Being a bookworm, it’s difficult for me to ever appreciate a movie that adapts a book. Or at least, attempts to translate the medium of narrative into the screen. The keyword in the previous sentence is attempt. But we live in an age where the movie gets more exposure than the book, and there are people who will not bother reading a book once they see the film.
I die a little inside every time I hear someone isn’t willing to read. But one movie which impressed me on its own (letting me judge it on its own, due to no prior knowledge of the book) was Atonement. Unlike other movies that make you too lazy to read the book, the movie captivates with its characters and cinematography, but leaves you thinking what the more elaborate narrative has to offer.
I recently bought my own copy of the book by Ian McEwan. The details certainly reveal more and the vividness of each sentence explains how the movie had amazing cinematography. The challenge? I read to know what happens next. In the book’s case, I already know. It’s also not a happy ending, and much worse than a sad one. If there was a word that was more heartbreaking than sadness, that would be the effect of the movie’s conclusion. A part of me wants to know what only McEwan’s writing can reveal, but the other refuses to relive the more-than-depressing ending.
Next on my movie first then book challenge is the film adapted from Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go. Let’s be honest here. I primarily saw Atonement since it stars James McAvoy. And the British movie of Ishiguro’s work? There’s the adorable Andrew Garfield. And Keira Knightley, again, my eternal girl crush.
Eye candy aside, I’m looking forward to the creepy but tragic plot and how the book will read after seeing the film. This will be my sort of reader experiment. How does a somewhat fanatical read-the-book-before-the-movie reader react to a book after seeing the film it’s based on? Which medium ends up being more appreciated? And are the differences less obvious after seeing the film, then moving on to the book it’s based on?
Is this reverse psychology? Or rather, reverse reader psychology? I’ll get back to McEwan’s novel then report the results of this experiment.