The book is always better than the movie. Except once in a while when it’s not–sometimes they’re equally good, and on very rare occasions, the movie is actually better. I’ve found that I probably shouldn’t watch movie versions of books I love, and if I want to try something new that’s in both formats, I should watch the movie first. In many of the cases where I like both, I saw the movie before I ever picked up the book.
That’s my overall philosophy on this subject. But for today, here are a few where the movie producers really did get it right.
Horatio Hornblower miniseries
This list is in no particular order, except that Horatio Hornblower has to come first. I watched the miniseries with Ioan Gruffudd, then went on to C. S. Forrester’s books–and found out that all my favorite parts of the miniseries aren’t in the books! By parts, I mean plot points, characters, and sometimes even themes. Oddly enough, the creators of the miniseries managed to follow the books fairly closely–they just added in a bit here and a tweak there that made it so much better. And I find Ioan’s Horatio so much more likable than Forrester’s Hornblower.
Gone with the Wind
In a way, the opposite of what happened with Horatio Hornblower–the movie took out great swathes of the book, but managed to zero in on the most essential parts. Although I’m probably biased about what’s essential, since I saw the movie first. In this case, I wound up liking them both.
The Wizard of Oz
I was obsessed with this movie when I was a kid. I can’t remember when I first read the book, but it’s very different from the movie in a lot of ways, and I found that disappointing. It could be that the movie spoiled the book for me. I don’t really like Baum’s Wizard of Oz–but I love his later books in the series. I can’t explain that, except that the movie probably affected my expectations.
Bridge to Terabithia
A rare case where I read the book first and still loved the movie. A beautifully-rendered version of the book. The characters were perfect, the plot was well-captured…well-done.
I ought to get around to buying it so I can give you a picture!
Hmm, short list. Any good movies I’m missing?