13 July 2007

A day late ...

Here is my response to Booking Through Thursday, even though it's Friday.

Celluloid

1. In your opinion, what is the best translation of a book to a movie?
2. The worst?
3. Had you read the book before seeing the movie, and did that make a difference? (Personally, all other things being equal, I usually prefer whichever I was introduced to first.)

And, by all means, expand this to as long a list as you like. I’m notoriously awful myself at narrowing down to one favorite ANYTHING. So, feel free to list as many “good” or “bad” movie-from-books as you like. (Heaven knows that’s what I’ll be doing….)


In my opinion, the movie adaptation of To Kill a Mockingbird was an excellent example of a movie that stayed loyal to the book. Also, I think the version of Persuasion made by the BBC a few years back, was good. The way it was filmed made it seem more real, since everyone wasn't prettied up.

For my worst choices, I would have to say that one of the movies that really annoyed me was Emma with Gwyneth Paltrow (and this was before I decided that I just don't like her ...). I found it difficult to believe that Jane Austen's Emma wore so much eye makeup ...

Otherwise, I tend to avoid movies that I don't think will be as good as the book. A prime example is The Scarlet Letter, with Demi Moore (or as we call her, Dummi Moore) as Hester Prynne. I didn't even bother going to see it, because, come on, Demi Moore portraying a Hawthorne character? Then I knew these people that did go to see it, and were so surprised that it was so awful. Eejits all.

I didn't read the book, but The Tim talked me into watching the TV miniseries of Stephen King's It. And I feel that it was however many hours of my life that I will never get back, and even The Tim, who had read the book, had to admit it was stupid.

Given a choice, I usually read the book first, because I like reading, and because I always enjoy getting a picture of the characters in my mind's eye, before having some Hollywood type pushed on me.

In a related vein, I do think that in the case of The Godfather, that the movie was a lot better than the book. To me it seems to be the exception that proves the rule.

5 comments:

Carrie K said...

To Kill A Mockingbird! True.

Funny, I was reading Emma and had almost finished it when the movie came out and really liked it.

Oh wait. It was Sense & Sensibility. My bad.

I try to see the movie first because otherwise I spend the whole movie complaining how they've butchered the book and it appears to annoy people. People who love me even.

Linda said...

I totally agree with your choice - To Kill a Mockingbird. I love the book and the movie.

Another, in my opinion, is the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. I had read the trilogy several times before seeing the movies, and I was in awe. I generally don't see movies after having read the book, they are never up to par. I was not disappointed with Jackson's adaptation at all.

The worst movie, based on a book, I've seen would have to be The Stand. I loved the book, thought the movie sucked.

I can't speak for others, but when I read a book I get a mental image of what characters and scenery look like. It's hard to get past that when you are sitting in a movie that is totally different from what you imagined.

As an aside, due to failing eyesight I recently started listening to audiobooks and it really stinks so far. I guess I could get used to this, and the narrator's skill, or lack of, may have a lot to do with it. It's just not the same, I really miss reading.

lmj said...

I think Richard Lester did a most excellent job of bringing "The Three/Four Musketeers" to the big screen. The talent was spot-on, the sets, the costumes, I could go on and on. And oh god how hot was Oliver Reed...yummy. We won't discuss the Disneyfied atrocity.

And yes, anything with the Talentless Ms. Paltrow...sucks.

the wicked witch of the east said...

since you already mentioned "TKaMB" as best adaptation...i'm gonna go w/ "the color purple" as my feature film choice and to stay in line w/ jane austen, on the small screen, A&E's production of "Pride & Prejudice"...but i do think persuasion was the best film feature adaptation of all her books, w/ mansfield park coming in in a not so distant second.

and for worse, well that is a doozy...but the first one that came to mind was "beloved" ...i can't even quantify how much that movie sucked.

KSD said...

One of the quotes I often deliver to my students is: "Never judge a book by its movie." (Trust me, that's how most of them are acquainted with these titles.)