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Books vs. Filming
3 months ago

I strongly believe that every reader is on some way co-author of the book during its reading. It’s our imagination which allows heroes become true for us and we fill them additionally with our emotions and opinions, let say our own some personality traits. That’s probably why we might be so easily disappointed with a movie, based on already known story, but in the interpretation of others (director and screenwriter first of all). Of cause, contemporary movie industry has many incredible technologies to impress and excite us, while it is more difficult with bookworms because of the reason mentioned above. Of cause, it’s just my subjective explanation of many personal disillusions with beloved books filming, that’s why I would ask you, my friends, is there some movies which you love more than books or at least as much as the books? I can remember at the moment only 2 examples: “Once Upon a Time in America” (the book by Harry Grey I read after surprised me with great work of screenwriter who went far after the end of the novel and it made the movie so good due to the main invented intrigue, absent in the authentic story) and “Fight Club”, as good as the original story by Palahniuk.

3 months ago

Good topic, Valentina.  I just watched the new version of Great Expectations and although it is in many production aspects a good movie, I was disappointed overall.  To fit the story into the time frame of a movie involved truncating the story far too much...it was like a film Cliff Notes version.  I think Dickens' novels are particularly difficult to adapt for the screen, given that they are so dense with characters and events.  I can think of several versions of different filmings of various novels that have memorable performances while not being all that successful, to me, in maintaining the entire story.  A Christmas Carol has been made dozens of times...in so many different settings and interpretations (Bill Murry in Scrooged comes to mind)...but for me the 1951 British version starring Alistair Sim is far an away the best film version of any Dickens ever made.  Working from a story rather than a full-length novel is obviously easier.  The 2005 BBC adaptation of Bleak House is the most satisfactory film version I have seen of any of the novels, having taken the time...8 hours...to include a detailed telling of the story.  I heard one author describe the film version of her work as her story in "an alternate universe", which I find an interesting and useful way to approach the film version of any book.  When the film is good, it can accompany and further illuminate having read the book, but all too often I find the chances wrought upon a novel by screenwriters to result in something far less worthy.  

3 months ago

I love works by Virginia Woolf, well, I'm going to make it short, no panick LOL!

I have watched the movie "Orlando", which is the movie version of the novel with the same title again and again, and I have enjoyed it every time. In my opinion, the film maker, Sally Potter, was really able to interpret and represent the Spirit of the novel, I see Woolf's touch and presence in every scene of the movie itself... Apart from the final scene depicting Jimmy Somerville, ex vocalist of Communards and Bronsky Beat, like an improbable falsetto singing cherub, floating in the air and I really don't know what motivated this choice, the novel doesn't mention such I thing, as far as I remember... But, well, irony is always an asset!

3 months ago

Thank you, Miranda and Fulvia! I added to my to-see-list BBC's "Bleack House" and "Orlando"

3 months ago

I hope this is not going to be too much of an "Off Topic", because the work I'm going to talk about now is not exactly a book, but an autobiographic graphic novel, "Persepolis", by Marjane Satrapi. The title refers to the ancient capital of the Persian Empire, Persepolis.

I really enjoyed this work, of which I'll write a review under the specific thread, and I loved the animated film too. The film was written and directed by Satrapi herself and was nominated for the Academy Awards for the Best Animated Feature, but lost to "Ratatouille". I really enjoyed both of them. Well, Satrapi made both, there was no third party interpretation...

3 months ago

Fulvia, I don't think we are here for the sake of some strict rules, but for our own pleasure. So, even real off topic can't be such a crime By the way, I didn't see "Persepolis"...

3 months ago

Hi Fulvia, don't worry about being "off topic"...which, by the way, I don't think you were anyway.

I liked "Persepolis" very much...the graphic novel and the animated film.  This is an example of something translated well to the screen.

3 months ago

Thank you, girls ! I get carried away, some times...

Another book/film combination I really love is "The Commitments" by Roddy Doyle. I love Roddy Doyle, but I find that Irish writers in genaral have something (Jospeh O'Connor is among my favourite too). So, when you love a writer, you tend to be particularly attentive to the film adaptations which are made later on. Well, I love the movie too! First of all, in my opinion, the whole cast is perfect! The actors were mainly unknown, chosen for their musical ability rather then for their acting (well done, Alan Parker !). The story of this white group, willing to be a Dublin soul band, or The Dublin soul band, the soul of Aretha Franklin and Wilson Pickett, so to speak, is beautifully rendered. The faces of the actors overlap very well with the faces my imagination created for the carachters whilst reading. And the general atmosphere, both of the novel and of the movie, sounds pretty much the same to me! Approved!

3 months ago

Love in time of cholera is a novel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez which is no less then perfect, in my opinion. This timeless love story that takes ages to be lived by the two main carachters is just amazing! There's magic, there's passion, there's love, there's life and there's Gabo's story in here (he was inspired by his parents' contrasted love). A lot of beautiful things, right? Well, forget them! You will not find any of these in the movie, which happens to be lifeless, boring, lacking chemistry between the main carachters and among all the other carachters, dull. A criminal offence to the novel!

3 months ago

Fulvia, "The Commitments" is one of my all-time favorite movies.  We have it on DVD and have watched it several times over the years.  I had enjoyed the book before seeing the movie...I agree it's one book well translated to the screen...and several others by Roddy Doyle.  Have you read/seen "The Snapper"?

3 months ago

Didn't see The Snapper, but read the book. Read the whole Barrytown Trilogy, actually, but The Commitments was the only movie I watched. The Snapper and The Van were directed by Stephen Frears, and the latter was entered into the Cannes Film Festival. I think I should definitely watch them!

3 months ago

Another book/movie I love is "Out of Africa", the autobiographical novel by Karen Blixen. Meryl Streep is my favourite actress ever, I love whatever she does! And the Africa shown by Pollack had very much the flavour of colonial Africa I have been told by old people who happened to live there in that period. I love colonial Africa, it has such a peculiar atmosphere. I wish I had have the opportunity of being there at that time!

3 months ago

A movie that I'd really love watching is "A shadow on the Sun", which is the movie adaptation of "West with the night" by Beryl Markham. It is the autobiography of this amazing woman, who was a pilot and a horse trainer in colonial times Kenia. The first woman to fly the Atlantic east to west in a solo non-stop flight! Her writing style is said to be inspired by the mythical Antoine de Saint Exupéry, legendary pilot, who also was one of her several lovers. One of them was Denys Finch Hatton, the same Finch Hatton of Karen Blixen. In "Out of Africa" the movie, Markham is Felicity, the outspoken tomboysh horse rider.

3 months ago

Fulvia, I enjoyed reading "West With the Night" but haven't seen the movie...I'll have to check it out.  There's also a BBC several-episode mystery series set in  Kenya in the late l920s early l930s.  The series overall is called "Heat of the Sun" and the episodes are three separate stories with the same recurring major characters.  The clash of the British upper classes with the native peoples form the backdrop, and the recreation of the period and attitudes is very good.

3 months ago

P.S. For some reason part of a sentence was lost...which was the connection with your comments, Fulvia.  One of the main characters in "Heat of the Sun" is a female pilot loosely based on Beryl Markham.

3 months ago

I think when it comes to film adaptations you cannot get any more popular than the Harry Potter series. Now as much as I adore the films (I must have seen each of them at least 10 times or more) there's so much content that's left out, a LOT of which I feel is REALLY important to the progression of the stories, that I find myself getting very annoyed.

I feel that the second film, The Chamber of Secrets, was definitely the best at staying true to the book. There was very little they left out, and the whole "feel" of the movie as I was watching it was a lot like how I felt reading the book.

On the other hand, for me the worst movie for content was The Order of The Phoenix. It's the longest, most in-depth and has the most intricate storyline of all the books and I was REALLY disappointed at how the movie went. For me this was the story that should have been told in two parts, rather than The Deathly Hallows, and because they had to try and pare the story down to fit the length of the movie, so much important detail was missed out.

Overall I think a wonderful job was done and they definitely did a LOT better than some other adaptations, especially things like Twilight!

3 months ago

Arline, it’s a funny coincidence, but I just started to read "Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone" I know, it’s quite strange choice for a 33-year old woman, but… I should work hard now and it includes also a lot of professional reading. Being incapable do not read at all for my own sake, I decided to switch on some easy reading and what can serve such aim better than children books? I should to confess, I didn’t know about HP almost nothing. When first book appeared I was already out of its auditorium. Later, my elder nephew became fond of it and once I tried to watch with him the first film, based on the J.K. Rowling's story and, I should confess, I wasn’t impress enough even to finish watching. Now, temporarily being in the UK, I’m trying to improve my English through the reading and to compensate some lacunas in the British literature knowledge. So, I already knew some new for me funny words, such as broom, cauldron, wand, etc. I’m not sure about their practical importance for me (except the case of acquaintance with some real witch %)), but when I set aside my prior prejudices, I realized that it is absolutely entertaining reading! So, after I plan to watch also movies



This post was modified from its original form on 28 Apr, 8:32
3 months ago

Thank you very much, Miranda! I'll check The Heat of the Sun too...

Regarding Harry Potter, well, I'm a big fun of J. K. Rowling. The saga is not completely fictional. There is a lot from the celtic traditions in the books.

I really enjoyed the first and the second films, directed by Chris Columbus and Alfonso Cuaròn. Actually, at first, before watching his movie, I had some doubt about Cuaròn, but I had to recognise he made a good job. When Mike Newell made the third, I was like: Oh, this one is not as good as the first two!". When David Yates made all the others, well, I had to force myself to watch them, because I wanted desperately to leave halfway! I was so disappointed! All I remember is that they are so confusing and dark, and, in some moments, is is difficult to follow the plot, even if you are familiar with it... Good I read the books before watching them, because, the other way round, David Yates works wouldn't invite me to read the novels...

3 months ago

Valentina,

I'm really glad that you are giving the Harry Potter books a chance and are finding them entertaining! I came to them late as well, I had for a long time poo-pooed the idea of reading a book that was aimed at children, but once I was talked into it, I found myself devouring the first 4 books in about 10 days!! LOL.

I'm sure as someone for whom English is a second language, there must be a lot of words and ideas that are really foreign to you, and it's great that you're learning about them too. It's a good thing you're in the UK, though, because if you get stuck or confused, at least there's plenty of people around to help you out

I hope that you continue to enjoy the books and that you'll like the movies too. Even though there are things about them that frustrates and annoys me about them, they are wonderfully made and the acting and special effects are just brilliant!

3 months ago

Arline, I’m already finishing the first book and initially was a bit confused only with Hagrid’s way of speaking %) Of course, it is possible that I am losing some contextual jokes and connotation, allusions or idiomatic expressions but the reading is going quite smoothly By the way, what does it mean &ldquooo-pooed”?

3 months ago

I can understand why you would get a bit confused with Hagrid's manner of speech, Valentina, there would be more than a few native English speakers would have trouble with the wordage and accent, just like they have with my Scottish one. It's a very West Country (indicating the region of England they come from) Accent and they use a lot of words and phrases that not all English speaking people do, so of course it's going to be doubly hard for a non native speaker to understand it.

Poo-pooed is a colloquial term for shunning something, not having interest in it, thinking it's beneath you. I hope that helps you

3 months ago

Arline, thank you for the explanation, this term was absent in some dictionaries I checked

By the way, I watched first movie about HP. Having fairly no expectations about heroes, I found almost all of the actors absolutely on the right places. Maybe I just waited more charismatic Albus As regards Hagrid, did he save his pronunciation peculiarity in the movie? Unfortunately, that version I saw was dubbed and there he spoken clear, educated language. 

2 months ago

Yesterday watched the movie "Chicken with plums", a drama based on the graphic novel of the same name by Marjane Satrapi. Well, I like Satrapi's works, and I enjoyed reading this graphic novel. But the movie wasn't as good as its paper counterpart. It had some brilliant moments, like Angel of Death Azrael visiting the desperated violinist Nasser Ali Khan and conversating with him. To make it short, the man had decided to let himself die after his wife, a woman he had never loved, broke his violin, the only instrument that helped him to sublimate his unbearable life. And Azrael visits him and the two has a paradoxical conversation, which is a strong scene. But the whole movie lacks coherence, it seems that every scene has its own style, a patchy work. This time, Satrapi didn't do a good job as a codirector!

2 months ago

I hadn't read the graphic novel "Chicken With Plums", and while I enjoyed the movie it did seem to lack coherence.  It was visually beautiful, and there were scenes that really made an impression, but overall I agree that it seemed patchy and the style of the scenes did not always mesh.  I'll look forward to finding the graphic novel and comparing it to the film.

2 months ago

I still didn’t get “Babette's Feast” book but watched the movie. As a movie itself it’s nothing extraordinary to me. Of course, it was interesting to see absolutely new faces on the screen (I don’t know almost anything about Dutch cinematography) and the plot is quite interesting, what reinforces my desire to read the book. Hope, it will be as tasty as I’m already imagining

A bit of an Off Topic
2 months ago

but a nice one!

Test

Are You a Book or a Movie?

http://www.blogthings.com/areyouabookoramoviequiz/



This post was modified from its original form on 14 May, 5:41
2 months ago

I am a Book!!

You are a deliberate thinker. You don't like to gloss over anything, and details matter to you.
When times get tough, you get philosophical. You never forget the meaning of life.

If you're facing a problem, getting away for a couple days always helps you clear your mind.
You always consider the past, present, and future. You believe every little event shapes your life.

2 months ago

I'm a book too Is it a kind of surprise for me? I don't think so Even though I like movies too, I can imagine my life as possible even without them, but without any book... it will be completely unbearable! 

2 months ago

I'm a movie, which surprised me...but, then, this little quiz really has nothing to do with whether you are a book person or a movie person, or both, but uses ideas about each as a personality determination.

2 months ago

One more movie here

2 months ago

Fulvia, I watched “Persepolis”. Interesting and impressing, but for me was not so surprising as probably should be for people who have no idea how Islam can look like if its adepts are quite fanatic… In any case, such kind of movies is helpful because people are often ignorant about the female/human rights issue; they might at least create some questions in minds… I remember one discussion in Italy devoted to the position of women in contemporary Iran. Well-educated Italians were sincerely sure that they are completely free there and regime is pretty secular…

2 months ago

The difference between education and culture, Valentina! Having a formal education and ignoring what happens worldwide makes you even more ignorant than an uneducated person. And your degrees are just "a piece of paper" as we say about studies which didn't broaden your perspectives...

2 months ago

Did anyone read "Vergin suicides" by J. Eugenides? 

I watched the movie by Sophia Coppola and found it slow and boring, ponderous, boring and shallow.

Was wondering what's the novel like...

2 months ago

Probably you are right, Fulvia! Unfortunately I always idealise education as an art of questioning the world around…

As regards "Vergin suicides", I saw the movie, it wasn’t so bad Maybe Coppola is one of mine directors, because her way of showing things is a bit eastern, without hurrying and great emotional catharses… Unfortunately I didn’t read the novel too, I even didn’t know before it exists %)

2 months ago

Fulvia, I hadn't read The Virgin Suicides and found the movie so tedious and shallow that I had no interest in reading the novel.  Given that film versions by no means always live up to the novels upon which they are based, even in the sense of being the "alternate universe version of the novel", I did at the time check out some reviews of the novel...which sounded as if the movie may have reflected it well this time, as the novel sounded uninteresting to me.

2 months ago

Valentina, anthropology marked me deeply... Completeness and attention to any human issue make people world citizens. And this is what, ideally, in my opinion, everyone should be, a world citizen. Clinging to a formal, LOCAL, bookish education, ignoring what really goes on when it comes to social and historical events, well, sounds pointless to me.

Thank you for your comment, Miranda!

The novel must be a real bore, then. I'm glad I didn't read it!

Once I saw someone I knew, a commuter like me, reading "Middlesex" by the same author and asked what that novel was like. Well, I got such a shallow reply that didn't put me in position of getting a clue, so I kept my curiosity about this author, but never had the chance of reading one of his works. Well, now I'm glad I spent my money in a better way LOL! 

1 month ago

As you already know, I am reading at the moment books of HP’s serie and watching one by one related films. Fulvia mentioned that from the 3-rd movie and later on they became too much dark and moody. I didn’t feel that (I just finished 4-th book and watched it as a movie). I have another complain – trying to fit in one-part movie, screenplay’s author left back so many interesting and important moments that I really couldn’t catch some links and understand some events if I didn’t know the plot from the book. If in the “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” there were few such things, in the “Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire” they are already numerous!.. At the same time they added some invented moments which are according to me were absolutely unnecessary! And it is especially sad when some logical and beautiful story lines were ignored absolutely…

1 month ago

I completely agree with you on this, Valentina, and believe me it only gets worse with Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix, which is is largest and most complicated of the stories.

I have always hated the fact that the screenwriters and directors take away important parts of JK's original stories and add parts of their own to make, in their opinion, the story flow better on screen. I have been known to throw thing at the screen when I'm not happy [lol]

1 month ago

I agree about what you guys say about Harry Potter. I watched some of the movies first and started reading the books later, and my friend (HP fan) had to explain some things to me.

Maybe I should read the books again some time



Has anyone seen the "Sherlock" series from BBC? It's, in my opinion, an absolutely great adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes books! They are only based very loosely on the books, since these take place in the late 19th century and the movies are set in our present time. I had only read the books (for the first time ) just before I started watching the series and noticed so many small details that were so brilliantly exactly taken from the books, and still so well adapted for our present time, I loved it!

The titles already show some of this: "A study in scarlet" becomes "A study in pink", "The sign of the four" becomes "The sign of three", "The Reichenbach Fall" has nothing to do with a waterfall.

And also, even if I had only just read the books and knew the solution to the mystery in the books, the solution in the movies was always so close and yet so different from the books, that I could never guess it

So, my conclusion, definetly a great adaptation to the books! Very different and still very accurate and with dozens of hints that you only notice if you read the books.



This post was modified from its original form on 30 Jun, 1:46
1 month ago

Laura, I absolutely agree with you about the new BBC "Sherlock".  The way in which the characters, events, etc., are "translated" has been simply brilliant.  This is one of the best examples ever of how familiar material can be reworked, while staying true to the spirit of the original, in order to create something new and, in this instance, absolutely fascinating.  I have enjoyed several BBC adaptions of the Sherlock Holmes stories over the decades...the episodes with Jeremy Brett as Holmes are, in my opinion, the very best traditional adaptation done.  The old Basil Rathbone movies are fun, but at times bear very little relationship to the original stories, especially in the portrayal of Dr. Watson.  The American movies from the l960s on I have found wanting.

1 month ago

Well said, Miranda. I must say I haven't seen many Sherlock Holmes movies so far, none of the old ones anyway. Only one of the more recent movies with Robert Downey Jr. and Jude Law as Holmes and Watson, but it wasn't really the REAL Sherlock Holmes. And I also watched some episodes of the "American version" of Sherlock, set in present time and with Lucy Liu as female Dr. Watson. Quite good too, but not really THE Sherlock Holmes.

2 days ago

I finished `Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix` and watched the movie respectively. And it is a first time when I completely dissatisfied by the film. I can assume it is watchable only if you didn’t read a book that much screenplay set aside Arline, I start understanding your preference for Hermione, she became more and more rebellious being still reasonable and I like her now much more than before. And unfortunately I have some sense of dislike for the protagonist too. It is a first time when I was telling myself that Snape isn’t so wrong claiming that Harry is quite selfish, stupide and too much arrogant to admit it what creates a lot of trouble for other people and even caused Sirius’e death. I understand that this annoyance of mine with him means that his character was alive, not glossy ideal hero’s one but still… As regards movie, I was quite surprised by the cast of Dolores Umbridge, even though Imelda Staunton created really great character, I had some troubles with it because of my very specific perception of Umbridge’s physical appearance described in the book as a toad-like face of her. Even Judi Dench could be better for this role according to me, just because of different face form, but I know, it’s very subjective… The same point concerns Gary Oldman. I love him as a really good actor generally and his Sirius Black was adorable but not anxious and depressed as I felt it in his character reading the book. I hope next movie with other screenplay’s author will reflect the book better…

16 hrs ago

Oh, Valentina, DO NOT get me started on this!!


I cannot begin to tell you how disappointed and angry I was with how they filmed 'Order of The Phoenix.' As you know this is the largest of all the books, with the most in depth and integral story lines!! The fact that they missed out so much of the most vital information just made me want to throw something at the screen (I had to keep quiet though, as I was in the cinema) and I actually had a sore mouth from clenching my jaw!! To me instead of making 'Deathly Hallows' as two movies, it should have been done with 'Order of The Phoenix' as that way they could have told the story in full without losing so much of the truly amazing storytelling that Jo had done in the book.

I am soooo glad that you now understand why I love Hermione so very much! To me she is the ultimate young witch. She is smart, witty and brilliant. She knows when to bend or break the rules and exactly when to stand her ground! Not to mention the fact that she's beautiful, though no-one seems to notice at first.


As much as I do love, Harry; yes, he can be a bit of a prat at times and makes you want to do what Hermione does to him in the Library (smacks him upside the head) and tell him exactly what an arsehole he's being. I do think, however, that he learns very quickly from it, especially after Sirius' death.

As for Snape, this is the first book that you really begin to feel torn about him. Up till now he's just seemed like a nasty, spiteful man who had it out for Harry, but you soon start to learn much more about him and exactly why he is how he is and has done what he's done.


I have to disagree with you on the casting of Imelda Staunton as Delores Umbridge, I think that it was genius casting and she played the part to absolute perfection! I really could not have imagined another actress, not even Dame Judy Dench, playing the part and doing it as well as Imelda!


I hope that you enjoy The Half Blood Prince next!!

4 hrs ago

You know, Arline, even though Snape isn’t very sympathetic hero, I like him a lot! He has really strong personality and of course Alan Rickman contributed in such a perception a lot He is a man of solid character, which is quite sophisticated and it is always attractive to me.

By the way, `Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix` gave me one more favourite in the whole story – it is Luna Lovegood. She is so different from everybody else even in that specific environment of Harry Potter’s world, but at the same time so true! And I finally found explanation why some of my possessions are disappearing time to time – it is just Snarks’shenanigans!