Saturday, May 12, 2012

Books Butchered By Their Movies

Jurassic Park is third on my list of favorite books, behind Lonesome Dove and The Dollmaker. I had read it three times before the movie came out, and was overflowing with anticipation and joy standing in line to watch Jurassic Park, the movie. I just could not wait.

Five minutes into it, however, I could not wait to get out. The name of the movie and some of the lead characters are about all the book and movie have in common. I don’t know whether Jurassic Park is a good movie, because I haven’t had the heart to watch it since that first time.

The Natural, on the other hand, was just the opposite. The novel, by Bernard Malamud, is compelling, but desperately dark and degenerate. Roy Hobbs in the book is insatiable, selfish, sadistic. Every bad thing he can do, he does. I liked the book, but I would not want to see it in the theater. Roy Hobbs in the movie is heroic and hopeful, despite a tragic flaw. I don’t want to give anything away, but the endings could not be more different.

I’ve read every Tom Clancy book, up to Rainbow Six, and can tell you that those books and their movies (The Hunt for Red October, Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger, to name three) are virtually unrelated to the print version, but that’s okay, because a true retelling of a Clancy book would make a 43-hour movie you could only enjoy sitting between a five-star general and an engineer. I’ve enjoyed the Clancy adaptations for the big screen, because I know going in not to hold them to the same standard as the books.
What about you? What excellent novels have you read that made a bad movie? Or what movie have you liked better than the book?


  1. Like you I'm usually disappointed by book to movie adaptations and I've put off watching the film To Kill a Mockingbird because it's one of my favourite books and I'm worried the film won't live up to my expectations.

    The Day Of The Jackal was one of the few films that I've enjoyed as much as the novel.

  2. Hi Paul S. Thanks for dropping by.

    Amen, brother. To Kill A Mockingbird is a wonderful book, no matter how many times you read it, nearly perfect for its time and place.

    I'm also a fan of the movie, though, and also think it is nearly perfect for its time and place. The film follows the story pretty well, and although it lacks some of the drama of the book, as all movies do, it feels true to the spirit of Harper Lee's work. My English teacher wife enjoys the book and the movie, if that is a good endorsement.

    I've not seen nor read Day of the Jackal, but will add them to the list.

    Thanks, Paul.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...