Books vs. Movies

I was just checking out the movies being released this fall, and I was so disappointed to learn The Great Gatsby has been postponed until summer 2013. It’d been previously advertised as coming out this Christmas and I’d been really looking forward to the winter release. I’ve always loved the 1970s version with Robert Redford and Mia Farrow, and as I’ve often mentioned, I have a bit of an obsession with all things 1920s. Plus, I’m a fan of Baz Luhrmann’s movies. If the trailer is any indication of what I can expect, his take on the story will be stunning and surreal.

While I am a lover of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novels, The Great Gatsby is my least favourite, so I don’t have the overly protective attitude about it, like some fans of his work. I do understand why those who love literature don’t get excited about film adaptations of novels though. There’s nothing worse than seeing a beloved book turned into a crappy movie. It’s so rare that a novel can be translated into a motion picture that captures the spirit of a story without destroying what you’d already created within your own imagination.

One example that immediately comes to mind is The Time Traveler’s Wife. I loved the book, then saw the movie, and immediately wished I hadn’t. It was horribly miscast, confusing, and they left out some of my favorite story lines. In that case, the movie not only didn’t do the novel justice, but it actually ruined it for me.

Of course, this isn’t always the case. Sometimes great movies can me made from wonderful books.

These are some of my favourite adaptations:

This was an eerily beautiful book and somehow Sophia Coppola managed to capture that on screen. There were a few subtle differences in the story from the book to the movie, but not enough to really bother me. I thought it was a brilliant.

This is one of my favourite books ever, and despite the liberties that were taken with the story in the movie version (for example: the story was set in an entirely different country from the book), I still loved them both equally.

Come to think of it, this one probably doesn’t count because I saw the movie before I read the book. I have an overwhelming preference for the movie though.

I didn’t see the American version of this one, but the European film was one of the best movie adaptations of a book I’ve ever seen. In fact, if you haven’t read the book already – skip it. Just watch the movie. It’s subtitled, and like, a million hours long, so there’s still going to be plenty of reading.

Have you ever seen a movie you’ve enjoyed as much as the book?

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