Saturday, March 26, 2016

Books vs TV vs Movies

Everyone who has read a book that has been turned into a movie has uttered these words:


The books have more detail, the characters have more development, you get to use your imagination to picture what the people and places look like; books have a lot going for them.

Books have been made into movies since about the early 1910s. A Christmas Carol was first written by Charles Dickens in 1843, but was made into a movie for the first time in 1910. It's running time was 11 minutes and had a cast of 6 people.

1910 adaption of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol."

One of the earliest book adaptions that to this day still has a good reception is Nosferatu which was released in 1922 and is an hour and 21 minutes. It is based off of Bram Stoker's Dracula, however they could not get the rights to the book, so key things were changed: vampire was changed to Nosferatu and Count Dracula to Count Orlok. The heirs of Stoker sued over the adaption and the courts ruled in their favor saying that all copies of the movie be destroyed. However, some copies survived and it is regarded as a influential masterpiece of cinema.

Poster of 1922 movie "Nosferatu."
 In more recent years, more and more books are being made into movies. Some have been extremely successful, others not so much. The first movie that I had ever seen that I knew was a book adaption was Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and I was amazed! Although it left out things that I (and many other Potterheads) have deemed important, the cast brought my all-time favorite characters to life and have made this world even more lifelike. They are movies that I watch every Christmas (because they are Christmas movies) and a few other times throughout the year.

But, there are movies that really do not hold up to the books. When I learned they were making The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones into a movie, I was ecstatic! I pulled my book off the shelf to reread it again, and pre-ordered tickets for my niece and I. When the movie came out in 2013, we were less than thrilled.

But, on the flip side, there are some movies that are better than the books. I know, I know, I am going to get a lot of heat for saying that, but you can't deny that there is at least one movie that is better than the book. For me, one that I enjoy more in movie form is The Notebook. The book and movie came out in 2004. I saw the movie first. I remember sitting in the last row of a very packed theater with my parents and two of my best friends and when old Noah and Allie (played by James Garner and Gena Rowlands, respectively) died while holding hands, any scrap of make up I had worn that day had be washed off my eyes and left streaks down my face and neck, and I wasn't the only one. I knew then that I had to read the book by Nicholas Sparks. Although it did spark emotion in me, it did not evoke the same emotion out of me. I have read it a couple more times since, hoping I could get the same experience, but the movie has always won out.

"If you're a bird, I'm a bird."

Recently, it's become a thing to make books into TV shows. For some reasons, this can be a good thing. A movie is usually between 90 minutes to 2 and a half hours, 3 hours sometimes, but it can be a stretch. But with a TV show, you can stretch it out into 10-20 episodes where each episode is about an hour long (45 minutes when you take out commercials). And when you have books that have 5+ books in it and a lot of information is covered in the books, it can be nice to have more time to space it out.

Game of Thrones has been pretty well received. I watched the first 4 seasons of it before I moved and forgot to record it in my new place and missed episodes (you can't even miss 2 minutes let alone 2 episodes). I haven't read the books (yet) but my brother has, and he doesn't have a bad word to say about it. I know enough people who feel similarly that I know I won't be disappointed when I do read the books.

One that I have read and watched is Pretty Little Liars. The books were written by Sara Shepard starting in 2006. I started reading them last year after we found out who A was on the TV series. I figured it was time to see if the books held up. Through the first 8 books, I wasn't disappointed. The TV series held close enough to books that I could know what was happening, but deviated enough that I was still interested. One thing that was hard for me was how the girls look completely different in the books than in the TV show. It was difficult listening to a girl who was described to have blonde hair and not think Hanna, even though the book was referring to Spencer.

Book: Hanna, Spencer, Emily, Aria

TV Show: Spencer, Aria, Emily, Hanna
It's a small thing. But I had been watching the show for 5 years (at that time) and what the characters looked like had been firmly set in my mind. After book 4, the show went their own way, only using tiny details to tie in with Shepard's books. In some way, I think the show is better. In other way, I like the books  more. For me, I'll take either one.

So who wins in the battle between books, TV shows, and movies? I think I'll always love books a little bit more in most situations. But with a good director, cast, and crew, I think TV shows and movies can hold their own. But I do wish more movies would stop copying books and come up with some new ideas.


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