Books Versus Movies???
So, I finally did it this week. I crumbled under the pressure and went to see Les Miserables, the supposed “movie of the year”. I don’t know what compelled me to go, because I absolutely hated the book when I studied it in literature next year. But my best friend was ranting and raving about how it was quite possibly the greatest movie of all time and how she owned the soundtrack in the London Symphonic, American Broadway, and film versions, so I figured I’d better see what all the hype was about.
Turns out, the movie was absolutely fantastic and absolutely blew the book out of the water. In my opinion, at least. Everything that had seemed creepy (like Marius stalking Cosette) or overly dramatic (like just about any death scene) in the book was nothing but heart-wrenchingly beautiful and touching on the big screen. Maybe it had something to do with the stunning musical arrangements and overly-talented actors? Or maybe (if we’re being truthful) it had something to do with the utter attractiveness of Eddie Redmayne (who, in the words of Hannah, we would watch eating cereal for two and a half hours). But, the more I thought about it, maybe there are some advantages to watching a story develop on a big screen versus between the covers of a book.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be a book junkie to the end. I refuse to ever break down and buy a Kindle or a Nook (although, hey, if you’re planning on buying one of my books on an electronic reader, you go right ahead–I’d never refuse that sale, haha) and I hoard classic hardback literature titles like a miser. For reals.
HOWEVER, I’m also a huge fan of cinematography and the art of the film. If you were to quiz me, you’d probably find out that I know an unhealthy amount about movies, especially classic old Hollywood films. I’m a visual person, believe it or not, and I identify with the beauty of a well-shot scene or the tears rolling down the cheeks of an amazing actor. I think we all do. There’s just something about seeing drama unfold before our eyes that has the ability to captivate and move us like nothing else. Don’t even pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about. However snobbish you may be about your books, you have to admit that at some point in your past you’ve seen a movie that has impacted you like no book ever could.
But then again, it works both ways. Like my absolute favorite book ever, Gone with the Wind, has a terrible movie. Well, not terrible, but pretty awful compared to Margaret Mitchell’s literary masterpiece. Whoever made that film failed to incorporate the terrible beauty and deep sentimental threads that made up the book. The same goes for Ella Enchanted which, let’s face it, was every girl’s favorite book when she was about ten years old. I mean, that book rocked my world and made me almost cry. And the movie was totally lame.
So, at the end of the day, I can’t really take a side in the battle of books versus movies. Some movies are incomparably better than their books. Have any of you ever read Phantom of the Opera? Worst. book. ever. But the movie made me cry the first ten times I saw it. Sooooo….. I guess it’s a never-ending flip-flop. I’ll probably continue seeing all the books-turned-into-movies. And I’ll probably be way more lenient with the books I disliked, like The Hobbit. And then I’ll be crossing my fingers that my favorite books, like The Great Gatsby, will be reasonably clean and absolutely amazing.
Time will only tell!
So, what are your thoughts on books versus movies? Did Les Mis and The Hobbit fail to meet up with your standards of the book, or were they even better?