Ah, the age old argument of diehard bibliophiles: the book is always better than the movie… Right? I propose the argument that, no, the book is not always better than the movie.
1. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. First of all, the concept was great: I have no complaints about the plot or events. The themes that Sebold highlighted, though, weren’t the ones I would have chosen. Susie Salmon is a girl trying to reach back from the afterlife, unable to let go of her prematurely ended existence. One of her greatest worries was that she never experienced the physical things that go along with aging and maturity – the top on her list being sex. I felt like Susie’s only concern was that she had never been with her high school crush, and at the end of the book she abused her power from the afterlife to possess a friend and finally get it on with her main squeeze. Lovely, isn’t it?
In the movie, however, the focus was far more on the emotional aspect of Susie’s journey. She was more concerned with the family she had left behind, particularly her father. The message I got at the end (which never fails to make me sob uncontrollably) was to take the time to appreciate life, because we never know when it will end or where we’ll be tomorrow. It’s about letting go and moving on, and cherishing the people in your life and never taking them for granted. Even with the tough subject matter, I enjoyed the movie a lot more than the book, simply because of the emotional versus physical focus.
2. The Hunger Games by Susan Collins. Really, this one isn’t too much of a movie preference over the book. I’d say 55/45, with the movie ranking slightly higher than the book. My reasoning? I’m actually not a huge fan of Katniss’s character. She’s the best in the first book, but with each book I like her less and less. In the movie, and maybe this is because I’m a fan of Jennifer Lawrence, I felt like her better character traits were displayed: protecting Prim and defying the Capitol. I felt like Lawrence pulled out the best parts of Katniss, while still remaining true to the character of the book.
In addition, the movie was able to increase the impact of the themes and harsh realities of Panem through the big screen. Sometimes, watching a scene is better than reading it, especially the battle scenes. With the way it was filmed, with the bouncing camera and flashing lights, the movie really emphasized the confusion and disorientation of fighting. Plus, Rue’s death scene was just painful. It was well done in the book, but I didn’t cry when I read the book. The movie? Pass me the tissues.
Not all movies do their source material justice, but these are two that I felt stepped away from the norm. This is not to say that all movies are better than the books: 95% of the time I’d say the book was better. I could name several adaptations that make me cringe *cougheragoncough*. Ahem, throat tickle.
What movies do you feel are better than their books? What did you think of the Hunger Games and the Lovely Bones?