Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Great Debate

Does reading the book first spoil the movie or does watching the movie first spoil the book?

This was recently the topic of a heated debate I had with my husband. Simon and I went to see I Am Number Four over the weekend. I finished the book a few days before, so my mind was filled with explicit plot details.

For most of the movie, I whispered to Simon, "What? That didn't happen like that. That character didn't even exist in the book. Why are they in Warsaw, Indiana? They're supposed to be in Athens, Ohio!"

Yes, I admit it. It was pretty annoying. And that wasn't all. On the way home, I regaled him with every point in the book that was different than the movie. Again, very annoying.

But Simon's thought was that I had brought it all onto myself by reading the book first. He liked the movie, probably because he wasn't aware of how poorly it compared to the book.

Honestly, I don't mind when screenwriters skip scenes or shorten scenes. It drives me nuts when they complete re-imagine scenes or make up new ones or change stupid things (Warsaw vs. Athens.) I personally don't like reading books if I already know what's going to happen, but I don't mind watching movies if I know what's going to happen.

So what do you guys think? Book first or movie first?


Anonymous said...

I think you have to pick one or the other. Either read the book OR see the movie. You can't do both or you'll just be frustrated and possibly very disappointed.

nerdshoveler said...

I prefer to read the book and then watch the movie after some time has past. Like maybe at least 6 months. Then, I don't remember too many details from the book and am less likely to be disappointed when the movie is different. I should also mention that sometimes (though I can't think of an example right now) the movie is an improvement on the book (skipped pointless scenes or reworked poorly thought out parts of a book).

Eljabo said...

I agree Ben - I think six months is the key. I've read all the Harry Potter books -- and I LOVE the movies. I think the four day window I gave myself was the problem.

My new beef is books that are based on a movie. Grrr.....