Sunday, November 1, 2009

Lights! Camera! Action!

Have you ever watched a film where the plot is so familiar you’re thinking that “I’ve seen this movie before” but haven’t? You may have thought this due to the fact that many, many of today’s releases are adapted from a book. From the storyline a screenplay is cropped out to fit the allotted time and budget of the film. Also in some cases the story is changed to create a more “dramatic” product, which seems to be the case with horror / slasher films.

For those of us with a few years under our belt we could name off quite a few books that we had read that are now movie hits or movie flops. Let us take one writer for example.

Stephen King is one of the most “movied” authors that I know of. Growing up I read everything that was released by him and found his writing to be excellent. See if you remember any of these early titles that went from book to film:

Salem’s Lot
The Shining
The Dead Zone
Children of the Corn

The adaptation of the stories themselves has always been limited due a number of obvious things such as budget, time and it isn’t reasonable to expect every word in a book to be in the film. Not to mention that we as the reader create in ourselves differences that make the experience of reading the story unique to ourselves. Not saying that the movies don’t have their moments:

And for those who would rather watch the movie over reading the book, just remember that you are missing elements of the story. So many times we have heard how the book was what brought us to the theater only to be let down, disappointed that the film did not fulfill the expectations we had in reading the story. So it is safe to say that we can never expect the movie to be better than the book.

It is the “film” that unravels in our head while we read the story that makes it so real. For some it may take months to get through a novel but when you read the words on the page throughout those months you have a chance to relive it and formulate your own scenes and characters into your own film.

Not taking away anything from the movie makers but just my take on books versus movies and experiencing both. In my world the written page rules, though a good movie can bring the words to another level, for example “My Zinc Bed” was a great film, intelligent dialog and one I will never forget. Here’s a sample:

So the reason for the blog is to encourage reading over sitting and watching. Keep the mind working and re-inventing the storylines that can impact us in so many ways. Imaginations can’t die out. If they do…all art is doomed.