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Sunday, August 15, 2010

Books versus Movies

My name is Thia and I am a movie-holic. I love movies. I am a straight-up movie buff. I am also addicted to romance novels. These two things are my vices and I am extremely proud to say that I am not looking for rehabilitation from my addictions anytime soon.

One thing that kinda gripes me is when people complain about movies that are adapted from books. You will hear these people say things like – The characters did not look like I thought they would. Or They left out a bunch of the good stuff. Or The movie just did not capture the message of the book. This is when I have to grit my teeth and not say Well, duuuhh! Of course they are not the same!!

Reading is a journey for your imagination. Unless you are reading one of those books that have bright, pretty pictures on every page, you are in complete control of how you perceive the characters and their actions. The authors are merely our guides. What your mind does with the information it takes in is truly up to you. I have discussed with other readers how we would picture a certain hero or heroine. It is amazing (not really ;) ) how many of us insert ourselves into the role of heroine or hero. Or how many of us see the same character is such completely different ways.

For example, ONE FOR THE MONEY by Janet Evanovich has just begun filming. This is one of my all time favorite books and series. I have always imagined the lead female as a Marisa Tomei or Sandra Bullock as the beautiful, slightly flaky, trouble magnet heroine. However, Katherine Heigl has been cast in that role. Oh, this is something we could debate all day. Who is Ranger? The perfect Joe Morelli is so-and-so. In the end, the actors chosen to play these parts may become our new ideal for their characters. There is no perfect answer for this side of the issue. But it sure is fun to get together and discuss with your friends. ;)

My son is the world's worst critic for books-turned-movies. He always complains about whole storylines being left out. (Especially Harry Potter movies.) What I try to remind him is that in a book, we are given a lot more background detail that does not necessarily need to be in a movie. We read that the boy is walking into a dark and dreary alley that smells of filth and decay. With a movie, we can see that scenario. Also, it is simply too much to ask for to have the screenwriters transfer every aspect of a book and still not have us spending all day at the movies. Can you imagine?

TV series' adapted from books are a particular favorite of mine. Oh, Sookie! True Blood is all the rage among my fellow paranormal reading friends! My hubs, who is very much not a reader, loves the show as much as I do. However, I have to watch myself so that I don't discuss how Eric did this on the show but would never have done that in the book. (And Oh, I love to see what Eric does! Could they have picked a better Eric?? He is not what I had originally pictured, but I love their choice!!)

My solution or final thought on the whole book versus movie debacle – Take them each for what they are. Movies and Books are separate forms of entertainment. Do not compare them, because truthfully, apples and grapples are not really the same thing. One is a version of the other, but they are simply not the same thing.

Now, are there any movie characters or television characters that you think fit your ideas of them perfectly? Which ones far exceeded your expectations and which ones bombed? What book are you looking forward to seeing as a movie? Which one has been the best so far? Which one tanked? Is there a book you want to see as a movie – give us the who, what, when, and wheres!


Livia said...

When I posted the cast for ONE FOR THE MONEY I did not expect the moans and groans and the "he doesn't fit the role", and the "she doesn't fit the role". But, that's the problem with books to movies. With the book we develop the looks of the characters in our minds and they stick there forever, like in the case of the Stephanie Plum characters, we've had 16 books to live with these characters and I bet if you ask none of us describe them the same way. Movies come along and totally destroy images and the movie won't follow the book to a "T" which will make it worst. I really don't watch a lot of books to movies because I get so disappointed.

Glo said...

Excellent points you made, everyone see characters as different. All have their own opinion. I would like to see Catherine Coulter FBI series made into a movie, because of the suspense, and I think the characters would show up well on the screen. For Dillion Savich I can see George Clooney, and for Lacey Sherlock maybe Catherine Zeta-Jones. Thanks for the great Blog.

geri said...

I've found the comments here interesting. The one movie/book that comes to mind right now is Brokeback Mountain. I actually saw the movie before reading the book by Annie Proulx. The movie was better with slightly different character development. I also thought the movie Gone with the Wind was better than the book. And I agree that Sandra Bullock would have made a great Stephanie Plum! geri

Livia said...

I read BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN first by mistake. Once I started it I finished it and considered it a well written book but wasn't interested in seeing the movie. The one book I read that was redone well as a movie was The Godfather.

Moni said...

Great topic for discussion.

Thia I totally agree that reading is a different experience than watching a movie. At the same time, I would not want to see my favorite books turned into big screen movies or made for television specials. For this reason, I will not even think about which actors/actresses can play the role of the characters in various titles. However, if I see a movie that I love (Bourne series), I will not read the book and in this case, I cannot imagine anyone but Matt Damon playing Jason Bourne.

I felt this way with the Nora Roberts novels that aired on Lifetime. I hope that her In Death series (JD Robb) does not get optioned for the big screen or tv (blah). I do not think anyone could do the characters justice!

Livia said...

Monica, I agree with you on the J D Robb series. I know it is being discussed as a series or movie, but like you I wouldn't be interested in seeing it if this was optioned as a movie. I feel the same about Brockmann's Troubleshooter series, I don't want to see any of those books come to the screen.

Lori said...

I am a total movie addict as well and as an avid reader and I understand completely where some of these comments come from. But I always try to treat movies adapted from books as totally different entities, that way when there are differences, I don't feel let down or conflicted. But I must admit, I hope the characters depicted in the Stephanie Plum series fit the ideas that are embedded in my brain. I will be totally disappointed if Ranger isn't as I have always imagined him!

Thia said...

Sigh - no-one could ever do my vision of Ranger justice! I am a total cupcake!!

While I think I could really get into an IN DEATH series, I agree - there is no living Roarke! He is everything a hero should be all rolled up in my wondermous imagination. Nope, no equal in reality!

I just finished watching tonight's True Blood and I have to say that this is a very well done crossover. The book and the show veer off the path, but closely mirror certain aspects. I will confess to ending every episode with a smile and eager to see what those rascals will do next!

Great comments!

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Livia said...

Early on when I first started reading the Eve and Roark series, I pictured Roark as the very young Pierce Brosnan. The way he looked when he was Remington Steele back in the 80s. But the more I got into the series, the less I pictured him that way. I too now have my own description of Roark and no actor can match it.