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Don't Judge a Book By Its....Movie

Jennifer Lawrence in "The Hunger Games"
Are you as excited about The Hunger Games movie as I am? I'm pretty stoked. And not in a Twilight I'm-excited-but-won't-admit-to-anyone-because-it's-so-lame way. I'm standing up on the (online) roof shouting about it.
Everyone I know who has read the book is super excited too see it on the big screen, partially, I think, just to see how they can possibly make the raw violence of the book into a PG-13 movie. I mean, we're talking about a book that has little children gruesomely hunting and murdering other little children....on TV. (For those of you who haven't read the trilogy, if that description hasn't scared you away, read them. READ THEM NOW.)

I have a friend who won't read anything on the bestseller list, on point of principle. I'm the opposite - I enjoy reading books that "everyone" is reading because it's one of the few opportunities to engage in those high school English class discussions: "What do you think about the ending" "What's this character's motivation,""Are you Team Gale or Team Peeta" ... well, ok maybe not that last one. Reading the book also gives you free leave to dissect the movie, line by line and shot by shot, until you inevitably conclude that the books is "like, way better."

While, in general, I agree that you shouldn't judge a book by its movie (I saw that on Pinterest) there are some great movies that do real justice to their books:

Lord of the Rings
via Pinterest
 I'm a big Tolkien fan, but I have to say that in some ways, the LOTR movies improve upon the books. It's comparing apples and oranges, really - the books are an amazing work of world-building and imagination while the movie improves upon that framework in story telling and characterization. I love them both.

yes you are!  "You is kind. You is smart. You is important."
via Pinterest
 The Help was one of my favorite book/movie combos of the last few years. The movie definitely stayed true to the nature of the book, but added a really important element by elevating Aibileen to the role of narrator. In that way, I think the movie and book complement each other - one showing the young white writer's perspective, and one the black maid's.

I had an English teacher in high school who always let us watch the movie versions of the books we were reading. Oftentimes, it was a good way to get past the tricky language or plots of a book and really get into the story. Much Ado About Nothing is one of my favorite Shakespeare plays - and it's been adapted into a wonderful movie, with Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson (Keanu Reeves makes an appearance, as well.. in a Shakespeare.. I know.) 

The Host: Take a First Look at Stephenie Meyer's New Sci-Fi Movie
The Host is Stephanie Meyer's lesser-known, infinitely more interesting and better written adult sci-fi novel. Yes it's about aliens inhabiting human bodies, but the real theme, as usual, is love. I'm excited to see that Saorise Ronan, the badass girl from Hana, is taking the helm. Too bad we have to wait until 2013...

So those are some good one. But then there are those movies that so heinously deface their literary inspirations  that you just want to scream. Take for example, these ...
don't look it up, it sucks
This movie made me want to barf. I loved this book so so much as a kid, and after her breakout in Princess Diaries, I really thought Ann H could handle representing  such a great main character -- but, no. It's a total train wreck of cosmic proportions.

Eragon Poster 

Ok, this is starting to reveal a trend in my literary tastes - I don't just read teen and pre-teen fantasy novels, ok? When I watched this with my bestie, she literally could not sit still she was so busy angry-whispering all the things the movie was getting wrong. Too bad - these books could have been made into really good movies .. but at least that'll keep too-young-to-have-chest-hair author Christopher Paolini in the millionaire range instead of the billionaire range - it's less depressing for me that way.

I know there's more I hated ... can you remember any?

PS See you at the Hunger Games, y'all. I know you're coming. But don't eat your popcorn too loud - I mean it!


  1. Oh, I completely agree with you about Much Ado About Nothing. Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson were exceptional! I guess that's not really a big surprise, huh?

    I also really love the LOTR trilogy. The theatrical release of Two Towers kind of butchered my favorite character (Faramir) but the director's cut was much better.

    Two of my favorite book to movies are Sense and Sensibilty (the Emma Thompson version) and Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth version NOT Kiera Knightly).

    I am an odd person who actually prefers to see a movie before reading the book. If I enjoy a movie then reading the book is like the "extended edition". If I don't like the movie I can either skip the book or read it anyway assuming that it will be better.

    I saw Ella Enchanted and enjoyed it (watched it with my kids). Then we read the book and it was so much better! But I enjoyed both :)

    I read lots of pre-teen and teen stuff too, always have.

  2. Haha, ok Selah I'll forgive you for liking Ella Enchanted since you seem to have such great taste in all other things (movies, blogs.. ;) Have you read the Hunger Games? Probably not something to see with your kids if they're young, but definitely a good read if you like the YA stuff too! Happy weekend!

  3. I haven't read The Hunger Games. Since we obviously have similar tastes I'll take your recommendation and add it to my list of books I want to read :)
    Actually, I keep 3 lists - one for me and one for each of my kids. I'm currently reading Royal Flush (mystery set in 1930s London), the 13th book in Lemony Snicket's Series of Unfortunate Events (to my 6 year old), and James and the Giant Peach (to my 3 year ).

    Have you ever read any Robin McKinley? She is one of my favorite fantasy writers.

  4. OK, so I watched The Hunger Games on Saturday night. It was a decent movie but it didn't really make me want to read the book. However, based on your recommendation, I started the book on Sunday night. You were right. It's incredible! I read the first book in 2 days and ran out to the store yesterday to buy the others. I just finished Catching Fire. Mockingjay is calling to me.

    These books actually remind me a lot of Robin McKinley's books. The writing is so intense and gripping. I highly recommend Deerskin, Sunshine, and Beauty.

    1. Yay - glad you liked them! And thanks for the recommendation - I'll have to check out Robin's books. Her name sounds familiar, I wonder if I've read something else by her before - off to Amazon!


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