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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Watch the Movie, Read the book

     I have been newly swept up into the Hunger Game craze, I know I’m late but I just watched the first movie on Netflix and saw the second in theaters last month. No spoilers, I promise, but the end of Hunger Games: Catching Fire included a huge twist and a cliff hanger ending. When I left the theater my boyfriend turned to me and said, “I feel like we should read the books, I want to know what happens next… like now”, which flipped a switch in my head. After seeing the first movie I considered reading the books but the second movie made that desire grow. I almost purchased the books; I had them all in my amazon kindle cart and was about to make my purchase when I suddenly thought, “What if this ruins the movies for me?”


     It has happened to my so many times. I would read a book, then watch the movie and absolutely HATE it. A key example is Twilight. I read the entire series while in high school, a few years before they made the movies. Naturally I was excited when I heard that the movies were in the works but when I actually saw the first movie I was thoroughly disgusted. I hated the casting, the overall look of the film, the writing, everything! But everyone who had never read the books loved the movies and it became a national obsession. This isn’t the only time this happened to me either. Something Borrowed sucked, but I loved both books.

     However it seems that the opposite happens when I watch a movie first. I usually end up reading the books after I watch the movie. That’s the way it happened with Jurassic Park, Stephen King’s It and Misery, Fight Club, and The Color Purple. The movie is like a preview. It gives you a glimpse into these characters and their world, and then the book amplifies it; answering all questions and adding depth and dimension to the characters and fictional world. I just can’t go from tones of information to a few key details. That’s essentially what you’re doing. When you go from book to movie you are only focusing on the skeleton of the story, and sometimes you feel like it’s a completely different story all together.
Some people are super strict on how they feel a story should be translated to the big screen but I’ve lowered my standards at this point. I understand that a movie is an interpretation by the director, writers and producers of the author’s work and that everything won’t be exactly the same. I also understand that changes are made to make movies more marketable. At this point I would be satisfied with good casting and good writing, which a lot of movies lack.

     I just found out that a few movies that I liked were originated from books so I have a small reading list: Love in the Time of Cholera, Revolutionary Road, Forrest Gump, Girl Interrupted, Silence of the Lambs and Scarface. I know that I will enjoy these movies but I seriously doubt I will read any of the Hunger Games books until I have seen the last movie. I enjoy them too much at this point and I don’t want to ruin it for myself.

     To go along with the whole read the book first notion, you can now listen to the book with ease. There have always been books on tape or DVD, one of the features on the Kindle also allows you to listen to the books you purchase. One of the more popular Audio book companies is Audible, which works through Amazon. Buying a $14.99 monthly member ship will buy you one book no matter the cost and allows you to listen to it from any of the smart devices you own. My personal opinion is that its not really worth it. I did a little math. I mentioned that I wanted to read Revolutionary Road. Well I did a little research:
Audible: It would cost $14.99 to buy the audio book but...
Amazon Kindle: sells the book for $9.99 and
Target: sells the paper back version for $13.55
but in case you want to watch the movie first..
Target: also sells the movie DVD for $8.79 & the Blu Ray for $9.29
I guess the choice is up to you, but I'll take my chances reading the good old fashioned way. Audio books put me to sleep anyway ;-)

Some people prefer to read a book first, or think it’s somehow ‘better’ to read then watch but I definitely don’t judge. Whichever you choose is fine but I think you should watch then read, just to make sure you can enjoy both. And of course I say that with the assumption that the book will always be great.

I love to read so I biased ;-)


25 movies you might not know where based on books:
http://www.buzzfeed.com/briangalindo/25-famous-movies-that-you-might-not-know-were-based-on-books

Sources:
http://www.stereogum.com/1495132/the-hunger-games-catching-fire-soundtrack-revealed-2/news/
http://www.earlyword.com/2012/11/03/grasping-at-twilight-straw/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forrest_Gump_(novel)

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