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Books to Movies - Pros and Cons


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#1 flame

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 02:35 PM

I have made a post on the Dan Brown thread on the lines of this topic but thought it deserved a thread all to itself.

In my opinion the number of film adaptations of books that are good can be counted on the fingers of one hand - the vast majority of books are a million times better than the films made of them. There is at least one best selling author who agrees with me because he now refuses to sell film rights.

So is it a good idea to make a film of a book or is always a massive disappointment and ruins the book?
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#2 Cybagem

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Posted 08 April 2012 - 11:19 PM

Books are more detailed, there is no doubt about it. Based on that alone, they'll be favored by their movie counterparts. Most of the people who flog to the theaters don't really care about missing details - the people who care are the ones who have read the books

There are benefits of making movies out of books being that most movie goers don't care one way or another how faithful the movies are to the books, I think the bad outweighs the good.

Movies have a far bigger reach than books. Not that many people read books these days. If the movie is well made and generate a decent amount of buzz, the author gains popularity they wouldn't in publishing alone. More publicity means more book sales, bigger deals etc
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#3 SimplyJo

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 02:43 AM

I agree with Wendy totally that movie goers do not care if the movie is based on a book or not as long as it is entertaining enough.

Although I personally feel that a lot of times critical points are omitted from the movie. Also books gives the readers the opportunity to use their imagination and picturize everything in their mind as a movie.

The adaptations are just the imagination of the script writer and the director. It works the other way too - if a movie does well the book sales shoot up. The biggest example is Harry Potter series.
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#4 flame

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 11:22 AM

The Harry Potter films were total pants and I cannot count the number of young people i have met who have decided not to read the books because they have seen the films. When the first books came out and everyone was raving about the books - especially about the adults reading them it got people, both children and adults, to read books who had not bothered before - it put books into the ascendency......until the films came along. Then people just went back to waiting for the film - and then not being impressed.

How many people who have seen the likes of The Da Vinci Code then chose not to read the book?
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#5 Angel

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 02:09 PM

according to me it is a vice versa approach. If the book is good people will flock to the movies to watch it. And if the movie is nice the book sales sky rockets.

I feel some writers now a days write books after a movie deal with producers which kills it for people who like to have a good read.
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#6 Conman

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 02:45 PM

Well, I think books and cinema go hand in hand , in a way - they are both forms of entertainment. When I read a book, i visualize it in my mind (which I am sure all of us book worms love to do). So once a movie based on the book is released, I am very excited to see how good /accurately I visualized it and if the movie has all the scenes which book talks about. Its all good fun for me :)
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#7 Rhodes

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 02:45 PM

I have a twist of thought on this. On one hand movies from books are a bad idea and there are reasons I have read here that make up mine as well, but also, if we're to teach our kids to read, it doesn't help to make the very books they read into movies as when they are called on to do a book report, will it be based on the book or movie version? Books like "Gone With The Wind" "War and Peace" and "Dune" are so long in the page and short in pictures that it's about as dry as the paper it's written on. Having seen "Dune" and "GWTW" once it was made in movies (small or large screen) it helped to see the book in action and the characters were a bit more personable rather than relying on a character met on page 10 who isn't in focus until page 50 of the book; by then the character is lost in the pages until page 258 when they are suddenly killed. The book is 600 pages long, so who remembers by page 443 why he died and is now back from the dead haunting his killer? It just isn't always practical to read such books and not see the movie. It spoils the ending but at least you get there within the 3 hours of watching rather than the 6 months of reading.
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#8 flame

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Posted 09 April 2012 - 04:32 PM

I think so much of it depends on how well the book is interpreted - which seems to often involve making it completely different from the book. For instance i can quite happily watch the James Bond films and read the books - and the 2 generally are totally different - in emphasis if nothing else.

I think one reason I generally hate films of books is because it is so difficult to do well - film professionals tend to look for some formula and it doesn't work like that - I mean look at silence of the lambs which is one of the very few film of books I like and compare it to Hannibal - same film team, same author, same characters - and yet this time the film misses the book completely (I found the book so disturbing it took me over a year to finish - books that length i generally read in days).

It is possible to make a film of a book - its just a lot lot harder than most of the film world credits and all too often they fail - and all too often they dont seem to mind that failure so long as the film makes money. The authors dont seem to care if their work is butchered so long as someone pays big money to butcher it.
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#9 DareDevil

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 11:01 AM

The Harry Potter films were total pants and I cannot count the number of young people i have met who have decided not to read the books because they have seen the films. When the first books came out and everyone was raving about the books - especially about the adults reading them it got people, both children and adults, to read books who had not bothered before - it put books into the ascendency......until the films came along. Then people just went back to waiting for the film - and then not being impressed.

How many people who have seen the likes of The Da Vinci Code then chose not to read the book?


They left out some details in the movies but Harry Potter is one of the best adaptations I've seen. It helped that JK Rowlings was involved in the production of all the movies. It helped preserve her original work.

The reason people who have seen the movies don't have any desire to read the books is because they didn't miss any big plots.

I have a twist of thought on this. On one hand movies from books are a bad idea and there are reasons I have read here that make up mine as well, but also, if we're to teach our kids to read, it doesn't help to make the very books they read into movies as when they are called on to do a book report, will it be based on the book or movie version? Books like "Gone With The Wind" "War and Peace" and "Dune" are so long in the page and short in pictures that it's about as dry as the paper it's written on. Having seen "Dune" and "GWTW" once it was made in movies (small or large screen) it helped to see the book in action and the characters were a bit more personable rather than relying on a character met on page 10 who isn't in focus until page 50 of the book; by then the character is lost in the pages until page 258 when they are suddenly killed. The book is 600 pages long, so who remembers by page 443 why he died and is now back from the dead haunting his killer? It just isn't always practical to read such books and not see the movie. It spoils the ending but at least you get there within the 3 hours of watching rather than the 6 months of reading.



If I am reading the same book for two months no matter what the length is, it must be pretty boring. I do understand what you mean

You can't possibly condense a 1000+ page book/series into a 2 hour movie. Readers get a better handle on the story and characters than movie goers.
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#10 CAMom50

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Posted 10 April 2012 - 09:31 PM

If I am reading the same book for two months no matter what the length is, it must be pretty boring. I do understand what you mean

You can't possibly condense a 1000+ page book/series into a 2 hour movie. Readers get a better handle on the story and characters than movie goers.

I cannot see blowing through War and Peace or Dune in under a couple of months, as Rhodes has said, it's so dry and at times real slow going. I do agree about the kids reading too, it's hard when the book becomes a movie. Takes out the purpose of books when it comes to learning how to read. Isn't fair either that the classics have been done to death as movies or television/cable shows.
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#11 realityjunkie

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Posted 14 April 2012 - 09:37 AM

A lot of people never even read the book before seeing the movie, so I think doing a good job with the film is fine and actually might encourage some moviegoers to subsequently pick up the book. Hollywood is running out of good, original ideas, so if they want to borrow from a bestseller, I say have at it. It sure beats another stupid romantic comedy.
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#12 RemoteStealer

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 02:22 PM

This isn't an issue that can be settled with a yes or no answer. I know right now old sitcoms are next to be revived as with budgeting and such it's just nearly impossible to come up with something that hasn't already been done. I would like to think though that the movie made from book version would be watchable. So much isn't. I have watched Winnie The Pooh and read the books. I much prefer my imagination over those made in Hollywood.
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#13 kinser

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 03:45 PM

I almost always like the book better, although there are a few exceptions. It's really hard to translate a book to the big screen - readers just tend to form too many ideas of how characters look, etc. when reading a book, so it's disappointing when it turns out to be different on the screen. Novels are also generally way too long to make a 2 hour movie out of, so a lot of parts are typically cut, which is also something that can disappoint the reader as well. I tend to dislike a movie that has been based on a book if I've read the book first. I'm much more likely to like the movie if I haven't read the book first, even if I read the book later and still like it better.
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#14 kinser

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 03:52 PM

I mentioned The Shawshank Redemption in another post as being one of the few examples of when I thought the movie was actually better than the book it was based on. Do you know of others? I've never read The Godfather, but I've heard many people claim that the film was much better. I also thought the films Misery and Dolores Claiborne were better than Stephen King's books (or maybe I just really like Kathy Bates),

There are a few I've though were comparable (meaning I liked both the book and the movie): Fried Green Tomatoes is one I can think of off hand (what do you know - another Kathy Bates movie :lol ). The Exorcist was good as both a book and movie (with very little change - the movie followed the book very well).
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#15 DareDevil

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 04:42 PM

You'll be hard pressed to find a case where the movie was better than the books. I haven't encountered a movie I thought was better than the book.

I equally loved both book and movie of Memoirs of a Geisha, if that counts
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#16 kinser

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 04:52 PM

You'll be hard pressed to find a case where the movie was better than the books. I haven't encountered a movie I thought was better than the book.

I equally loved both book and movie of Memoirs of a Geisha, if that counts

I loved Memoirs of a Geisha (the book). I thought movie was just okay.

Jaws was good as a book and movie.

I like the movie Stand By Me a lot, but the story it's based on is still much better.
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#17 kinser

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 04:54 PM

To Kill a Mockingbird - great movie, but an outstanding book.
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#18 Anna

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 05:43 PM

Well, I have to admit that I have never seen a movie that I thought was better than the book it was based off of. I have seen a lot of movies that have come really close, but ultimately things suffer because there's just no way to cram all that detail into 2-3 hours. The book always provides a more satisfactory experience for me.

The closest scenario for me would have to be with Stephen King's The Shining. Stanley Kubrick did such an awesome job with that movie that I actually got almost as much enjoyment out of it as I did the book. I think that, for me, that movie is my number one favorite horror movie of all time.
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#19 Cybagem

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 08:40 PM

The closest scenario for me would have to be with Stephen King's The Shining. Stanley Kubrick did such an awesome job with that movie that I actually got almost as much enjoyment out of it as I did the book. I think that, for me, that movie is my number one favorite horror movie of all time.

I am glad I read this thread.

I have been meaning to read The Shining since forever. I just started watching Stephen King movies. I started with The Shawshank Redemption, great movie but I honestly think it is one of those over hyped movies.
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#20 BonnyC

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Posted 27 April 2012 - 06:43 PM

Nope, I can't think of a single one. The same goes for tv shows. I guess it's just because I can't become engrossed in a movie or show the way that I can with a book.
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