If you see a movie and read the book on which it was based, do you compare the two?
Which do you generally like better, the book or the movie version of the story? It doesn't matter which you did first - whether you saw the movie first or read the book Or does that make a difference in your opinion of the story telling?
I always read the book first. So the book is what I focus on. From my perspective, the movie should copy the book. Normally, I prefer the book. However, the Harry Potter books got a little boring and the movies turned out better.
I read the book first whenever possible and see the movie second. Without exception, I find the book version much better. A good author takes us into the characters' thoughts and feelings that they don't always voice out loud, which gives us deeper insight into why they do what they do throughout the story. This is much harder to portray in a film, so the filmmakers usually either cut it out or try to work around it. It usually comes across as forced and shallow--example: the Twilight films in my opinion.
Filmmakers have to do what they have to do when it comes to showing what's going on in the characters' heads, but viewers who have not read the book first sometimes miss things. Another case in point: I read The Hunger Games weeks before seeing the film with my fiancee. She hadn't read the book and had no idea what the three-finger funeral salute meant at the reaping early in the story. It was part of the book, and the filmmakers left that background info out.
My overall answer: read the book first; it's a deeper and richer experience almost without exception.
I touched on this issue in your other question but I wish to elaborate. There can be a good book written by a good writer, such as Mario Puzo's The Godfather. But then along comes a producer and director (Francis Ford Coppola) and hits an all time home run. Books can accomplish things that movies can't and vice versa. I don't think there can be a rule.
I think that if you read the book first and then go see the movie, you usually end up liking the book better. Its not because the movie isn't good, but its hard to live up to the "movie" that you created in your head while reading the book. On the other hand, if you see the movie first and really like it, then I think you will probably enjoy the book also. Reading the book just enhances your movie experience and maybe gives you a little more background that didn't fit into the movie.
Even though I usually read the book and then seen the movie, I would probably enjoy the movies more if I went in the reverse order!
I do compare the two if I have experienced them both. Thses days, if I read the book first, I won't even watch the movie. The movie somehow ruins it for me afterward. I can't think of any time when I preferred the movie version of something over the book. If I see the movie first, it's usually because I was not aware there was a book on which it was based. I guess I'm just not much of a movie person.
In general, any pre-20th century book that was made into a movie is almost ALWAYS better than what the film industry does to it. But, for some reason, I have noticed that the situation is reversed when more modern books are made into movies. Here are just a few examples: C. S. Forester's "The African Queen" (1935) has a rather miserable ending that was, thankfully, changed to provide a better culmination to the Hepburn/Bogart movie. Did you know that "Forest Gump" was based on a novel? I bet you didn't, because the novel is very different and really not that good.
I don't want to be labeled as a purist. I go with whatever seems appropriate for the main storyline. There are times when a movie cleans a book up and there are times when the movie absolutely ruins it. What else can I say?
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