Well, what I have found is that the book is usually better than the movie. That does not necessarily mean that the book is way better than the movie. Yes it is true sometimes but it is also because once you read the book, you form a certain perception of how the visualization of it should be and often a movie based on the book will fail to reach the imagination of our minds. The mind is a vastly advanced and entertainingly exciting film maker and unfortunately there are very few instances of anyone being able to re-create the same scenes from one’s mind to the reel. It usually will fall flat.
Take me for example – the science fiction related imaginations of my mind are far more interesting and exciting than anything Star Wars, Star Trek, Stargate, Farscape or any other Scifi franchise or movie can create. However, Gene Roddenberry I ain’t and therefore I cannot even begin to start thinking about create a movie or even a single episode of the stuff in my head – heck, I even have trouble putting it in words! So I must rely on film & tv series makers to get my fix.
Similarly, when you read a book, you create these images in your mind of how the houses, how the people look like. What cars do they drive, what clothes do they wear? How do they talk, walk, smile, cry, yell? How the scene unfolds – all this just from reading of some words in sentences. So when you see a movie based on the book, you are essentially seeing someone else’s interpretation of what you read and created/saw in your mind. It most likely will not match with what you saw and usually you are disappointed and it will fall short. On a few lucky occasions, you will find that the movie far outweighs what you envisioned when you read the novel and are quite happy to praise the movie.
If I think of examples of the exceptions to the norm, I often think of Jurassic Park – there is no fucking way in hell that you were even remotely disappointed to see the Magnum Opus of Steven Speilberg’s work. Yes Michael Crichton wrote a wonderfully detailed novel but the movie did managed to shadow it. Stephen King’s books are fantastic and the man has a very active imagination but Shawshank Redemption & The Green Mile movies do match up to his prose. And although most of you may disagree I did like the Da Vinci Code movie a whole lot and think that it atleast matches the book.
That’s all that I can think of at the moment. Do comment and let me know of any examples that you can think of.