The Book Isn’t Always Better Than The Movie!

We asked our librarians to tell us some of their favorite book to movie/TV/video game adaptations!  A few even like the adaptation better than the book!

One of my favorites adaptations was Let the Right One In (the Swedish version, not the American remake).  I saw it before reading the book, but it felt very similar.  The book had a lot more character background, and explanation.  The movie was very good at hinting and showing enough bits of the story to make it feel complete, and then the book had so much more depth.  One of the things I loved the most about both book and movie was the way Eli was both ancient and very young.  As she says “I’m eleven.  I have been eleven for a very long time.”

I have not seen the American version, so I don’t know how that one stacks up, but in my opinion, this was a very good book to movie adaptation.

Another favorite book and movie was Lord of the Rings.  I think of them as almost completely separate entities, as the adaptation was not the best, but I absolutely love the movies on their own, as well as loving the books.  I think of them as different versions of the same story, and adore them both.  I think it was very well cast, and a lot of the changes were things that just wouldn’t translate very well from page to screen.  There were definitely things that could have been a lot closer to the books, but on the whole, I enjoyed each version immensely.

One where I thought the movie was better would be Twilight.  I didn’t want to read the books, but as a librarian, I had to see for myself what all the fuss was about.  I had heard that it was the best thing ever, and that it was awful.  I have to agree with the second opinion, this series was vile.  I only made it halfway through the second book, and I can read almost anything.  The movies, however, were decent.  The effects were good, and the actors really got into their roles, and almost seemed to be poking fun at how bad the original story was.

White Oleander is my absolute favorite book, but I actually saw it as a movie first!  The movie does cut out some of the content in the book, but it really keeps the spirit of the novel alive.  I’d recommend watching the movie first, then reading the book.  All of the parts they cut will seem like an extra treat instead of like you’re missing something!

Fight Club was another movie adaptation that wasn’t exactly like the book, but really kept what was at the crux of the novel & celebrated it in a different format.  Some of the twists in the book almost seem to be more effective when executed in a visual narrative format!

The Handmaiden is a Korean film that’s an adaptation of Sarah Waters’ novel Fingersmith.  It changes the setting from Victorian England to Korea in the early 20th century, when the country was under Japanese occupation.  This switch, and the numerous narrative changes that are made, all work remarkably well.  So much so that I actually enjoy the film better that the novel, which I thoroughly enjoyed as well.  They’re really two totally different stories, and I highly recommend checking out both!

Parasite Eve is the name of a book and a video game that’s part adaptation, part sequel to the book. The game plays with a lot of the same themes that the original novel does in a very successful way.  The game successfully manages to capture the same suspense and unease of the novel, while making it interactive.  The game isn’t available in the Minuteman Network, but is available in digital form in the Playstation Store or you can try requesting it through interlibrary loan!

I like the BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice better than the book. (I like the book a lot, but Colin Firth is just not in it!) The 5-hour running time might seem daunting, but I’ve watched it so many times I don’t need to pay close attention anymore. I just put it on while knitting on the couch and drinking hot chocolate on a winter’s day. Or a rainy spring/fall day with tea, for that matter.

Mostly I tend to prefer adaptations of books for younger people, like the Harry Potter series which I love in book, film, and audiobook form. Another two favorites are The Secret Garden and A Little Princess, both based on books by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The book and film versions are both great!

So many book-to-screen adaptations have been disappointing – the book is almost always better – but lately so many books are being made into movies that Hollywood seems to be getting the hang of it. A few of my favorite book-to-movie adaptations are: The Princess Bride (book by William Goldman), High Fidelity (book by Nick Hornby), and The Perks of Being A Wallflower (book by Stephen Chbosky). I also really liked the TV version of The Magicians and The Magician King by Lev Grossman, and I’m looking forward to watching the TV version of Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell (book by Susanna Clarke) too.

Have you ever had an instance where you liked the movie better than the book?  Let us know in the comments below!

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2 Responses to The Book Isn’t Always Better Than The Movie!

  1. Ash says:

    Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson was made into a film with a super young Kristen Stewart. I like the movie so much better. Then there’s Jeffrey Eugenides Virgin Suicides adapted to film by Sophia Coppola. The screenplay was basically word for word the novel. Both are exquisite.

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