Monday, July 9, 2007

Screenplay ≠ Book

I am showing the movie based on the best selling book Eragon by Christopher Paolini tomorrow night at the teen movie. When I was discussing this with one of my teen patrons, he instantly wrinkled his nose and said that the book was so much better (he is still coming to see the movie btw). I asked him why he thought this way, and he told me that they left many details out in the movie that were included in the book. I said to him that if they had included every detail that the author saw fit to describe in the book the movie would have been a ten hour act of devotion to sit through, especially knowing the author's confidence in his ability to turn a phrase.

This conversation got me thinking though. Have I ever enjoyed a movie based on a book more that the actual book? I am not trying to knock screenplays. I love movies and books. I realize that the two mediums are different, and that the screenplay writers have to tell the story in two hours. The details, characters, and plot lines that are added or subtracted in movies are what drive the book canon purists crazy. I think that I fall somewhere in the middle. I usually appreciate a movie based on the book as just that, and I realize that the screenplay is a creative vision. I think the closest it has ever come with a movie being better than a book for me was Peter Jackson's efforts with The Lord of the Rings. I would say that I like the movie as much as I liked the book.

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