Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Book vs. Movie: Whose Side Are You On?

Normally, renting the movie version of a great book sits somewhere near the top of my Blockbuster Pet Peeve list.

Coming in and picking up a crappy rip off of Othello or Hamlet or Romeo & Juliet makes no sense to me. I mean, Shakespeare's work is so incredible on the page and open to such great personal interpretation that watching Josh Harnett as a high school Iago is absolutely ridiculous to me. Some of my All-Time Favourite Movies are based on books and as much as I like the movies, the books are still better.

But there are exceptions to ever rule. For instance, even I would much rather watch Ellen Burstyn in a film adaptation of the classic Margaret Laurence novel The Stone Angel.

Pete Luvisa subjected me to reading this book in Grade 10 English class and I've held a grudge against him ever since. Well, he was also my football coach for the one year I played and dogged me worse than anyone for the entire season, so that probably has something to do with it too.

If we're being honest - and we're always honest here - if the movie was around when I was reading the book, I wouldn't have hesitated to toss it in the VCR and faked my way through the differences. Yes, I said VCR. We didn't have DVD when I was in Grade 10.

This book actually shapes up quite well as a movie, as some often do. It's a visual book, from what I remember, rich in descriptions and emotion, which, when done correctly, works much better on the screen than it does on the page.

Stone Angel aside, I still advocate reading the book. It's almost always better - like the original over the remake and the first one over all the sequels.

Besides, I decided I'm going to start off by writing my book and I don't want you just sitting around waiting for the movie to come out...


Cheryl said...

What other movies has Ellen Burstyn appeared in? You said you would rather see her in The Stone Angel? Rather than what? Of course you must also know that Ellen Page is in the The Stone Angel movie too! And young Hagar Curie is played by beautiful young Christine Horne whom nobody has ever heard of before...

Newt said...

I typically end up watching the movie before I read the book. Not because I want to but because of time restraints. I wish that I had time to read the book in most cases.