I used to think that I didn't like movies that were made from books. I had the attitude that "the book is always better than the movie". But recently I've begun to see things a little differently and have a had a change of heart. I can no longer make such a blanket statement.
It all started with Memoirs of a Geisha. By the time that book had been made into a movie, it had been several years since I had read the book. I LOVED that book and was anxious (though nervous) to see the film. The film was absolutely gorgeous and wonderful and I couldn't remember enough details of the book to know if the movie butchered it or not. The same thing happened with The Lovely Bones and The Other Boleyn Girl. At that point, I changed my opinion and decided that as long as I had read the book long enough ago, that I would be able to judge the movie on its own merits and not compare it unfavorably to the original.
And then last week, I had to reevaluate my stance on this issue yet again. A few weeks ago I read and reviewed the fantastic Never Let Me Go by Kazuo Ishiguro. I LOVED this book and couldn't stop thinking about it for days after I finished it. I was aware that it had been made into a movie very recently and I was anxious to see the film. I watched it within a couple of weeks of reading the book and was afraid that since I remembered the book vividly I might regret watching the film. I was wrong! Even though the movie did stray from the book in a few minor ways, I loved it! It was very well done and watching the movie actually enhanced my understanding of the characters and added a whole new layer of appreciation for the story. This was so unexpected and such a revelation. It has caused me to rethink my whole philosophy on movies made from books.
The timing of this attitude adjustment couldn't be better, either. There are two current movies based on books that I've loved either playing now or opening soon - Jane Eyre and Water for Elephants. I actually saw Jane Eyre last night and thought it was terrific. The cinematography was gorgeous and I thought the movie was very well done. I loved that most of the actors are relative unknowns and their "celebrity" did not get in the way of the characters they were playing (if you know what I mean). This very issue is one that worries me about Water for Elephants. I am excited to see this movie, but I think it was very miscast. I really can't envision Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon in the leading roles. But, I'm willing to put aside my reservations. I just might be surprised. As I've recently come to realize, the book isn't always better than the movie.
How about you? Do you enjoy seeing movies made from your favorite books? Or do you avoid them at all costs?