Do good books make good movies?

Do you ever stop to really question whether you should see the screen adaptation of a book you’ve read and loved?

I think it would be fair to say that you would rarely ever read the book after you’ve seen the movie. But we often head off to the cinema after we’ve read a book only to come away disappointed.

Why do we do this?

I know I’m a very visual kind of person and always create images in my mind while reading a book. I recall through the early 90s seeing a minimalist stage production of Pride & Prejudice. Boxes stacked in strategic spots across the stage were all the props in the set. Even with the then emerging William McInnes playing Mr Darcy it was just wrong, ALL wrong.

A book is a shared conversation between a writer and a reader, and every conversation is different. It is up to the reader to re-create the writer’s story, furnishing the visual characteristics of people and places, giving the emotional engagement between the characters importance or not. The reader’s mind is the theatre in which a novelist’s dialogue is mounted, creating a very individual performance according to the information that a reader brings to the experience.

The nuances of a book can rarely be recreated in a movie adaptation.

A movie is literal. The creative work that your mind employs with a book is all done for you in a movie. The scene is depicted, the characters are defined in the way they look, they way they react and the way they speak. There are limited options for you to interpret the outcome of scenarios in movies.

So, what do we think? Do our favourite books make good movies?

Vote in the poll below to indicate your opinion and tomorrow we’ll look at several books that I’ve enjoyed and weigh them against the movie adaptation.

Vote NOW.

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