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Brickroad
03-26-2012, 05:05 AM
Now that we have a dedicated forum for books et al., it seemed like a good time to point everyone to ReadIt1st (http://readit1st.com/). What you do is make a solemn pledge to not see any movies without first reading the books they're based on.

(You don't actually have to sign up to make the pledge. I didn't, because I don't want to get spammed with reminder e-mails about movie releases.)

This pledge works out real well for me because in the past five years or so I have come to associate trips to the movie theater as being the rough equivalent of cactusboarding*, and so I don't see movies until they come out on Blu-ray.

In fact, I was reminded of my pledge when Peanut and I were out shopping the other day and picked up The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which I hurriedly downloaded on my Kindle. (Peanut is slightly upset I won't let her watch the movie until I'm done reading.)

So anyway in this thread we can keep tabs on what movies are coming out that are based on books, and remind each other to read the books instead, and then discuss those books that wouldn't otherwise have their own threads. And then we can all head over to the Moving Pictures forum for a movie-discussion afterparty. Woo!

*"Cactusboarding" is like waterboarding, except with cactus instead of water.

Glass Knuckle
03-26-2012, 05:54 AM
Hunger Games has convinced me to do this from now on. Also, I have been reminded that paying half or more of the blu-ray price to see one in a room full of sometimes noisy people with no snacks available (like hell I'm paying the price of a full dinner for popcorn) is silly.

Wolfgang
03-26-2012, 08:04 AM
You don't sneak things into the movies? What's wrong with you?

Traumadore
03-26-2012, 08:14 AM
I generally solve this issue by not reading every trendy ass book that gets a movie AND skipping the movie! It's not bad!

Loki
03-26-2012, 08:28 AM
I donno, a book is a book and a movie is a movie and I don't think experiencing one should be a requisite for the other. Each should be successful on its own terms. And you might miss out. Just last night I came across a pretty neat flick (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closely_Watched_Trains) that I had never heard of before. It was enriching. I was enriched. Should I have turned it off as soon as that title card came up that said it was based on a book? I would have missed out on a good and spontaneous thing.

Edit: The tag-line for the website is "don't let the movie ruin the book." Please.

Wolfgang
03-26-2012, 08:40 AM
I generally solve this issue by not reading every trendy ass book that gets a movie AND skipping the movie! It's not bad!

knux. in most cases you're not missing out on much of anything either way, except the zeitgeist (OVERRATED).

*rereads Everything That Rises Must Converge*

Violentvixen
03-26-2012, 08:43 AM
This is a rule that my mother enforced from when I was very young. But considering that I prefer books to movies it's not really an issue.

Falselogic
03-26-2012, 08:56 AM
Is saw Hunger Games and I have no interest in reading the book. Like Loki said one is a book and the other is a movie.

Glass Knuckle
03-26-2012, 10:28 AM
I'm giving the book the benefit of the doubt because I haven't read it, but by all accounts it's only less stupid about some things rather than being good. Even so, reading it would have been less of a hassle.

You don't sneak things into the movies? What's wrong with you?

I do! Somehow, a trip to the dollar store wasn't basic procedure for the group I went with and I was too burnt-out from the weekend to care much. Some of them even bought things at the theater, so I can only conclude that they are crazy people.

Nodal
03-26-2012, 10:36 AM
People who enjoy movie theatres buy concessions because it's the I only thing theatres make money frOm. ( I buy giant bags of Reese's pieces!!)

Brickroad
03-26-2012, 02:23 PM
I donno, a book is a book and a movie is a movie and I don't think experiencing one should be a requisite for the other. Each should be successful on its own terms. And you might miss out. Just last night I came across a pretty neat flick (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Closely_Watched_Trains) that I had never heard of before. It was enriching. I was enriched. Should I have turned it off as soon as that title card came up that said it was based on a book? I would have missed out on a good and spontaneous thing.

Fair points, all. And I will be the first to champion the idea that some movies shouldn't be books, even if they were books first. (Stardust and Jurassic Park spring immediately to mind. And, quite frankly, pretty much anything by Stephen King.)

Still though, all other things being equal, I prefer reading the book first. When I'm embarking on my journey of fiction discovery I feel like an x-hour book is more fulfilling than a 2-hour movie. Reading the book creates this image in my head of the setting and story, and I really enjoy seeing an alternate interpretation of that image when the film comes out.

Anyway it's not my intention to shame or browbeat anyone. But we have a books forum now and I thought it might be cool to have a Read-the-Book thread to revisit each time some hot new movie comes out.

gahitsu
03-26-2012, 03:10 PM
I'm curious as to why you don't feel that Jurassic Park and Stardust didn't lend themselves well to becoming movies? While I didn't see Stardust (I liked the book, and wasn't sold on the movie doing it justice), I still feel like it's a story that would lend itself well to the big screen, if done well.

And Jurassic Park is really the sort of book that begs to be Spielberg'd. I would say that I enjoyed the movie form better than the book (the book had some grievous problems that were, probably unintentionally, eliminated in the film), and whatever internet people have to say about The Lost World, the film was worlds better than that abomination Chrighton crapped out (I've heard he didn't really want to write a sequel, but it's still no secret I think he's a hack with an unfortunate knack for storytelling).

Falselogic
03-26-2012, 03:12 PM
I'm curious as to why you don't feel that Jurassic Park and Stardust didn't lend themselves well to becoming movies? While I didn't see Stardust (I liked the book, and wasn't sold on the movie doing it justice), I still feel like it's a story that would lend itself well to the big screen, if done well.

And Jurassic Park is really the sort of book that begs to be Spielberg'd. I would say that I enjoyed the movie form better than the book (the book had some grievous problems that were, probably unintentionally, eliminated in the film), and whatever internet people have to say about The Lost World, the film was worlds better than that abomination Chrighton crapped out (I've heard he didn't really want to write a sequel, but it's still no secret I think he's a hack with an unfortunate knack for storytelling).

You misread him he is saying that some books actually work better as movies than they do as books. At least, that is how I read it. I can agree with him on Stardust with that too. Funny movie, boring book.

I'd add Jaws to that list as well. Seeing as the book is saddled with an awkward sex scene and the terror of a shark attack is best understand visually...

Brickroad
03-26-2012, 03:13 PM
I'm curious as to why you don't feel that Jurassic Park and Stardust didn't lend themselves well to becoming movies?

No no, I meant exactly the opposite. Both were great movies but meh books.

gahitsu
03-26-2012, 03:14 PM
You misread him he is saying that some books actually work better as movies than they do as books. At least, that is how I read it. I can agree with him on Stardust with that too. Funny movie, boring book.

Oh, well then. I see now I did misread it. Carry on, then! [sorry Brick!]

(And since I'm wasting a reply anyway, I'd like to ditto the sentiment about time investment in books versus movies.)

Googleshng
03-26-2012, 03:28 PM
See, since the book is almost always better, I sometimes like to see the movie first, in order to avoid holding it up to such a high standard. For instance, in a vacuum, the movie version of Uzumaki (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/uzumaki.shtml) is pretty nifty. It's a fun little goofy horror movie that works just fine on its own. Having now read the entirety of the manga it's based on, I can totally see how it's a rather insulting adaptation if you're directly comparing the two. So... if I'd avoided it, I probably wouldn't have wound up liking it. As is, I get to appreciate both.

Also, serious question- Am I alone in preferring the movie version of Dune to the novel? I've haven't touched either in a while so I might be misremembering, but if I recall, the movie really established a distinct original visual style for everything, while the book is so light on descriptions that I'm honestly still not sure if the worms are supposed to look like giant worms or giant wyrms. Plus they pulled in the few interesting elements from Dune Messiah (the navigator, a bit of bene gesserit stuff) to show off, and then went ahead and changed the ending in such a way as to kill the potential for a movie based on said sequel. Which is great, because Dune Messiah was really just %@#$ing terrible. Also, the book doesn't have the line "bring me that floating fat man."

Zef
03-26-2012, 04:50 PM
See, since the book is almost always better, I sometimes like to see the movie first, in order to avoid holding it up to such a high standard.

This is my MO as well. Whenever applicable, I try to watch the movie first, because if I like the movie, it'll turn out that the book will be so much better, and that way I can enjoy both and my appreciation for the movie will increase or at least remain the same. While I have liked many adaptations after reading the original book, my enjoyment of the film is always less than what it could have been.

Which is why I'm now dreading Blindness (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blindness_%28novel%29), based on Josť Saramago's Essay on Blindness. I've wanted to see the movie ever since it came out, but for one reason or another I haven't had the chance. I mentioned this to my girlfriend, and she gave me her copy of the novel --and it's a powerful, menacing book, and it pulls no punches on its depiction of the events, so I worry that the movie might not be up to the task of adapting it.

OTOH, I'm really looking forward to reading Terry Pratchett's Nation, having seen the AMAZING London National Theater's stage play.

For instance, in a vacuum, the movie version of Uzumaki (http://www.kekkai.org/google/cs/uzumaki.shtml) is pretty nifty. It's a fun little goofy horror movie that works just fine on its own. Having now read the entirety of the manga it's based on, I can totally see how it's a rather insulting adaptation if you're directly comparing the two. So... if I'd avoided it, I probably wouldn't have wound up liking it. As is, I get to appreciate both.

Meanwhile, I read Uzumaki before watching the movie.

...yeah. http://www.the-weaving.com/images/temp/emot-smith.gif

And Jurassic Park is really the sort of book that begs to be Spielberg'd. I would say that I enjoyed the movie form better than the book (the book had some grievous problems that were, probably unintentionally, eliminated in the film), and whatever internet people have to say about The Lost World, the film was worlds better than that abomination Chrighton crapped out (I've heard he didn't really want to write a sequel, but it's still no secret I think he's a hack with an unfortunate knack for storytelling).

WHAT

Crichton's Lost World is really great, advancing the "mythology" of the park and fixing several plot holes of the original book, while the Spielberg movie was an embarrassing disaster from the opening scene to the very last shot and I still can't believe he made it. Of course, I read the book first, and I was very excited to see all those made-for-film scenes on the screen, so there was no way I could walk out of the theater without being disappointed. Not only did it throw away the original plot, but its own plot was a mess.

Issun
03-26-2012, 05:01 PM
See, since the book is almost always better, I sometimes like to see the movie first, in order to avoid holding it up to such a high standard.

I agree. Both the film and novel versions of White Oleander were fantastic, but I wonder how I would have felt about the movie if I'd read the book, first.

I guess it all depends. With Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones, it's really fun to watch the worlds and characters you've come to love brought to life, and the story of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo works better without Larsson's middling prose and penchant for frontloading the boring shit. However, I've never been as big a fan of the movie version of To Kill a Mockingbird as are most people, in large part because Harper Lee's engaging writing style and the slice of life vignettes that fully flesh out the characters and the world of Maycomb County are large parts of why I love the book so much.

Brickroad
03-26-2012, 05:44 PM
Gotta agree on Mockingbird, Issun. Of course, I feel like most first-person books lose something in the conversion. The whole point of the book is having the world filtered through Scout's youth and innocence, and it just doesn't come across as well in film.

Which is not to say it's not also a great film, of course. Just quite different.

Loki
03-26-2012, 05:48 PM
Also, serious question- Am I alone in preferring the movie version of Dune to the novel?

Yes, very.

Lady
03-26-2012, 05:51 PM
I've theorized for a while that it's also good to read the book after having seen the movie, at least if you're into movies, because then you won't hate the movie as much on seeing it

Zef
03-26-2012, 07:54 PM
Another such example:

I read the first volume of Scott Pilgrim and was bewildered and a little annoyed. I saw the movie and it was awesome, and it helped me go back and understand where the comic was coming from.

But then, I was entranced by All-Star Superman, bought the DVD, and was sadly disappointed by the adaptation.

...but those don't quite count as "reading a book," does it? :confused:

Brickroad
03-30-2012, 05:39 PM
Finished Dragon Tattoo the other day. Sat down with Peanut almost immediately to watch the movie. I thought both were excellent.

Mystery stories like this one lend themselves well to film adaptations because they tend to condense down pretty well. You can smoosh three chapters of clue-hunting down into a twenty-second shot. Or excise three links from a daisy chain of suspects. Or what-have-you. The film used a lot of these techniques to get a decent-sized book down into something watchable.

I have a very, very high tolerance for "they changed it now it sucks", so it's hard to get me upset when something in the movie is different from the book. That being said, I think this movie made most of the right choices. They dumped the right plot threads and simplified the right characters. One thing I wish they hadn't changed: during the torture scene, the line "this is my first time using this equipment" was changed to something like "I've never done this before". I think the original line is more detached, clinical, and makes for a more chilling scene.

I knew Daniel Craig starred in the film, but the entire time I was reading the book I kept picturing Liam Neeson as Blomkvist.

There were some things that popped up in the movie that weren't in book. Little backstory things, mostly. I wonder if these were taken from later in the trilogy. I'll probably be reading them pretty soon.

Nodal says he couldn't finish the book because it was Tea Party bullshit. I have no idea what he is talking about. (I rarely have any idea what Nodal is talking about.)

Violentvixen
03-31-2012, 10:12 AM
One thing I wish they hadn't changed: during the torture scene, the line "this is my first time using this equipment" was changed to something like "I've never done this before". I think the original line is more detached, clinical, and makes for a more chilling scene.

Nodal says he couldn't finish the book because it was Tea Party bullshit. I have no idea what he is talking about. (I rarely have any idea what Nodal is talking about.)

I don't think I could watch the movie because of that scene, but I agree that changing that line seems very odd.

And I don't understand that complaint either.

shivam
03-31-2012, 10:40 AM
You should watch the swedish original, brick. I'd be interested in seeing your response.
Also, I totally agree with you - i don't watch movies unless I read the book first.

Brickroad
03-31-2012, 11:03 AM
You should watch the swedish original, brick. I'd be interested in seeing your response.

I think I saw those on sale at MovieStop yesterday. Did they do the whole trilogy? Or was I looking at some cobbled-together American knock-off?

shivam
03-31-2012, 11:20 AM
They did a whole trilogy, yes. It came out a few years ago, and was pretty great.

Dizzy
03-31-2012, 11:47 AM
Watching the David Fincher version of TGwtDT movie taught me the problems with the story came from the book, not the adaptations. Fincher's version is par above the original Swedish version since he's a more talented filmmaker than whoever they hired to make the Swedish version. But where TGwtDT (ugh, these titles) is mediocre, the two sequels were horrible. I don't know how the books fare but they were downright campy.

Matchstick
03-31-2012, 09:53 PM
The Swedish movies are fine, but they're very by the numbers TV movies. Fincher's movie is head and shoulders above the first Swedish movie.

Alex Scott
03-31-2012, 10:20 PM
This is something I usually don't choose to do, it's just that I wind up doing it anyway.

For example, I still haven't seen Kubrick's The Shining. I read the book ages ago. But for some reason, I haven't seen the movie yet.

Brickroad
11-05-2012, 01:42 AM
The first three seconds of the trailer for Cloud Atlas feature a 19th century schooner, so my interest was immediately piqued. Reading about the book's structure on Wikipedia got me hooked. I spent the last three days eating it up, and it has been a very long time since I've been that spellbound by a novel not set in Westeros.

I want to see the film now, for sure, but I'm glad I read the book first. This is one of those stories (storieses?) that I feel will lend itself better to being visited in the theater, rather than having that be your first exposure, if that makes any sense.

Anyone else read this? Were you as captivated as I was? Does the film hold up?

Grignr
11-05-2012, 04:32 AM
I like to experience the original work first*, which usually turns out to be the novel. I think this "Book First" approach breaks down with "sequential art" (which is already movie-like) and other serialized forms of fiction because the second pass can do some clean up once the big picture has been laid out. Knowing the full story could have helped the Harry Potter movie series be edited more skillfully (it needed all the help it could get here). Game of Thrones readers are scratching their heads at some of the HBO edits right now, thinking "but I thought that character was important!"

Genre stuff (Clancy/Grisham/Turow/manga & light novels) often benefits from the adaptation being more skillful** than the original work and simply having to have people read the lines out loud and not sound ridiculous and having the exposition replaced with imagery. And if law genre novels aren't your thing, you can enjoy the story more quickly with a movie. Some times a literal adaptation has unintentional merits (e.g., goofy drama in the Death Note anime).


Confession: I read the novelization of Return of the Jedi when I was thirteen before the movie came out. At least I can rationalize my disappointment with the movie on being spoiled by the book!

* 2001: A Space Odyssey is definitely movie first despite it being developed in parallel with the novel.

** The novelization of Star Trek V is slightly more enjoyable than the movie but that's a pretty low bar.

Daikaiju
11-11-2012, 12:22 PM
Heartbeeps is immensely better in prose. Seriously.