in a book than you can in a movie, than you can in a radio show, than you can in a TV series, than you can in a video game. In each version, you have to play to the medium's strengths and weaknesses.




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Since: 21.11.02
From: Williston Park, NY

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#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.26
The book ALWAYS. I prefer to use my imagination to come up with what the characters look like and sound like. When I read a book and then see the movie I am always disappointed. Like The Bourne Identity. I would never have had Matt Damon playing that part. Although he did do a good job with it, I kept looking at him saying he looks nothing like I thought he would.

The only move that comes close in my eyes is Stand By Me. And that is due to some great acting by all four kids and a stroy that needed no special effects.



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Since: 2.1.02
From: Plain Dealing, LA

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#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.64
I was tempted to say that the book is always better* until I remembered that I have a copy of Mario Puzo's The Godfather somewhere downstairs. In that case, the movie is several orders of magnitude better than the book. Then I remembered that my wife has a collection of Stephen King's short stories which includes "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" and realized that, contra Pieman, that adaptation is significantly better than the original source material. Other than those two examples, I'd be hard pressed to think of another case without digging into my adaptation theory books from grad school.

Tim

*I assume we're discounting things like novelizations of movies because otherwise I'd have to nominate a whole slew of things like The Black Hole or any of the original Star Wars trilogy as being immeasurably better in movie form than in book form.



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samoflange
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Since: 22.2.04
From: Cambridge, MA

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#14 Posted on | Instant Rating: 6.19
There aren't many book I've read where I've also seen the movie. Jurassic Park and Lord of the Rings are the only two I can think of. I liked each version equally in those cases.

I really like the Harry Potter movies, and kinda want to read the books, but I think it would just be a waste of time. I already know the main stories, so what's the point?


    Originally posted by Mr. Boffo
    Jurassic Park (The W at Amazon) was better as a book. One of the things that never made it into the movie was that they were altering the genes of the dinosaurs to make them act like how people expected them to.


Because I just re-read this book last week (weird coincidence for ya), I wanted to make a correction here. The head geneticist (Wu) realized that the current "versions" of dinosaurs they had made were not behaving as people would expect them to. They were not slow and lumbering but rather agile and intelligent, making the whole enterprise a greater risk. He wanted to alter them one final time to slow and dumb them down, but the guy in charge of the whole deal (Hammond) just wanted to get on with the park opening and wouldn't let him.

Here's a rough paraphrase of the discussion, which does indeed raise some good philosophical points.

Wu: These dinos are too much for us to handle, we need to make them safer.
Hammond: My park is supposed to show dinos as they really were, not inferior versions. Plus I'm really old and want to live to see it open.
Wu: There's no way anybody would even know these weren't legit dinos. Nobody knows how dinos really acted. Plus they aren't really legit anyway since we used modern reptiles/bird/amphibian DNA to help piece together their genome. It's merely substituting a very dangerous imitation for a less dangerous imitation.
Hammond: Do what I say or I fire you. Now get back to work and make more velociraptors! Can't get enough of those cuties.



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Since: 11.5.03
From: Mount Pleasant, Pa.

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#15 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.14
    Originally posted by samoflange
    I really like the Harry Potter movies, and kinda want to read the books, but I think it would just be a waste of time. I already know the main stories, so what's the point?



I was at first very reluctant to start reading the Harry Potter books for that exact reason. But I still ended up getting really hooked on reading them and couldn't put them down. I recommend that you just try reading the first book and see what happens from there.



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Since: 9.2.02

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#16 Posted on | Instant Rating: 4.75
I almost always like the book better, as do most it seems. Two King stories which I thought played out better in movies were:

Trucks (Maximum Overdrive - not an awesome movie, but decent)

The Raft (Creepshow 2 - the ending was completely different, and the wave coming over the guy on the beach just ruled it)

None of the Tom Clancy books have been great movies, with Red October being the closest. The Sum of All Fears was a disaster.
Torchslasher
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Since: 17.1.02
From: New F'n Jersey

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#17 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.75
I would say that the first two Harry Potter movies are very close to the book, and while I still don't think those movies are better than the book, I could see not needing to read those books. The movies for three and four stray pretty wildly from the book, but that's not necessarily a bad thing either. I loved movies three and four.

Again though, you have to read the Potter books to get everything and ultimately the books kill the movie.

I can't really think of any movies that are better than the books, at least from what I have read. The only close one for me is Lost World. I'm not saying that the movie based on the book was great or anything, but I was mightily disappointed in the book. Part of this is because I loved the Jurassic Park book.

Speaking of Michael Crichton, I have to say that the worst movie adaptation from a book was his Rising Sun. I absolutely adore the book, and the movie ends up a jumbled mess, with a final act that is way different than the book.

Long story short (too late), the books almost always trump the movies.



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Since: 2.1.02
From: NJ

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#18 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.59
    Originally posted by Torchslasher
    Speaking of Michael Crichton, I have to say that the worst movie adaptation from a book was his Rising Sun. I absolutely adore the book, and the movie ends up a jumbled mess, with a final act that is way different than the book.


Overall, I'd say most of the movies based on Crichton's books are not nearly as good as the book themselves. Jurassic Park, Rising Sun, Sphere, Disclosure. None of them were as good as the novel. I haven't seen The Andromeda Strain, so I can't comment on that one.

I wonder if studios saw how much money Jurassic Park made and thought that they could put a film out with "Based on a novel by Michael Crichton" on it and it would be an instant success.

Anyway, I usually prefer the book before seeing the movie.
pieman
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Since: 11.12.01
From: China, Maine

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#19 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.30


    Originally posted by bash91
    Then I remembered that my wife has a collection of Stephen King's short stories which includes "Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption" and realized that, contra Pieman, that adaptation is significantly better than the original source material.


I thought that was what I was trying to say up there. I think King's novels are too detailed to carry over to screen adaptation, but the short stories can be fleshed out and made richer. Sorry I wasn't more clear earlier.





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Since: 9.11.03
From: Bedford, Michigan

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#20 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.31
    Originally posted by samoflange
    Wu: These dinos are too much for us to handle, we need to make them safer.
    Hammond: My park is supposed to show dinos as they really were, not inferior versions. Plus I'm really old and want to live to see it open.
    Wu: There's no way anybody would even know these weren't legit dinos. Nobody knows how dinos really acted. Plus they aren't really legit anyway since we used modern reptiles/bird/amphibian DNA to help piece together their genome. It's merely substituting a very dangerous imitation for a less dangerous imitation.
    Hammond: Do what I say or I fire you. Now get back to work and make more velociraptors! Can't get enough of those cuties.


Any chance I could convince you to do the whole book?




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