Recently I happened to watch two movies inspired from books I read. One was released a while ago (V for Vandetta – 2005) and one was more recent (Twilight – 2008). Both these movies had much of an anticipation value for me. V for Vandetta, coming from the creators of the Matrix series held my interest, while I recently had finished reading ‘Twilight’. Though these books and movies had nothing in common, one feeling was common for me while watching these films.
Watching the books unfold on screen was a disappointing experience, yet again!
My advice to all book fans (which I myself never seem to obey) – Watch the movie first, read the book later.
When I saw V for Vandetta, it instantly struck me (which will not be visible to anyone who has not read the book) why its author Alan Moore refused to have anything to do with the movie (Alan Moore’s name does not appear in the credits, as mandated by him). Alan Moore is a staunch advocate of Anarchism. Alan Moore’s vision of Anarchy should not be confused with the lack of order. Rather, it’s a socity where the ordinary people are more important than their leaders, contarary to what’s happening everywhere around us.
V for Vandetta (the movie) does not even mention the word Anarchy, even once.
The movie omits many important threads in the book. It seems like the Wachowaskies borrowed the mask of the protagonist in the book, and re-wrote the whole story.
Twilight (and the Harry Potter series) seems like a very fast forwarded shoot of the respective books, with no thought of treating them differently in the movie medium.
One notable exception I found for this rule was the Lord of the Rings (LOTR) triology. Now, before I get flamed by the devout LOTR fans, let me explain.
First of all, let me confess that I watched the first two LOTR movies before I read the books. After I read the books, however, I thought the scriptwriters of the LOTR triology did a pretty decent job of trimming the story to make it interesting for the current generation (LOTR books are from the 50’s), and at the same time keeping the essence of the originals intact.
The LOTR scriptwriters completely did away with a few characters from the original, which provided enough room for the main characters to develop. They also made the story fast paced, against the very leisurely pace of the original. LOTR books have set a bar of fantasy for all fantasy fans, but the books are very hard to read. The movies have made them real accessible to everyone.
Banquets and Brickbats welcome. What do you think? Like to share your thoughts on this subject? Please comment.