Sometimes the books aren’t as good as their film adaptations.
Last night, I was having my weekly Netflix and Chill session with my partner, and I got to pick the movie. Out of curiosity, I chose The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy. Just when it ended, he looked up and said to me: “Oh my, this movie was the worst. This is why books should never have film adaptations.” I was shocked. It’s not like every movie that was inspired from a book has been a failure. I tried to convince my partner of this, but he stood his ground. Maybe in some particular cases he was right, but I don’t think this applied to all movies.
Stating that movie adaptations will never be as good as the book is kind of a cliché that’s getting old. The film industry is full of talented screenwriters and storytellers, whose works have captivated us more than once with interesting versions of stories that were already good. Even though it may be hard to admit, this has been happening for a while now. Marvelous film adaptations have been made since ever, and I'm sure you have watched at least one of these and thought they were great too. The problem is we may not acknowledge them because they weren't original stories. Well, now it's time to change that mindset. If you dare to do so, here are some examples for a good head start:
The novel by Michael Crichton was written in 1990, only three years before we got to see the real deal at the cinema. There are two particular things that make the movie better than the book. First, there’s the fact that the novel gets a lot more technical in terms of scientific theories and philosophical questions regarding dinosaurs. The second reason: real-size animated dinosaurs that left everyone astonished. It was very a sophisticated work of animatronics and special effects for that time.
The emotional outburst we get every time we watch this movie could make us think that the book should be as heart-melting too. However, they have very little in common. In the novel written by Winston Groom in 1986, Forrest is actually a very healthy kid who eventually becomes an astronaut. Yup, Forrest Gump was originally a spaceman. While living in space, he meets a monkey named Sue, and both get stranded in a jungle where they almost get eaten by cannibals. Although this sounds pretty interesting, it has nothing to do with the enlightening and lovely story of the man who sees life as a box of chocolates.
This movie turned out to be so much better than the book for two main reasons: it was so good it actually became a cult movie, and well, Brad Pitt in his golden era. Overall the novel, written by Chuck Palahniuk in 1996, wasn’t that different from the movie. There was only one particular change David Fincher did that was so relevant Palahniuk himself confessed he preferred this part in the film adaptation: the ending.
The novel written by Peter Benchley in 1974 has a very particular backstory. As soon as the book was published, the movie rights were already optioned, so Benchley knew from the beginning that the film adaptation would come eventually. Luckily, Spielberg did such a good job with it that Jaws eventually became one of the highest grossing movies of all times. Oddly enough, the original story focuses on a sexual affair instead of the shark per se. Even though the shark in the movie was as fake as my Russian accent, it improved the story by far. Nevertheless, what definitely made this movie better than the book is the music theme (Dum dum, dum dum…).
The Devil Wears Prada
Before comparing Lauren Weisberger’s book and the subsequent film, let’s get things straight. This movie is better than the book because any story with Meryl Streep among the cast is success guaranteed. She makes everything better, that’s all. Okay, now let’s get to the point. The novel, as good as it may be, gets too repetitive. This is because Lauren used real anecdotes to bring the book to life, and most of them were constant cycles of the same annoying problems. Well, it does sound like real life, right? On the other hand, the movie is much more dynamic, though sometimes repetitive too, and far more entertaining.
The Silence of the Lambs
This one was a difficult book to improve in a cinematic version, and against all odds, it did. Thomas Harris’s Silence of the Lambs won several awards for “Best Novel” in 1989. Keeping this in mind, a film adaptation would had to be at least an award worthy piece of art too. And then again, it was. The movie became the third of its kind to win the top five categories at the Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay).
An instant classic, the movie inspired in Mario Puzo’s novel proved in all ways possible that a movie can be better that a book that’s already good. If you haven’t seen this trilogy, I highly recommend you to at least watch the first one, because much like The Silence of the Lambs, this award winning movie is considered one of the best films that were ever made. It became so influential that other movies and TV shows have constantly referred scenes and dialogues from it.
As you can see, a good story can be the best source of inspiration for great movies. It doesn't matter if it's romance, comedy, action, or sci-fi, the film industry will always find a way to reinterpret inspiring and worth-sharing writings, don't you think?
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