Book or movie first?

Michele - posted on 01/23/2012 ( 13 moms have responded )




That can be a general question also, but specifically, I have "To Kill a Mockingbird" from Netflix now. I would like to watch with my 14 yo daughter (maybe my 12 yo son). She asked if I thought she should read the book first. I read the book first, and watched the movie so much later than I read the book, that it didn't make a difference either way.

In general, I think it depends on the book and movie. Often if I read the book first, I am disappointed in the movie. Not sure that would be the case with this movie.

Of course, I watched "Bladreunner" with her and told her in that case, it made absolutely no difference if she read "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" before or after because they are almost unrecognizable as being related. :)


[deleted account]

I would say, almost without exception, that every book I've ever read have been better than the movie and I always find the movie to be disappointing.


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Jennifer - posted on 01/25/2012




I've never seen the movie in this case, but usually like to read the book first. I picture everything in my head, and so if I see the movie first all I see is those charaters and places. Plus, movies so often disappoint.......

[deleted account]

i prefer to read the book and then make fun of the movie later if necessary. some books are well-adapted into movies, though. very few, but they can be found. Twilight was NOT one of them, lol.

Lady Heather - posted on 01/24/2012




I always read the book first. The book is always better and I don't want the movie to ruin my reading. I find if I've read a good book and the movie comes out I look forward to the movie and then I am disappointed by the movie. So maybe if I saw the movie first I wouldn't even read the book.

Sylvia - posted on 01/24/2012




With very few exceptions (The Princess Bride is one; The Sound of Music is another), I would always recommend reading the book first. Occasionally a movie is better than the book it's based on (for instance, The Horse Whisperer, which is a decent-ish movie but a lousy book -- the writing is irritating and there's not enough plot or character development to justify its page count), and movies based on books are often very good in their own right, but most of the time there are subplots, plot details, nuances of character development, and other subtleties in the book that just don't make it into the film.

Plus, the book is what the author wrote; the movie belongs to the director and the screenwriter. They may not want to tell the same story.

Sometimes I'm disappointed in a film because it leaves out particularly beloved details, minor characters, favourite bits of dialogue. More often I'm disappointed in a film because it does actual bodily harm to the story told in the book. For instance, the film of Neil Gaiman's Coraline not only messes up the setting and atmosphere by moving the story from rural England to somewhere-in-the-US and makes the protag's parents nasty instead of just inattentive, it also ADDS A WHOLE NEW CHARACTER (an annoying one, too). I get that this must have felt necessary to the filmmakers because so much of that book is narration and Coraline's internal monologue. But it's such a fundamental change to the story that I had a lot of trouble seeing past it to enjoy the movie (which is visually stunning and in some other ways relatively faithful to the book).

And then there's the horrible film version of Captain Corelli's Mandolin -- one of my favourite books EVER -- which just did pretty much everything wrong :P

Elfrieda - posted on 01/24/2012




If I remember right, both the book and movie of "To Kill a Mockingbird" are pretty great. (is there more than one movie? I saw the old-timey black and white one)

In that particular case, I don't think it matters. Normally I'd want to read the book first, even though I might get mad when I see the movie later. It really all depends on the movie. (and the book)

Michele - posted on 01/24/2012




Rebecca, is that the case when you have read the book first? Do you think you would have been disappointed by the movie if you hadn't read the book first?

I think that I might not be as disappointed by some movies if I hadn't read the book first. Wait- does that make sense?

If I saw the movie first, I might not be disappointed by it. But then would I be disappointed in the book? I doubt it, actually, since the book is almost always better.

Stifler's - posted on 01/24/2012




Depends. I read the first 2 harry potters and then watched the movies. But I haven't read twilight or the da vinci code. I watched Little Women first then read Little Women and Good Wives. I read the dwelling place by catherine cookson before wathcing the movie. etc.

Ashley - posted on 01/23/2012




Books are usually better than the movie... with the exception of "The Notebook" and "The Help". As for "to kill a mockingbird" both are pretty great.

Denikka - posted on 01/23/2012




In most cases, I find that the book is WAY better than the movie and I usually end up disappointed in the film (Eragon is a PERFECT example. Boooo!!) But in a couple of cases, the movie made me want to read the book. The Golden Compass is a good example of that. I tried to read the book 3 different times and never got past the first 10 pages or so. But after watching the movie, I would LOVE to go back and stick it out more and actually read the book.

I generally say to read the book first. Even if you're disappointed in the differences, at least you're going into the movie with a better understanding of the story. I find that a lot of movies made from books skip over a lot of stuff and tend to leave a lot of unanswered questions. The book tends to fill in a lot of those blanks :)

Angela - posted on 01/23/2012




i definetely would prefer to read the story first and then watch the movie. I enjoy visualising the characters and scene my way as a i read. if i really enjoyed the book then i am happy to watch the movie (but in most cases i have also been disappointed with the movie version). I recently just finished reading 'my sisters keeper' and loooved the book but soooo disappointed with the movie!! I am just about to start reading 'the girl with the dragon tatoo' (which i have been told is brilliant and you don't want to put it down)....i purposefully have not seen the movie (which came out a while ago) because i wanted to read the book first. Looking forward to it :-)

Vicki - posted on 01/23/2012




No sure about those ones, but generally if the movie adaptation is a good one I don't think it matters.

I love the Harry Potter adaptations, there's probably a lot more I like if I put my mind to it.

My least liked adaptation is The Beach. The book is awesome. For the movie instead of the lead character being a geeky gawky Brit, he's Leo DiCaprio (who I like in other movies, this isn't the role for him though). He got the girl who he only fantasises about in the book and it changed the whole story and meaning. I know films can't be the same as the book but I hate it when they change completely!

[deleted account]

I don't think I've ever watched that movie or read that book, so can't say.

I like to read, but I prefer to watch the movie...even if they don't really match, cuz I can't see pictures in my head. Movies put the words into picture for me. ;)

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