With so many movies being based on popular book series as of late, we’ve been seeing a lot of the same kinds of discussions popping up time and time again. Did they get the characters right? Did it capture the spirit of the novel? Did they change the dialogue? How could they cut out my favourite scene?? Adapting a book for the big screen almost always requires a compromise, which could explain why people are often disappointed with the result. Still, even with something as universally praised as The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, fans seem to do the most nitpicking. You hear people say it all the time, but is it always just a given that the book is better than the movie?
One of the biggest problems with adapting a book is that you have to live up to people’s imaginations; readers fill in the blanks in their mind and interpretations can vary wildly. Books also have no restriction as to how long they can be, whereas movies are usually limited to three hours max. On the flip side, maybe it is just a case of the first experience with a story usually being the preferred medium. How many people would say the novelization of a movie is better? Still, I do think there are some movies that improve on a mediocre book. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Jurassic Park, and Children of Men all come to mind. What do you think? Is the written word always superior to a visual medium like film? Is it always better to read the book before seeing the movie? What movies are better than their source material? Give us your thoughts here on Open Forum Friday.