Finally, I'm done.
Surprisingly, it took me just about 3 weeks to finish reading the 'Lord of The Rings'. And incredibly, my biggest complaint, like the author himself mentions in the preceding notes, is that the book was too short. I conveniently finished it on a Friday, so that I could put the LOTR movie marathon over the weekend, which brings me to the question that I have been unable to answer for a while now. So, I'm asking you the same… Based on the many books that have been adapted into cinema, which do you prefer? The book or the movie?
I'm neither a compulsive reader nor an avid movie watcher, even though I'm working towards both and hence, my opinion would really not have any meat in it. There are very few stories that I've read and watched as well. My favourite movie of all time is 'The Shawshank Redemption' and inspired by it, I picked up its source 'Different Seasons' that includes the novella. Stephen King is a fantastic writer, but I still prefer the movie. The prison, the escape, the main protagonist.. Everything appealed to me a lot more in the movie. On the other hand, the movie versions of the Harry Potter series have been a terrible disappointment. The movies seemingly limited my imagination and made the books far less enjoyable. Voldemort was way scarier in my head, Hermione was much less hotter. I feel that books and stories about school are best read, because you tend to imagine them in your old campus and classrooms. As much as I love the books, the Harry Potter movies are at the least avoidable.
A very rare case, where I like both the book and the movie immensely was ‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’. Easily, one of the best books I have ever read, the book was inspiring and thoughtful. But the movie was brilliant too. Atticus Fitch seemed to have been created to be played by Gregory Peck. This is the only case, where I have been unable to choose one over the other. The movie and the book, brilliant! The Godfather has been a queer case for me. More than one friend has advised me against reading the book since I have already watched the movie. I have read other books by Mario Puzo, but I haven't got to The Godfather yet. The reason? Quite frankly, I didn't like the movie. I like the genre, but something about the movie turned me off. So on one hand, there are several brilliant movies that I don't want to read the book versions of - Jurassic Park, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Sorry, but chocolate has to be seen). And books that I don't want to watch movies of - 1984, Apt Pupil, et al. And horror stories? I try to keep away from both the books as well as the movies.
And I'm not yet done thinking up questions. Just in case a story is good enough to be experienced in both formats, what should one do? Read the book or watch the movie first? Or should one skip either? And is it ok for movie directors to skip some parts of the story or tweak with the plot for their convenience? Characters being left out, new ones introduced... What about all that?
Coming back to the Lord of the Rings - I loved the movies, they are simply brilliant. Yet, I was very apprehensive about reading the book. But enough and more free time at my office motivated me to attempt reading it and frankly I am glad I did so. For the past 3 weeks, Frodo, Sam and the others have been in my head constantly. Yes, I knew how the story went, but the book was a great pleasure to read. And one has to appreciate J.R.R Tolkien for the level of detailing that this epic tale encompasses. And more so, Peter Jackson deserves applause for staying (almost) true to the book.
(Whew! For all the hyperlinking!)