Friday, June 17, 2011

Books and movies

This might not be a popular thing to say but sometimes the movie is better than the book. Not usually, but sometimes. I think it generally happens when a story is just not quite engaging enough to be a book, but it works out okay when you take that top layer and shape it into a movie.

I've read a few popular books that were not really great reading experiences but were more enjoyable as movies. The Hunt For Red October comes to mind. The book is all action, which is good because there's not a lot of depth of character going on. And there's nothing wrong with that because that's what some readers prefer. It certainly made for a compelling movie, what with Sean Connery playing a Russian who just happened to have a Scottish accent. And Alec Baldwin and Tim Curry. Tim Curry! He's always a hoot. Reading the book just wasn't as entertaining (to me at least) as watching the movie. Seems like there were some John Grisham books/movies that I felt this way about too.

In recent months I tried very, very hard to read (and like) an extremely popular novel, one of those that everybody talks about - The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. I really, and I mean really wanted to like this book. But after two hundred pages I gave up. I just did not enjoy it and I couldn't connect with any of the characters. If I can't connect with characters, I don't care what happens to them. Whereas I used to be better about forcing myself to finish a book I've started even if I didn't like it, I don't do that anymore. Now I set that book aside and find something else to read. So I didn't finish the first book of the Millennium trilogy and therefore have no desire to read the others. But I do want to see the movie.

First I should say, I know there are very highly regarded Swedish films of these books, and I do plan to give them a try. I have to be in the right mood to be willing to "read" a movie so its not something I'm going to sit down and watch just whenever. Let The Right One In was certainly an amazing movie so I'm betting the original Swedish version of Girl With the Dragon Tattoo lives up to its reputation.

The American version coming out later this year is directed by David Fincher, who turned Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club into a movie almost as good as the source novel. I had heard about this but had no thought of wanting to see it until the first publicity for it came out. I saw the poster first and it is quite striking.

I saw some discussion of this poster, mostly of the "clutch the pearls and swoon to the fainting couch" variety. I see nothing wrong with it but then I'm not scared of breasts, what with having a pair myself. I also don't think being topless makes Salander seem weak - she looks fierce! She looks like she would be more than capable of either protecting Blomkvist or wiping the floor with him, whichever she thought he needed.

Then there's the trailer:

"The feel bad movie of Christmas" has got to be one of the best tag lines ever. And okay yes, there's Daniel Craig. That's always a plus. I couldn't work my way through the book but hopefully I'll enjoy this movie version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.

Is there a book that you didn't especially care for that was turned into a movie you wound up enjoying?

No comments: