Posts Tagged ‘movies’

BTT – Books vs. Movies

May 22, 2008

Post 84:

BTTBooks and films both tell stories, but what we want from a book can be different from what we want from a movie. Is this true for you? If so, what’s the difference between a book and a movie?

I’m going to avoid the snarky comments about the ‘difference’ between a book and a movie.  I was tempted, but it has already been done. To me, the biggest differences between a book and a movie come from the way the medium influences how the story is told.

Both mediums have their strengths.  In a movie, obviously, visualizations are huge.  A writer can describe a beautiful vista or a wind-swept plain, but if the reader doesn’t have a visual frame of reference to begin with, or isn’t one to visualize landscapes in a book, a movie can better evoke the splendor or power of the scene.  There can also be much said by the look on an actor’s face, by lighting, or through music that can set the mood or provide forshadowing in a way that is not fully available in books.

Books, however, can provide far more depth to a story than a feature-length film ever could.  In film and on TV flashbacks are often cheesy, books can tell a backstory in a much more artful way.  Similarly, books are generally far superior at sharing a character’s internal thought process or motivation.  As others have said, a book also has the advantage of more time to tell its story.  Unless a movie is truly epic, people don’t generally want to sit through it for 3+ hours, which limits how much story can be told.  Obviously an over-long book can be daunting as well (particularly if it is sub-par), but it has the advantage that the whole thing need not be finished at once.

Most readers I talk to tell me that they always like the book better than the movie.  This has not quite been my experience.  For me, it often depends on which medium I come into contact with first.  For instance, I saw Jurassic Park in the theaters when it came out.  I was young enough at that point that I’d never even heard of Michael Crichton.  A year or so later I read the book, and really was not terribly impressed.  I preferred the way the story was told through the movie.  On the other hand are the Harry Potter movies.  With those, I read the books first and it took me quite a while to enjoy the movies.  I finally got to the point where I liked them for what they were and made my peace with what they had left out from the books.  I still, however, prefer the books and all of the extra details they are able to impart to the reader.

If you would like to check out some new books, see the details for my contest.  You can win any book I have reviewed since the inception of this blog.

The Other Boleyn Girl – Movie Review

March 1, 2008

Tonight I dragged my fiance to see The Other Boleyn Girl, the movie based on the book of the same name by Philippa Gregory. Here’s the short, non-spoiler version of the review: it is entertaining. If you like historical fiction, but know little to nothing about this time period, other than the fact that Anne married Henry VIII and lost her head, you will probably quite enjoy this movie. If you have read Philippa Gregory’s The Other Boleyn Girl, some parts will slightly annoy you, but overall you will probably like it. If you have studied that period in England, or if you have read a lot of historical fiction around that period in England, you will still mostly enjoy it, but be extrememly annoyed by a lot of it. Essentially, the movie seemed to stick with the book where the book most differed from the historical record and veer from the book where the book most stuck with historical record, making for a rather un-historical film. Sure, the basic history’s there, as my fiance pointed out: Anne, Mary, and Henry are all there; it is set in England; Anne dies. If you would like to see some of my specific issues with the movie (and potential spoilers) please click the link to read the rest of this entry. The story was already about power, sex, betrayal, and religion, why bother changing it? (more…)

The Other Boleyn Girl: NY Times Movie Review

February 29, 2008

The New York Times published their review of The Other Boleyn Girl, the movie based on Philippa Gregory’s historical fiction novel of the same name.  I very much enjoyed the book, despite a few historical inaccuracies – for instance, Mary wasn’t just the sweet girl, caught up in her family’s scheming as in the book, she had QUITE the reputation at French court before she returned to England, the King Francois is said to have called her the “English Mare” (think town bicycle).   The reviews of this movie, however, have been not so good, and this one has been no exception.  I am dragging Brian along with me to see it tomorrow night for a “date night,” so I will add my two cents sometime on Sunday.  I hope it is one of those cases where I do not agree with the critics…