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  • Kathryn R. Biel

Books and Movie Adaptations

I was having a discussion today about books and their movie adaptations.  For those who may not know me well, I am a reader.  I have been ever since I can remember.  A critical piece of furniture in my room has always been my bookcase.  While in school and when I went back to get my doctorate, my reading for "fun" took a serious nose-dive.  When I finally finished school (hopefully for the last time), I went to the Sage bookstore (while ordering my cap and gown) and promptly bought 3 "non-school" books.  With the addition of a second child, reading again fell by the wayside.  My husband gave me a nook almost 2 years ago when they first came out, and I have been reading voraciously since.

I like a lot of the popular books.  And inevitably, if it is a good book, someone gets the idea that it should be made into a movie.  Usually, this does not go well.  I have never, ever read a book, and then seen the movie and thought the movie was better.  Only on rare occasions have I even thought that the movie was as good as the book (The Help).  Sometimes, I like the movie because I liked the book, but that does not mean that the movie was actually any good.  For example, Twilight.  The book is easily in my top ten favorites of all time.  The movie is actually pretty painful (but, thankfully, each movie in the series does get better and better).  Reading the Twilight books caused visceral reactions that I just did not experience with the movies.

I don't understand why, when you have a successful novel, would you change a major plot point or ending, such as in "My Sister's Keeper."  Once the ending of the movie was leaked, I didn't even bother going to see it.

Sometimes, I like that a movie has been made, so I can use that actor to picture the characters.  However, when they do not cast as I think they should, I automatically dislike the movie (Jurassic Park--Sam Neil was all wrong).

I love the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich.  I have read it (up to book 17, have yet to start 18) at least twice.  The first book, 'One for the Money,' is due out in theaters on January 27.  Of course, I will go see it.  I am already skeptical about the casting (Jason O'Mara as Morelli?  Morelli is 100% Italian, and Jason O'Mara is Irish for Pete's sake!).  I hope they have not ruined it.  Movie talks for this book have been around for years.  Rumor has it that Janet Evanovich squashed original movie talks because they had Reese Witherspoon slated to play Stephanie.  I hope that Katharine Heigl is a better choice.

I will finish reading 'The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest' tonight.  I've really enjoyed the whole series.  I hope the legal crap gets resolved and the fourth book will someday (soon) get published (tangent here, but same thought for 'Midnight Sun').  It bums me out that the idea was for a 10 book series, but Steig Larsson died before completing the fourth.  I would have liked to see how those characters unfolded.  I would like to watch the original movies.  We did go to see the current version of 'Dragon Tattoo' a few weeks ago.  It was a scaled back version of the book, but an adequate adaptation.  Rooney Mara was a great casting choice.  Still on the fence about Daniel Craig.

I wonder if it is because I enjoy the medium of book over the medium of movie?  I get lost in the books, which take days to read.  Movies miss so much of the back story, the detail.  They tend to go for the obvious, the lowest common denominator.

Any thoughts?

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