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Can a movie (made for TV or theater) ever be as good as the book?

  1. mike102771 profile image81
    mike102771posted 5 years ago

    The book “Under the Dome” by Stephen King is being made right now into a miniseries. It makes me wonder how much of the book will make the movie. Some cuts make sense such as the many smaller stories from IT or the six (11 year old) boys having sex with Beverly Marsh (who was also 11). But then we have such books as The Rainmaker by John Grisham where the character of the best friend Booker Kane who was important to the story (IMO) cut out. Now I can see how a movie would be 7 or 8 hours if it had the entire book (something like a miniseries) so some things have to be cut. With that cut can a movie ever surpass the book?

    Do you prefer the book, the movie, or do you like both?

    Is there a movie (in your mind) that was better than the book?

    Did anyone else find that part of the book IT disturbing?

  2. timorous profile image83
    timorousposted 5 years ago

    First of all, a book relies partly on your own imagination. If it's well written, it can mean different things to different people. However, the over-arching tone of the book is what 'ought' to be preserved and fleshed out in a movie.

    This doesn't happen for various reasons. A screenplay has to take into account the practicality of staging and filming the various scenes desribed in the book. Some things are dropped because of this. The director also has their own vision of what the book was about. Sometimes they totally miss the gist and go off in another direction, while other directors know how to bring out nuances that were only hinted at in the book, making for a surprisingly rich take on the subject matter. It's sometimes hard to judge the success or failure. It depends on your expectations and interpretation of the original book.

    One movie adaptation that totally captured both the tone of the book, as well as fleshing things out, and making a more coherent movie is the original version of A Christmas Carol (the one with Alistair Sim). Having read the Dickens book, and seen the movie dozens of times, I know there are scenes described in the book that aren't in the movie, and I can understand why. There's also a couple of characters added to the screenplay, that weren't in the book. However, these characters add immeasurably to the continuity..one thing slightly lacking in the book.

    I've never actually read any of Stephen King's books, so I can tell you whether they fare well or poorly on screen. I enjoyed The Shining though.

    1. mike102771 profile image81
      mike102771posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Today (in some books) the author seems to be writing as if he/she is anticipating a screen play. Dicken’s would not have thought of that (even though they did do readings and plays based on books at his time). Also (from what I understand) his England was a very class base society and that would have been reflected in the book. The Shinning is a good example of where a director (Stanley Kubrick) put his stamp on the movie changing the tone of the book. Another of his is the Clockwork Orange (the following is based on what was told to me I didn’t read any of the book) where they skipped the last chapter (chapter 21) of the book where the true moral of the story was (as an older man Alex repents for what he did and tries to amend with the message that only the individual can change him or herself not the state). When the book was released in the US they went as far as removing the final chapter so it would read more like the movie.

  3. Zelkiiro profile image94
    Zelkiiroposted 5 years ago

    I'd say both Red Dragon and The Silence of the Lambs were as good as, if not better than, their original novel counterparts.

    No, I wasn't referring to Manhunter. Manhunter is the inferior adaptation.

    1. mike102771 profile image81
      mike102771posted 5 years agoin reply to this

      Yes, but there is a small group of people who thought that Manhunter (don’t know never saw it) was a better film. Will you watch the new TV show Hannibal? It looks like the prequel to Red Dragon.

      1. Zelkiiro profile image94
        Zelkiiroposted 5 years agoin reply to this

        Only if they keep him a mysterious figure and don't tell us anything about his early life. That's exactly what Hannibal Rising did, and it was a travesty.

        1. mike102771 profile image81
          mike102771posted 5 years agoin reply to this

          It looks like it will deal more with SA Will Graham (Ed Norton) rather than Hannibal. If you remember in the beginning of Red Dragon Graham (Norton) went to Lecter to talk about a case they are working on (giving the idea they did this a lot) when he connects the pattern that Hannibal was the actual killer. I think it will be more like this, but we won’t know until we know. Then we will know.
          I did not see Hannibal Rising and have no plans to.

  4. mathom profile image82
    mathomposted 5 years ago

    I would say The Princess Bride was as good as the book, although it simplified, altered, and punched up different things to make the jump to screen.  Ditto The Last Unicorn.

    Both those had one thing in common: the author was consulted or wrote the script.

    Several of the Potter films were quite good. I'd hazard that some of them were better than the books, since Rowling struggles a bit with pacing and clarity at times.

    Also, while it's not a movie, the radio play of the BBC Lord of the Rings is spot-on, even though it changes things up. Peter Jackson borrowed heavily from it for the first film, then went charging off on his own, to the detriment of his films.

    1. trusouldj profile image80
      trusouldjposted 5 years agoin reply to this

      I would love to see a movie that stays true to the book.  In most cases, I've seen the movie first.  In the case of a tv series like Spenser For Hire, I' was amazed by how much more of an edge the characters have in the original Robert B Parker books.  And with that in mind, the books are more violent.  So I guess it depends on the subject matter; what you're leaving in and taking out.

      1. mike102771 profile image81
        mike102771posted 5 years agoin reply to this

        The time that show was on TV was not that violent. How many gun battles did the A-Team have with no one being hit?