Many bookworms and movie lovers like myself probably face this dilemma a few times a year– do we read the book of something before we see the movie?
I’m a believer that whatever medium you are introduced to a storyline or topic first is often the one you love the most. I find this to be true with musicals/plays that are turned into movies as well. I love the movie version of The Sound of Music so much more than the original stage musical, for example.
My constant dilemma of book before movie is often difficult because most times, the reason the book is becoming a motion picture is because of its huge success and bestseller status. Reading the book becomes almost as much a right of passage as seeing the movie, which also becomes much hyped and talked about.
Of course, so many books I love have not been well-adapted for the screen or become so drastically different than the plot or details of the book that it’s incredibly distracting and disappointing. Water for Elephants was this for me– that book captivated me and I can’t even remember that I made it all the way through the movie with Reese Witherspoon and that vampire kid.
If I love a book, I’m likely destined to be disappointed by the movie because I’ve created my own picture in my mind of how I think things play out, especially vivid details of pivotal scenes or characters. When I heard that Ben Affleck was going to be the husband in the Gone Girl movie, I thought he was ALL WRONG since in my reading of the book I sort of imagined a skinny, glasses-wearing hipster/writer. Perhaps because author Gillian Flynn wrote the screenplay and worked with director David Lynch on the film, Affleck worked for me ( probably because he’s so good at displaying no emotion)– though there were other issues with that film, but I digress.
There are a few instances where my love of the movie surpassed my interest in the book, the original, non-musical Les Miserables being one of them. In Victor Hugo’s defense, it could be that since I read that book during high school with a so-so teacher, my reading of it might be a bit tainted.
Recently, this book versus movie dilemma happened where the reverse happened with The Martian. I purchased the book for Q’s birthday this past year and he enjoyed it. I probably would never had read it since science and space, while fascinating to me, are not usually things I can get into or enjoy. Stephany changed my mind on wanting to read the book, but because of Q’s interest in seeing the movie, I ended up breaking the book before movie rule– and I’m glad I did. I know there is a lot more technical explanations in the book than the movie, so in this case, I’m glad I saw the science in action, so to speak, so that when I’m reading the book, I won’t get bogged down in trying to comprehend the science or spend half the time looking up words/terms that are unfamiliar.
What’s your preference, fellow bookworms? Book or movie first? Is there a book that was totally ruined for you on the big screen?