Movies better than books?

On: Friday, May 23, 2008

Controversy about movies based on books and the lack of commitment to the originality of the story and the almost severe way they ignore what made the books unique and special has brought to mind something else...

Are there any movies that are better than the book it was derived from?

3 comments on "Movies better than books?"

Percussivity said...

Well I have only read it once... but the newest telling of War of the Worlds was much more ummm... stimulating than the 1898 novel by H.G. Wells. Of course his was almost purely a work of his own imagination having not a lot to draw from in terms of science fiction in the 19th century; however giving him that credit, the Tom Cruise movie was better as a whole I thought. I'll admit the movie owns most of its success to the intensity of the effects/sound/music, but the story itself was also good I thought and the acting very good (yes even Cruise).

I had to think hard to come up with one example. Now there are a few other examples where a movie is based loosely on some short story or other where I'd give the movie the 'win', but pure book-to-film adaptations almost NEVER can come close to the book. I've even found in a few cases the novelization OF a movie after the fact turns out better than the movie! Books just rule.

The Irascible Neufonzola said...

I'm a fan of the Fry/Laurie adaptations of the Jeeves books by Wodehouse. That one is rather unique in that I wouldn't give the superior nod to either really. The books are all but perfect though, and being the originals, most of what is good about the TV series stems from the text itself. However, the TV series has some unique qualities...particularly in giving life to the 1920s England and New York environment, giving the Bassett a horrible, comic lisp, the funny songs (meeting mild disapproval from Jeeves), and the dippy, vacuous way that Laurie plays Wooster. If you've seen Black Adder, it's like a whole show about Lieutenant George...a cheery dimwit with too much money and not enough to do.

A lot of movies can be great adaptations of books. In fact, it is hard to come up with examples, but there are tons of great/famous movies that are based on obscure, now-unknown books. First one that pops into my head is Dr. Strangelove, but there are tons of others.

The problem arises when you try to make a movie out of a particularly awesome or beloved book. The standard being set so high, it is very easy to fail expectations. Take the Bible, for example. Not been a hugely successful string of movie adaptations of that.

The Unabashed Blogger said...

I have never read the Robert Ludlum Bourne books, but as they are written in an 1980's format and seeing how AWESOME the movies are, I would have to take a guess and say the Bourne movies are better than the books. Dang, now I have to read them.. Sheesh..