- Books, Literature, and Writing
Book Versus Film
Book versus film, it's an argument that is always going to rage, and rightly so we are blessed to have both types of media to engage all of our senses. And believe me, I don't want to see either of them disappear, we need them.
As a kid I was a comic book reader and have carried that through to today, progressing on to Graphic Novels. My favourite author in this genre is Alan Moore. His novels have spawned many films, but he has distanced himself from them because he has always held the ethos that what he has committed to page has been done so for a particular reason. The novels are meticulously written with a fantastic amount of detail, that even the greatest screen writer couldn't do justice to. When you read one of these novels you have the ability to flick back to a certain point and remind yourself of an image or a happening because you're not dictated to by the projectionist. This fear of Moore's has been borne out in a lot of the films that have appeared on screen based on his ideas. The League Of Extraordinary Gentleman, bears no resemblance to the exceptional written works that are available. V for Vendetta, was an improvement but still doesn't reach the heights in anyway that the written word and drawn images that were imagined by Moore and David Lloyd.
Personally I am quite a slow reader, compared to my friends, so reading a decent sized novel is a huge achievement for me! But I never shy away from doing so because I receive great satisfaction from digesting exactly what the author has ccommitted to the page. The greatest satisfaction I get from reading a great piece of writing, is that it is me who decides what the Dust in Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials looks like, or what the scar on Harry Potter's head actually looks like. But I know that everybody is going to have a slightly different perception of these pieces of information that we read.
Just before Peter Jackson went on his epic task of creating screen versions of probably the greatest fantasy stories ever written, The Lord Of The Rings trilogy, I started on a journey of reading Novels that I knew I would be going to see at the cinema. This has lead me to be both incredibly fulfilled when I go to see one of these films, and also bitterly disappointed. Yet even though I know if I continue this strategy it will probably lead me down the same path again and again, I won't stop.
It must be an incredibly difficult scenario for a screen writer to convert a massively known and loved piece of literature in to something that will work on the screen and have an appeal to a different sort of audience. As well as being sympathetic to the original work to ensure that fans are not disappointed, they have to remove and add things from the story so that it will work in film. More often than not, we find that parts of a story have to be ommitted because of if most novels were put up on screen word for word they would all be 10 hours long! and this is probably what frustrates the book reader most, Why miss that bit but not that bit?
We live in an era where technology and things that 'take less effort' are becoming more and more common place. This observation would lead us to think that taking the easy optiion and going to watch the film of the book will be the winner. I sincerley hope not, having started on my quest of book versus film I know I will continue and suffer the emotional roller coaster of elation and upset. But this is what we are all about! Everybody is differen, and thank the Lord we are, otherwise we just wouldn't go forward.
Every Saturday night my eldest son (12) chooses a DVD from my collection and we watch it together and discuss it from every angle. His most recent choices have been, Let Me In and Let The Right One In. The Hollywood and original interpretation of John Ajvide Lindqvist's classic Vampire story, Let The Right One In. He then asked me if I had the novel, I said yes, and asked if me if he could read it? He is now ploughing through 500+ pages. I think I have now passed on my eternal dilemma to my son, and I'm very proud!