Movie adaptations of novels

And so the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter marathon has ended…(sob!) until I get my paws on the next in the series. Reading another old favourite this month: Robert Ludlum’s The Bourne Identity. I really think the movie is fab but haven’t read the book in years (too many to admit to!). What’s interesting is to see just how different the movie is from the book – especially the character of Marie. I hadn’t remembered anything about her from the book when I first saw the movie – sort of just going along with the flow – but having read the book, I think she’s a totally different person! It makes me wonder whether the script writers had Franka Potente already in mind before they wrote the script, and thus adapted the part to suit her. Not that I’m making a judgement: it’s just interesting.

Personally, I always prefer to have read a book before I see the movie adaptation because then I can make allowances for changes… and if they turn out to be not particularly pleasing, I can hold the image of the ‘proper’ story (i.e. the original book) in my mind and at least give the directors credit for trying. I know some people would disagree. I know plenty of people who, for example, loved The English Patient on screen and ‘couldn’t get into’ the book. I adored the novel and thought the movie well done, but not a patch on the orginal book. The movie just seemed to lack that essential something – emotion, power, maybe? – that Ondaatje infused his writing with and made me just close the book and go ‘wow!’.

And how about Joanne Harris’s ‘Chocolat’? Same sort of thing. I loved the book; the character of the priest, the symbolism inherent in his public display of greed, the way the book ended – there was no possible other ending for me. I did like the movie , too – the actors really made it. I mean Johnny Depp – what’s not to like? But for me, anyway, the script writers chickened out by changing the ending. Some of my girlfriends don’t agree. They like everything to be ‘resolved’ and neatly tied up so they very much preferred the movie.

And then there’s Anne Rice’s ‘Interview With the Vampire’: I’d already fallen in love with Lestat, and even though I couldn’t possibly imagine Tom Cruise playing him, I thought Cruise did a pretty fine job. I don’t think the movie spoiled the book or vice versa. I don’t re-read the book and see Tom Cruise playing Lestat, I still see my own creation birthed by my imagination and I’m sure Anne Rice would be delighted to hear that, LOL.

Of course, being a kiwi, I have to mention Lord of the Rings :-). I thought Peter Jackson did an utterly superb job of adapting the trilogy to the big screen. I hear he’s going to be tackling Naomi Novik’s ‘His Majesty’s Dragon’ at some stage… can’t wait!

And lastly, the reading list for February.

-Cerulean Sins, Narcissus in Chains, Incubus Dreams, Micah, all by Laurell K. Hamilton
-‘Princes of the Outback trilogy: The Rugged Loner, The Ruthless Groom, The Rich Stranger, by Bronwyn Jameson
-He Loves Lucy by Susan Donovan
-Abby Cooper, Pyschic Eye by Victoria Laurie
-Goddess of the Rose by P.C. Cast
-The Good Girl’s Guide to Murder by Susan McBride
-Forbidden by Helen Kirkman
-Dark Secret by Christine Feehan

Seems like a short list… what have I been doing? Probably catching up with boring old accounts and paying bills. Oh, and (finally) getting back into some exercise to try and shed those extra kilos I have padding bits I’d rather not talk about. Anything’s better than having to sit down and write the dreaded synopsis, huh? Even exercise, which is certainly saying something where I’m concerned. It just majorly sucks the big kumara that the joy of finishing writing another manuscript is so diminished by having to write one of those darned things. Oh well. Enough procrastinating. I can’t market the ms if I haven’t written a synopsis, so it’s logoff time and back to that blank Word doc… oh dear, look at that: it’s time to start dinner. Perhaps tomorrow?

:-) M

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2 Responses to “Movie adaptations of novels”

  1. Lisa Richards says:

    I personally prefer to read the book after seeing the movie. With the exception of one book,(Cold Mountain)I have always thought the book was better than the movie. If I read the book first, I’m always saying to myself, nope that’s not what happened and I know what to expect. It nice to see if the movie makes sense without the knowledge gained by reading the book. I can enjoy the movie if I have no expectations and then read the book and still love both of them.

    • Maree says:

      I think I’m gonna have to change my habits because you’re absolutely right, Lisa. A movie adapation can be a brilliant visual and visceral experience, as long as you aren’t carrying expectations from a book. And then I can still love the book… after watching the movie.

      Means I’ll wring double the pleasure from the story — what’s not to love about that idea?