Which came first, the chicken or the egg? This debate can go on for hours, just like a debate between a movie buff and a bookworm, when a novel is adapted for the big screen. The bookworm is a die-hard believer in the sanctity of a book, while the movie buff defends the notion of equal enjoyment in the film adaptations.
So, who is right? Well, they both are, in their own way- for a number of different reasons. At its core, literature has shaped the world as we know it. It’s what historians study to determine the values of an ancient society. Even today, the world runs on written word. The textbooks you studied in school, the lyrics to the songs you listen to, even those Onion articles you read for an online laugh are all forms of literature. Film, on the other hand, is a recent addition to human enjoyment. We are currently living in what has been coined the “Golden Age of Film,” and with the incredible quality of movies today, with their amazing plots, breathtaking CGI, and sheer success, that’s no exaggeration. Seeing a film used to be a special occasion that one took their whole family to, and made a night out of – like a fancy dinner. But now everyone, and their dog, has seen Jurassic World.
It’s no wonder film crews have snapped up novels for movie-making material to attract the big audience of book fans. It is an especially smart business move for a company to be mentioned in a film. Prada, for instance, saw their sales skyrocket when Devil Wears Prada was released. That move was such a huge success that suddenly every book with a cult following is in production for a film of some form. But just because you’ve seen the film doesn’t mean you won’t enjoy the book. Here are three books you won’t want to skip out on just because you’ve seen the movie:
Lord of the Rings
Ah, Middle Earth, a realm we all once wished to be a part of, until reality hit us and we realised that we could never be reborn as a hobbit. Unless you’ve been living under a pop culture rock all these years, you’ve probably seen Peter Jackson’s trilogy, and gotten into at least one debate over who the best member of the Fellowship is. The films are amazing, earning themselves the title of classic at a surprisingly early age, and they’re also really, really long, with the extended editions being even longer. This is because there is so much that happens in the novels, that they had to shave off a good third of the material to meet the time limit. This led to drastically different experiences between the film and the novels as even the general atmosphere of the story was different.
Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy
This unique science fiction cult novel tracks the story of Arthur Dent, a simple Englishman who would rather stay home and not partake in this adventure nonsense, thank you very much. However, he shortly finds out that his best friend is an alien, and more aliens are on their way to destroy Earth. The book is a hilarious journey that is non-stop fun from start to finish – across its five-novel run. The film, on the other hand, might as well have been under a different title. It is still as enjoyable, entertaining, and non-sensical as its literary cousin, but after setting the basic story, it went on its own path. A good 80% of what happens in the movie wasn’t in the book, and most of the book wasn’t in the movie, so it doesn’t matter which one you’ve seen or read, the other is a totally different ballgame, and should not have any effect on how you perceive the other.
This one is a unique case, since both the film and the book share the same plot, the same events, and the same sequence, but they’re both equally enjoyable. It documents the story of Mark Watney, an astronaut who gets unexpectedly abandoned on Mars when his crew believes him to have died in the middle of the emergency that rushed them back to Earth. The novel is full of witty remarks and funny little quips that Mark uses to pass the time as he figures out how to survive with what he has until help arrives, and the film is full of the unknown suspense of his dire situation that, in the book, had been negated by the constant comic relief. Thus, fans of comedy will find themselves geared towards the novel, and fans of suspense will love the film. While they are both unique from one another in their tone of storytelling, both the book and the movie are amazing forms of literature and filmmaking.