temporus: (dawn)
Edward Greaves ([personal profile] temporus) wrote2014-05-16 08:30 pm

What came first, the book or the movie???

That's a totally rhetorical question in the title.  I'm not even interested in the answer.  This isn't really about which came first, it's more about how these are just always two different beasts.

I got to thinking about the topic because at dinner, my sons were watching an episode of "The Magic School Bus", in which they go around the solar system and visit all the planets.  (Including Pluto, because it was written back when Pluto still was a planet.  Poor Pluto.)  The Little Man has, as it so happens, already read the book that the episode of the show was based on.  And it was quite fun watching him throw off comments like: "But the bus started changing before that, when they were stopped at a light."   Ah, his first awareness of how a book and a show/movie made from the book will not match up perfectly.  (Never mind that he remembered a book well enough that he read months ago so that he can point out the differences between that book and the show.)  I explained to him that with a book, you often have the space to give more details than you have time for in a movie or a TV show.  The formats for visual media are often locked down to a limited time-frame that for the most part, books are not limited to.

It's also got me thinking about how I see lots of complaints here and there on the net from time to time about how this movie or that TV show isn't like the book.  I guess the shock of that lasts well beyond being seven.  For the most part, I'm pretty forgiving when it comes to viewing video as it's own medium.  Oh, I won't lie, I had my moments of "WTF did they just do?" from books to movies.  But for the most part, I'm able to disassociate the source material from the video.  (And let's be honest, it's *mostly* an issue where people are upset that the movie isn't like the book, rather than the book not being like the movie, etc.)  The worst for me was the old Hercules show with Kevin Sorbo.  There was just nothing about that show that looked, or felt anything at all like the Greek hero I'd loved as a child.   It felt....disrespectful.  Like they didn't care about the myths they were pilfering to make a campy, cheesy TV show.  So I get it, when someone finds a beloved book "ruined" by a bad adaptation.  But, I was, after some effort, able to get over my own preconceptions and just enjoy that show for the Saturday afternoon camp that it was.  Eventually, we were rewarded with the far better Xena, show,

Of course, you don't always get a reward like that for putting up with a bad interpretation.  However, it is important to learn how to deal with the fact that video will never be the same as the book.  Because that's going to happen to you a lot, if you are a reader.  (And the Little Man is a huge reader.)  That being said, it's totally fair to have an opinion of whether the changes from the source make the story better, or not.  To examine if the differences in media make one or the other superior in telling the core story, or if they tell their tale equally well, just from a different skew.

So, what about you?  Did you have a favorite story ruined when it went from book to movie/show?  Was there a story you thought turned out better in the new media?

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