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I love movies almost as much as I love reading but sometimes I find myself torn between reading the book first or watching the movie first nowadays.  Back in the day, movies use to butcher books to the point where the only thing right was the title.  Now, IMO since LOTR came out, the movies seem to be leaning more towards keeping the movie as close to book as their budget will allow and in some cases the movie may have turned out better than the book or, as my niece has stated about the Harry Potter books (which are her favorite books), hasn't quite given the books justice either due to too much content in the books themselves or just not enough $$$ to really make it good.  Whatever the case, has anyone else seen a movie based on a book that they thought either the book or the movie was better or worse than the other and what was it that separated the two the most in your opinion?
 

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I think very few movies are as good as the books they are based on... The Harry Potter series included. The first three Potter movies were well done (though omitted or changed a lot of details), the fourth was OK, and I almost walked out of the fifth it was so poor.

One of the few films that I liked as much or better than the original story was The Shawshank Redemption. The Lord of the Rings trilogy was outstanding as well. Silence of the Lambs was a good movie, but also lacked a lot of the depth of the novel.
 
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Shawshank
Blade Runner
Jaws
The Godfather

The only movies I can think of off the top of my head that I thought were better than the books upon which they were based.
 
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Geemont said:
I never watch movies based on books. I don't really see the point.
You've never seen Jaws, The Godfather or The Exorcist? Never seen Apocalypse Now, The Wizard of Oz, or Gone With the Wind?
 

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You know, I actually thought that P.S. I love you the movie was better than the book but then again my love for it might be slightly biased because of the fact that I loved almost everyone who starred in it!  :D
 
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Geemont said:
I quite watching movies based on books twelve or thirteen years ago--at least for books I want to read, might read, or have read.
That'll teach 'em!
 

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Bacardi Jim said:
Shawshank
Blade Runner
Jaws
The Godfather

The only movies I can think of off the top of my head that I thought were better than the books upon which they were based.
I can't believe I am about to say this, but I agree with BJ at least on the first 3. :-\

As far as the The Godfather, I saw this back right after I had read the book and there was so much left out and the girl with me was constantly asking if she missed something and I had to fill in the blanks for her. I like the book better.
 
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If we all had identical tastes, we'd only need six directors and a dozen authors. ;)
 

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In answer to the original question... I almost always prefer the book over the movie and I usually read the book before seeing the movie. The one exception has been the Harry Potter books. I have not read any of them, only seen the movies.
 
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Angela said:
In answer to the original question... I almost always prefer the book over the movie and I usually read the book before seeing the movie. The one exception has been the Harry Potter books. I have not read any of them, only seen the movies.
(Assume LR and I are married so as to make the following post less wordy and actually comprehensible.)

According to the church of my mother-in-law and stepdaughters, every time somebody reads a Harry Potter book, Satan gets a boner!
 

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I think Brokeback Mountain, the movie, is superb and I think the short story is equally superb, but they are really very different. As someone once said to me, the screenplay almost qualifies as the first fanfic written from the short story.

Gone With the Wind stands out in my mind as a good, faithful adaptation. Ditto for In Cold Blood.

I have seen The Godfather several dozen times but only read the book once, years ago so I don't really remember how well the two stack up against each other.

I was very disappointed in the Harry Potter movies and have not seen any of them all the way through beyond no. 2.

L
 
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I always assume the movie is going to be worse or different from the written work. Sometimes it is a good thing, sometimes it is a bad thing.

Stardust, the differences made both enjoyable to me.
DeNiro in drag had me rolling in the aisles.

HP fiascoes, 'nuff said. If you watch the last couple movies without reading the books, they are incomprehensible.
 

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I agree with Jim on a few on his list (particularly Jaws - I actually didn't like the book all that much, but the movie was awesome). Books are superior at telling a story, but a well-made movie can add a lot of enjoyment to it. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy, for example - I was never able to get through the books (just couldn't get into them) until the first movie came out: I read the first book before the movie, then was highly motivated to read the other two right after that.

And one movie I always think of when comparing books vs. movies is 2001: A Space Odyssey. I saw the movie first, and had absolutely no clue what the heck was going on half the time. Then I went back and read the book, said "Aha!" and saw the movie again...and really, really enjoyed it...  :)
 

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Hmmm, Actually, I think I prefer The Princess Bride movie over the book. Otherwise, I'm having a really hard time thinking of any.

I agree with kreelanwarrior regarding 2001: A Space Odyssey, although I haven't tried watching it again after reading the book. But the entire time I was reading it I was also going AHA! I even read 2010.

In the sad but true category, I have never read or watched the entire movie of Blade Runner, Jaws, or The Godfather.

I can be a big defender of movie adaptations. Starship Troopers is a decent movie, if you've never read the book. (Loved the ads. But the book is better.) They do the best they can squeezing the HP books into a 2-3 hour movie. They can't, well, maybe they could but they wouldn't, put intermissions in the movies like they did with Gone With the Wind.

And what is really sad is that I read the novelization of Star War 3: Revenge of the Sith. That was so much better than the movie and for one simple reason.
We got to read Anakin's internal struggle to turn to the Dark Side. It wasn't "Join Me" "NO" "Join me or your girl dies" "OK, I'll join"
 

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I will not watch a movie before I have read the book.  For me, the book is always way better and I do not want to spoil my enjoyment of reading the story.  The characters, places and descriptions are always best when my mind is allowed to view them through my imagination not the vision of the profit driven movie industry.

I love the Wizard of OZ movie and I first saw it long before I read the book.  When I read the book or even think about the Wizard of OZ, the pictures in my head are the ones from the Movie because I did not have the opportunity of making up my own pictures.

I read Clan of the Cave Bears et al and absolutely love it.  I watched the movie and was very disappointed.  If I had watched the movie first I would NEVER have read the books.
 

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mom133d said:
I can be a big defender of movie adaptations. Starship Troopers is a decent movie, if you've never read the book. (Loved the ads. But the book is better.) They do the best they can squeezing the HP books into a 2-3 hour movie. They can't, well, maybe they could but they wouldn't, put intermissions in the movies like they did with Gone With the Wind.

And what is really sad is that I read the novelization of Star War 3: Revenge of the Sith. That was so much better than the movie...
Okay, I've got to comment on Starship Troopers! That is such an interesting book in so many ways (Heinlein packs in a LOT into what's really a pretty short book), but I was thoroughly disgusted with the movie. Yes, the special effects were really good, but they totally missed (IMHO, obviously!) the real points that Heinlein was trying to make, and that would have really reshaped the movie into something a lot more substantial. On top of that, one of the things that made the book really cool from a sci-fi perspective was the armored suits, which they left out! Last, but not least, and one thing that is certainly in common with the second round of Star Wars movies, is that the acting was terrible. After I saw it I left the theater thinking of it as "Starship Poopers". The animated cartoon series, oddly enough, was a lot better all-around. :)

And Star Wars...I love the story, we own all the movies, but I really wish that George Lucas had gotten Steven Spielberg or someone to direct them and someone else to do the casting, particularly for Padme and young Annikin (the one they definitely got RIGHT was the guy who plays Palpatine). Oh, and Jar-Jar Binks must die!! ;D
 

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I always prefer the book over the movie, always. I am usually disappointed in the movie but there are rare occasions when I think both are equally good.
 
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