Thursday, July 24, 2008

Book Versions vs. Movie Versions

Reading is such an incredible thing.

Although reading may seem quite basic, the fact is that reading a good story is a much deeper experience than any high def TV and 5.1 surround sound can deliver.

How else can you explain why there are so few movies that turn out to be as good as or better than the prose version?

I believe there are examples where the movie turned out to be better than the book--I just can't remember any of them right now. However, it's all to easy to recall a great piece of prose turning into a pile of crap on the big screen.

Take The Mist, for example. That was one of Stephen King's best novellas. The entire experience of reading it was like watching a mind movie that featured almost total immersion. Then I rent the movie, turn out the lights, and make a serious attempt to enjoy it.

Right away things start going wrong. The characters don't react like real characters, something I don't recall from the book. No, there's something wrong with the logic of their interactions early on in this one. Here's a couple examples:

1. When the mist first arrives, a guy with a bloody nose runs into the supermarket and says terrible stuff's going on. Just from that, and apparently the mist itself, all the people in the supermarket are convinced they can not leave the store. WTF? At least tiptoe out a few feet into the mist, ready to rush back into the store if necessary. Don't just accept the fact that you're stuck inside, no matter what bloody nose guy says.

2. When Ben and a few of the locals try to convince Brent that there really are large creatures out in the fog, the resulting argument is--somehow completely wrong. Brent becomes paranoid and they keep trying to convince him, when they could just go back into the back room, grab a shovel, and bring out the friggin' tentacle appendage that they chopped off the monster. This is the equivalent of keeping the blinds closed and trying to convince your lover that it's stopped raining outside. Try opening the blinds and showing him/her!

Oh well. Some people prefer movies and never even read a book. Can't imagine living that way. The monsters in King's novella were much more convincing than the computer-generated denzians that were in the movie....

1 comment:

RichSkyline said...

Okay, so my wife has told me that I was too harsh on the movie version of The Mist, especially criticism #1 above.

She's probably right. The movie wasn't THAT bad, and who likes the guy who always is nitpicking during a movie?

"Why don't they just use the aerosol cans and charcoal igniters like the old teacher did--that seemed to work better than anything...."

I'll give the movie a C. The story: A.