Movies and Books

I watched the first Lord of the Rings movie last night, and I’m preparing to go see the last Harry Potter tonight.  With both of these fresh in my mind, I thought I’d post some thoughts about movies made from books.

I am the kind of person who generally does not see movies if they are based on books that I liked.  I don’t like to be disappointed.  I’ve found a loophole to that rule recently, however; it turns out that if it’s been a while since I read the book, I don’t remember all the details and so I’m less disappointed.  This probably only holds true with movies that stick close to the book, although I haven’t tried it with anything other than Harry Potter.

I think that a book-based movie should be as close as feasible.  Michael Crichton believed in letting the screenwriters and Hollywood-types do what they liked with his books.  All I have to say is that Jurassic Park was a good movie, but it was disappointing for someone who adored the book.  (That would be me, if you hadn’t guessed.)  I applaud J.K. Rowling for insisting that the movies be a true to the books as possible, and I love how meticulous with detail Peter Jackson was when creating Tolkien’s world.

I am a realist; I understand that an 800+ page book can’t be made into a movie of reasonable length, and that certain things can be conveyed very well in writing but not at all in movies.  But if the book is popular and well-done, why shouldn’t the movie stay as close as humanly possible?

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