Some people prefer reading over watching a movie. Others prefer movies. My husband's motto is, "I'll wait until it comes out on DVD." Me? I love both. I love to watch a movie after I've read the book. I like comparing the two. Most of time, the movie isn’t nearly as good as the book, mainly because it's difficult to portray inner emotions and turmoil on film. But in some cases, the movie version of a good book sucks.
One of my favorite Dean Koontz’s books is Watchers. In the novel, a top secret government laboratory creates two genetically altered life forms. One is a golden retriever with the IQ of a human. The other is a vicious, hideous monster who hates humans for creating him and the dog, Einstein because his creators loved him. The book combines a man, a woman, and a dog with action, suspense, horror and romance. What could be better than that?
In the first movie version, the man is a sixteen year old boy and Nora is his mother. There is no romance, precious little suspense or action, and cheesy horror. So, Hollywood created Watchers II, a second version loosely based on Koontz’s novel. The second movie more closely resembles the first. There’s a man, a woman, and a dog but the horror isn’t scary, the suspense is poorly written, and the action is over-acted. Still, better than the first movie version.
Hollywood did a pretty good job with the movie version of John Grisham’s A Time to Kill. Although in the book, I don’t remember the lawyer’s law student getting so much “face time.” Then again, Sandra Bullock played the part so I guess that’s why the movie version gave her a stronger role than the character in the book had. Still, the movie was well done and IMHO, more closely followed the book than just about any I’ve ever seen.
The movie Cujo, based on Stephen King’s horror novel was good, but not nearly as good as the book. In the book, King gets into the dog’s head. That seems a bit hard to do on film, and the director of the movie didn’t even attempt it. But if you like horror movies, this one is a lot better than Pet Cemetery and no cute little children die and become blood thirsty zombies.
Jeffery Deaver’s The Bone Collector was an awesome book. In the movie, Denzel Washington portrays the paralyzed former detective, Lincoln Rhyme. In one scene, the killer comes into Rhyme’s home. Rhyme’s is lying in bed, paralyzed except for one twitching finger. Washington did such a good job portraying Rhyme’s character that for a moment, I actually believed Washington was paralyzed. IMHO, he deserved an Oscar for that role. And yet, he wins an Oscar for his role in Training Day.
Washington did a fine job portraying a dirty cop, but other actors have played similar roles just as well. And Denzel Washington has had much stronger performances in much better movies. In Malcolm X, Denzel Washington seemed to become his character. And his acting in A Man on Fire was phenomenal. That movie had me biting my nails and balling like a baby at the end.
Ken Follett’s Eye of the Needle made a pretty good movie. In my opinion, it was one of Donald Southerland’s best performances.
The movie version of Somewhere in Time, based on Richard Matheson’s novel was enjoyable as well. Then again, I love Jane Seymour and thought she was nicely paired with Christopher Reeve—may he rest in peace.
And I can’t compare books to movies without comparing Gone with the Wind. Both the book and the movie are classics. In the movie, however, Scarlet O’Hara has only one child and if I remember correctly, she had four or five in the book. I remember liking this movie when I watched it way back in the 70’s. I tried to watch again years later when my daughters were younger. They were bored and laughed at the special effects. I cringed at the bad accents and horrible acting. In my opinion, Clark Gable and Butterfly McQueen (who played Prissy,) were the only actors in that film who didn’t over act or do a horrible job faking a Southern accent.
Debbie Macomber’s This Matter of Marriage made a pretty good Lifetime movie. So have several of Nora Robert’s books. I didn’t like the ending of the book or the movie Message in a Bottle. I loved the movie version of The Notebook. The end was sad, but satisfying. I heard the book ends differently. I haven’t read it. My favorite Nicholas Sparks’ books are The Choice and The Guardian. Both end happily. So, I bet they’re never made into a movie.
The coast guard movie, The Guardian, is one of my favorite Kevin Costner movies. It was not based on Spark’s book.
Since my reading tastes run toward romance, thrillers, and suspense, there are many more books that have been made into movies that I haven’t seen. I’ve seen many movies based on books but haven’t read the book so I can’t really compare them. And I’ve read countless books that will never be made into a movie.
I enjoyed the movie Sense and Sensibility but I can’t for the life of me remember if I’ve read the book or Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. There are some books I’ve heard so much about, I can’t remember if I’ve actually read them or not.
Then there are the books/movies on my TBR (to be read) list and TBW (to be watched) list. I own a copy of The Secret Life of Bees. I’ve yet to read it or see the movie. Nor, have I read or watched The Help. I seldom go out to the movies anymore and my reading time is severely limited by everything else on my TDL (to do list.)
I can’t end this post without mentioning one of my favorite books: Alexander Dumas’ The Count of Monte Cristo. The book ends with Dante’ finding a new life and love with Haydee, but I always wished Dumas’ had ended it differently. In the 2002 movie version, I got my wish. Dante’ and Mercedes live happily ever after, which is my favorite kind of ending and the main reason that in this instance, I prefer the movie to the book.