A Conversation for Talking Point: Is The Movie Ever Better Than The Book?
Sho - gainfully employed again Started conversation Oct 3, 2001
Loved the book. But I think the film was much much better. But I can never quite put my finger on why.
Also, to a certain extent, Blade Runner is better than the book it's loosely based on. (well, it's a long time since I read / saw either of them, so that could be a load of rubbish)
Generally, if it's a "classic" I usually find the book better, although seeing the film version of Howard's End certainly helped me understand it.
Emily 'Twa Bui' Ultramarine Posted Oct 3, 2001
I think 'Blade Runner' highlights the problem with asking a question like this; apart from the names of the characters, the film bears very little resemblance to Philip Dick's novel. In fact, whilst I found the plot and concepts of 'Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?' really interesting, as a piece of literature it's pretty badly written. I think in this instance, 'Blade Runner' was an excellent film perhaps *because* it bore such little resemblance to the book that inspired it. I think the key word there is 'inspired', not 'based upon' - look at the recent film version of 'Mansfield Park'; Fanny's character was completely change to be more in touch with 'a contemporary audience', which goes precisely against the grain of the book (I don't actually like Austen much either, by the way), and yet it still claimed to be an 'adaptation'.
Okay, I've rambled a lot there. Give me some time to gather me thoughts...
The Researcher formally known as Dr St Justin Posted Oct 3, 2001
I think the reason 2001 was so good in both formats is because Arthur C Clarke worked on both the book *and* the screenplay at the same time. Feedback went in both directions - good ideas from the film went into the book, and vice versa. Having Stanley Kubriks direction on the film (I would think) must have introduced some great bits into both the book and film.
wombat18 Posted Oct 3, 2001
One interesting twist to this rule is that films are always better than their tie-in novelisations. For example, the original classic French novel of 'Planet of the the Apes' by Pierre Boulle is better than the film 'Planet of the Apes' which in its turn is better than the duff novelisation of the film done over a couple of weekends by some guy called William T Quick.
The Mansfield Park example is an interesting one though. I haven't seen the movie, but for me almost any change to Fanny would have been an improvement. She is my least favourite Austen character by a very long way - a tedious, unbearably goody-goody little wimp who has absolutely none of the spark or character of any of Jane Austen's other heroines. But hey, YMMV.
dshan Posted Oct 4, 2001
No I can't agree that the film was "much much better". It was a very good film (just about my favourite movie no doubt), but the book is just about my favourite SF novel too! In fact, I think you should read the book of 2001 before you see the movie, otherwise the movie makes little sense and it is impossible to really appreciate the story (you can perhaps appreciate it as a work of art by ignoring the story and just looking at the cinematic issues, but that's a pretty superficial and limiting approach in my opinion).
I hated 2001 when I saw it the first time as a (keen SF reading) teenager, I thought it started out great but trailed off into an incomprehensible ending that was just plain silly and frustrating. Then I was given the book and saw what the incomprehensible stuff was all about and loved the story and concept to death. I've seen the move more times than I can count since then, I've read the book more often than just about any other I own.
This is a case where the move and the book come out on a par with each other. If encountered in the correct order.
dshan Posted Oct 4, 2001
Agreed. Tie-in novelisations suck.
How about a series of books that films are made from. I'm thinking here of Jurassic Park and The Lost World. I saw both movies and read both books. Despite the rather bad critical reviews it got I actually preferred the novel of The Lost World to the novel of Jurassic Park. I pretty much hated the film of the Lost World because it was such a different (and in my opinion much inferior) storyline, it got rid of so much of the good parts of the second book and replaced them with so much cheap and silly "back home in the USA with dinosaurs" nonsense.
The Simpsons parody of King Kong was much better than the the Lost World's version Hollywood got too much say in the second film, the first film and book were much more aligned and better for it I think.
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