Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Books vs their movie/tv counterparts

Doing the Vampire Diaries review got me to thinking (scary thought, I know). I did pick up the first book last night and read the first six chapters and promptly put it right back on the shelf. The character of Elena is completely different, the storyline is way too different, I just couldn't deal with it. But here's where the thinking comes into play...most times the book versions are better than their movie/TV counterparts, but, are there times when the movie/TV counterparts are better than the books? The answer is yes, at least IMO.

It is a rare occurrence, for sure, but it does happen, and the best example, for me, is A Walk To Remember by Nicholas Sparks. I absolutely love this movie, sad ending and all. Shane West is amazing, Mandy Moore is amazing, they have real chemistry, it's just perfect. The book, on the other hand, based supposedly on Nicholas Sparks' real-life sister, was lackluster at best. I'm really surprised I made it through it. I didn't care for his writing style, the setting of the book was in a different time period, and the worst thing of all...and SPOILER ALERT.............the ending, instead of him confessing his undying love to her and how he owed everything to her, he comes back to tell her father that he's met someone else and wants to get remarried! SAY WHAT?!? I don't like sad endings as it is, but do you have to ruin it by stomping on my heart one chapter after you killed her? I haven't read another one of his books since. I don' typically watch his movies either, although I do also own the Notebook (but never watch it past the final Ryan Gosling, Rachel McAdams scene at the end).

In Nicholas Sparks' defense, I knew from the get-go I probably wouldn't like his books anyway...not my style. I mean, how many times can you read, boy meets girl, they fall in love and one, both or someone else dies and everyone is heartbroken? Why would you want to read that? Defeats the purpose of escaping from the real world in my eyes. Plus, his actual writing style is very simplistic, almost like a teen book. He's to writing what Thomas Kinkade is to painting...Thomas Kinkade, like me, watched WAY too much Bob Ross as a kid, it's not talent (OK, there is a base talent there, but not a whole lot), it's all gimmick painting and anyone who knows who Bob Ross is knows what I'm talking about (ooohh, I'm being controversial again!). Yes, he makes "pretty pictures", but anyone who knows the "tricks" can do pretty much the same thing. I know what you're going to say, "but Keebs, don't you have all the Kinkade Disney Dreams in your stash?". Why yes, but you missed a key word in that question...Disney. If Nicholas Sparks wrote a Disney book, I'd buy it too(might not read it, but I'd buy it because it's Disney).

I know it makes me un-American because I don't like Nicholas Sparks or Thomas Kinkade. I also don't like apple pie and fried chicken (unless it's boneless)...I think we've established by now that I'm not typical. Back on topic...

Another example I gave in my Vampire Diaries review is the Sookie Stackhouse books. The television show is better. Unfortunately, I've got the memory of at least the first seven books rattling around in my head confusing things. But book Sookie is very annoying and wishy-washy. But just the opposite with the other example I gave, Twilight...even though I don't like Bella, in either book or movie form, I'd much rather take book version over Kristen Stewart any day!

The Harry Potter books, on the other hand, are a complete enigma. They are, at least in my scary mind, a complete separate entity from the movies. I don't confuse them, or group them together, or ever find myself comparing them. It's a really weird dichotomy!

Same with the Jane Austens! I think in in the Austen case, it's because I have about 6 different versions of P&P, and 4 of Persuasion, etc, etc, so merging them together along with the books wouldn't work anyway. Plus, classic literature is a completely different language, and reading it and hearing it causes two completely different mind processes and you picture things differently (at least I do anyway).

Only one other book/movie comparison comes to mind, and that's the romance novel remakes. Diana Palmer's Diamond Girl is the first that comes to mind. It was one of those Harlequin romance movies from the late 90's. I love this movie...it's completely cheesy and stupid, but I love it anyway! I did finally find the book and it totally sucked! Completely different story line and completely different lead heroine! Guess they didn't give the author much creative control, which was a good thing since the movie was way better. But I do like a lot of Diana Palmer's other books, so it's not that she's a bad author.

But one of the romance novelists you'd think who would get complete creative control is Nora Roberts. I watch all her movies made from her books and wow...talk about complete opposites! Montana Sky is my favorite of those movies (well, might be a toss up between Montana Sky and Carolina Moon), but the book was long and way too drawn out on both accounts. But, Tribute, one of my favorite of her solo books...seriously? Brittany Murphy? What were they thinking? Did the producers read the book at all? I know it was Brittany's last movie before she died, but still...at least they got Jason Lewis cast right! And Northern Lights didn't work in either book or movie form, so casting LeeAnn Rimes didn't hurt a thing!

I try to read the book before I see the movie/TV, I think that does affect how much I put the movie/TV above the books. Sometimes I still end up liking the movie/TV better (as is the case in the Sookie-verse), but it gives me a wider view of that universe. I guess what I'm trying to say is that when you read you create the imagines and scenes and characters in your mind and the movies/TV backup or reinforce those images, whereas, seeing the images first, doesn't allow for your minds creative processes to run their own track and you get a bit off course.

Soap box dismount.


Mangogirl said...

I do think of them as very different elements.
Harry potter movies is such a seperate thing to the book you can't compare.
Lord Of The Rings on the other hand is wonderful they tried to stay so true to the book and keep it real.
One book my mother loved was Power of One but it was so different they changed the story for no reason. They ruined it.

Books to movies is such a dicey thing they very rarely ever get them right.

Kate said...

I read the first few pages of TVD book and nearly threw up on myself, I hate that language - why so basic and patronising, like they are writing for idiots. As a teenager I dont remember reading that drivel - but the show is way better so its OK! haha

Abbybeth said...

I agree on the Kinkade thing! When he first came on the scene, my parents were fans and had a few nice pieces, then he became an art prostitue as my dad says - whoring himself and his mass produced art out to whomever would pay. It all looks the same, he is definitely today's Bob Ross. The Disney Dreams are my one exception too because they aren't too Kinkade-y ... and are what I consider to be beautiful, grown up expressions of Disney love.