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Is the book always better than the movie?


abasio
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Books or Movies  

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  1. 1. What's usually better

    • Books
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    • Movies
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Well the movie sub-forum is a lot more popular it seems but I struggle to think of many movies I have seen that are better than the book.

 

I love descriptions that I can interpret in my own head, creat my own faces, places and expressions. Seeing someone else's image of the descriptions usually leaves me cold. Don't get me wrong, I love movies, they are much easier to digest and take much less time but I don't get so involved. When I read I often think deeply about the story & as it takes me much longer to read I think about it for longer (hence more deeply I guess) so I feel more involved.

 

the only movie I can think that I preferred to the book was American Psycho just because I don't want such detailed descriptions of Phil Collins :P

 

obviously I am not counting the kind of books that were written with a movie in mind. I saw at the bookshop the other day "Terminator Salvation" which I can guess is not a rivetting read.

 

So what do you guys think?

 

Is anyone here?

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Good point about American Psycho. I personally think the book was better for several reasons (realization of concept, humor, detail...), but the movie added value of its own.

 

Movies better than the books:

 

Blade Runner <-> Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Stalker <-> Roadside Picnic

 

I'm curious what the movie for Youth in Revolt will be like. Hard to compete with the book.

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The movie is better than the book:

 

Silence of the Lambs

Fight Club

 

The casting of the characters in the movie versions are superb, and that's what makes the movies slightly better in the above cases.

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99% of the time the book is better than the movie, simply because they take the story into much more detail. You simply cannot put that much detail in a 1 and a half hour movie, and even if you did, it would seem too long and boring. Also with books you are involved in the action, whereas with movies you're just a spectator, you rarely FEEL like the main carachter, you just watch what he's doing (I guess that DaVinci code illustrates the feeling best)

 

I guess that the only times when I prefer a movie to the book is when I'd like to know a book but find it's not worth my time and effort to actually spend my time reading it (especially if it's more than 300 pages). With a movie I get the general idea of the book in a condensed 1 and a half hour. So most of the times I'd be like "oh man, this is so average I'm glad I didn't spend a week reading the book" (Blade Runner comes to mind here ;) )

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Wow... What a great topic!

 

Based on my own experience, I will take the luxury and claim books are, far more often than not, superior to movies. "Lord of the rings", "Dune", "Count of Monte Cristo", "Decameron", "I Malavoglia", but even stuff like "Jungle book, are all better than their movie counterparts. More detail, deeper character analysis, more space left for your imagination to dive into the plot, complex description - and the mere fact that when you watch a movie, your choices/options are narrowed down to what you see, while when reading a book, there is no limit as to how far can your mind take you... If you can create a vivid and palpable projection of what you read, it is just fascinating as to how far can paper pages take you. Reading can be such a rewarding experience :)

 

On the other hand, there are movies which build upon books, and exceed them! My main example would be The Godfather. Those of you who have read Mario Puzo will most probably agree (and maybe not, who knows) that he's everything but a talented writter. Bleak, shallow and dull descriptions go on far beyond their welcome, apparently prfound, yet meaningless character portraits attempt showing us their moral dilemmas. Who cares?

Another example is The Goodfellas. While Nicola Pileggi's best selling non-fiction book about the every day in the italo-american mafia was a super entertaining read, it wasn't really until Martin Scorsese used it as basis for his magnificent movie. He actually squeezed the most of the book, took its finest and juiciest moments, leeched the maximum out of every actor and - voila - a two hour chef d'ouvre.

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So what you are saying is that Ganster movies are better than books? I must admit I have never read any gangster books. I really don't like reading a book to which I have already seen the movie as when I read my mind just imagines what I have already seen on the screen. I want to picture my own characters not see some mug actors face and this spoils it for me. I do however like to see a movie after I have read the book because it is great to see someone else's take on it. Usually it is disappointing as it is not my take but still interesting non-the-less.

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I do however like to see a movie after I have read the book because it is great to see someone else's take on it. Usually it is disappointing as it is not my take but still interesting non-the-less.

amen :posford:

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So what you are saying is that Ganster movies are better than books?

I'm actually not saying anything. :)

 

I just made my examples, which by coincidence turned out to be two magnificent gangster movies. As far as my examples are concerned, I like the movie better than the book. It'd be cool if you'd give any one of the examples I made a try and let me know what you think.

 

But I usually prefer reading the book.

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Guest Guest_lemmiwinks_*

hey I just read this topic again and realized that we all voted wrong... the title says "Is the book ALWAYS better than the movie?", and according to our replies we should've voted "no" because even though we find books most times better than the movie, we don't find them ALWAYS better ;)

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hey I just read this topic again and realized that we all voted wrong... the title says "Is the book ALWAYS better than the movie?", and according to our replies we should've voted "no" because even though we find books most times better than the movie, we don't find them ALWAYS better ;)

What happened with the guest status Lemmi? Anyway, the topic title says always but the actual poll question says usually! Probably not the best way to do a poll topic but then again it seemed to work out all right :)

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I'm actually not saying anything. :)

 

I just made my examples, which by coincidence turned out to be two magnificent gangster movies. As far as my examples are concerned, I like the movie better than the book. It'd be cool if you'd give any one of the examples I made a try and let me know what you think.

 

But I usually prefer reading the book.

To be honest I never really liked the godfather movie (runs and hides) and when I read a book after seeing the movie I can't help but picture the movie :(

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In a book, the author has the time and space to explore a character/theme/plot etc... in depth but a movie can make a much greater impact and bring the book to life. I think on the whole, a book has greater depth but sometimes the movie wins out. I haven't read the Shawshank Redemption but I'm pretty sure the movie is much greater than the book.

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Guest Guest_Rotwang_*

guest is back, cool

So it is. Seems to be offering me the option of uploading an attachment too.

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  • 3 weeks later...
  • 5 months later...

It greatly depends on the book. Books that do not have deep literariness and big importance of subtext can be made into movies kinda lossless. Examples are "Requiem for a Dream (Hubert Selby, jr.)", "A Clockwork Orange (Anthony Burgess)", "In Cold Blood (Truman Capote)", and "One Flew over the Cuckoos Nest (Ken Kesey)". However, these are cases where the movie is just as good as the book; the only movie that I really like more than the book is the already mentioned "The Silence of the Lambs", and that is greatly owed to Sir Anthony Hopkins.

 

In most cases, though, cinematic adaptions are mere rape of great material. For me, the prime example is Tom Tykwer assuming the right to adapt "The Perfume". Whereas it is one hell of a book, the movie is utter bullshit, because you just cannot catch the imaginery the book evokes with mere pictures (paradox, yes). The list goes on ad finitum.

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I have read far to little fiction novels (especially ones that turned into movies) to have a really qualified say... but from the few books, cartoons I have read that that did, I (almost?) every time enjoyed the book more. Akira for example, even though the movie is great, it has a far superior manga-series as a foundation (imho).

 

When it comes to science-fiction, the problem is even worse! And this not only due to the book vs movie ratio, but more the fact that "all" sci-fi movies are based on books that are totally out-dated when it comes to present-day sci-fi, it's simply impossible to find movies that matches the written literature even remotely!

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I have just finished Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? And I can say in this case that the movie Bladerunner which is based on it is much better than the book.

 

It is a rare case when this will happen though and Bladerunner had the stunning sets, beautiful soundtrack and was losely based on the book so it was OK to get rid of the crap and put in awesomeness! B)

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I have just finished Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? And I can say in this case that the movie Bladerunner which is based on it is much better than the book.

 

It is a rare case when this will happen though and Bladerunner had the stunning sets, beautiful soundtrack and was losely based on the book so it was OK to get rid of the crap and put in awesomeness! B)

 

Agree. A rare case. But of course we owe it do Mr. Dick for the vision in the first place.
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  • 1 month later...

Recently I watched The Reader - which was a big surprise. The book is one hell of a boring read. It doesn't do anything with the language, it's just clean and polite story-telling. Hence I absolutely prefered the movie.

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Agree. A rare case. But of course we owe it do Mr. Dick for the vision in the first place.

 

Indeed! Nothing against Mr. Dick ( :unsure: ) as his book was a fine book but the movie really did manage to bring an extra element to the whole thing that brought it alive so well. That is probably one of the reasons why Bladerunner ranks so highly in my all time favourite movies (well the director's cut anyway). It was based on the book but was in the end a whole lot more.

 

Recently I watched The Reader - which was a big surprise. The book is one hell of a boring read. It doesn't do anything with the language, it's just clean and polite story-telling. Hence I absolutely prefered the movie.

 

What was so good about the movie though?
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