| || |
Read it first!
December 16, 2007 - Amanda Alexander
I have always felt that before you go to a concert you should know the songs of the artist. It's common courtesy, and it makes the whole experience that much more fun if you can sing along and live in the moment at the show. If you end up loving the concert, you will be glad you knew some of the songs. Even if a friend invites you at the last minute, you should at least listen to the artist on the way there.
I feel this way even more so regarding books, and the movies "based on" or "inspired by" them. A few weeks ago, when I went to see the movie "Into the Wild," I exited the theater in front of a person who was telling his friends how much he wished he had read the book first. "The movie was really good, but I was wondering the whole time how well it had stuck with the theme of the book, and wishing that I had read the book first," he was saying. I wanted to turn around, shake my finger in his face and tell him that yes, he should have read the book first, because that was what had made the movie so meaningful to me- I got to see the characters I had grown to love in the book come to life on screen.
If you're like me, you don't have time to be so "in the know" about books that you read all the good ones before anybody decides to make a movie about them. My strategy is to read the best-sellers, because they have already proven themselves to be well-liked. Also, if you see that a movie is being made about a certain book that you haven't had the chance to read yet, and you know you will want to see the movie, start reading the book now! It's easy to tell which ones are being made into movies because they will often re-release the book with a new cover, featuring the actors of the movie. I feel so strongly about this that if I haven't read the book before the movie is released, I will just wait for it to come out on DVD so I can finish the book first.
If you read the book first, you will get so much more out of the movie. This has happened to me personally just about every time I have seen a movie based on a book. For example, I just read the book "Mystic River" by Dennis LeHane, and then rented the movie so I could compare the two. After watching the movie, I was positive that I had enjoyed it twice as much as I would have without having read the book. Books, in my opinion, have so much more creative freedom. They have the ability to reflect on a character's past without using cheesy, vague flashback scenes. They can explain the character's innermost feelings without the character having to actually speak them aloud. They can delve into the psychology of a character's actions. As I was watching the movie "Mystic River," the whole time I was piecing things together with information I had gotten from the book- information that hadn't been revealed in the movie. In the story, a man commits a murder, but the movie doesn't explain his motivation as fully as the book does. I don't think I would have understand anything about the characters in the movie if the book hadn't told me how they really felt underneath the facades they were presenting.
Sometimes a movie is just a flop, like "The Da Vinci Code." This doesn't say anything about the value of the book. If I hadn't read the book before I had seen that movie, I never would have read it because I would have assumed it was boring and confusing. But I actually thought the book was very interesting and, while it had many complex twists and turns, they were easy to follow in the format of the book.
Once in a blue moon, along will come a movie that actually lives up to the book. The only time I have personally seen this happen is with the movies based on the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Seeing the movies actually enriched my book-reading experience because it made it easier for me to picture the characters and the places desribed in Tolkien's books. Many times, this backfires because you already had the character imagined in you head as someone more handsome, or with different hair, or less arrogant. But in the case of a fantasy book, I find it easier to picture things in my head with a little guidance from the movie. Another example of this is the movie "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe," based on the first book in the "Chronicles of Narnia" series by C.S. Lewis. I read these books as a kid but had trouble imagining how, exactly, a man who is half-human and half-faun would look. The movie made it easier for me to connect with the book because I could finally see him.
Several book-based movies will be coming to theaters soon. "The Atonement," with Kiera Knightley, is based on the book by Ian McEwan. "Love in the Time of Cholera" is based on the book by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. And as I mentioned in a previous blog, "The Kite Runner" based on the novel by Khaled Hosseini, will be released soon. My advice to you is to treat yourself to a real Christmas gift this year by reading the book before you see the movie. It will make your experience that much richer.
No comments posted for this article.
Post a Comment