The Book or the Movie?


As I’ve been thinking about this thread, I keep thinking up more and more books vs. movies. There are SO MANY adaptations out there. Sheesh!

How does everyone feel about the Life of Pi book vs. movie? It is one of my very favorite books, so I feel like I am biased. I thought the movie looked incredible, but it didn’t really blow my hair back the same way the book does.

I listened to it while driving across the country by my self to return to college. I was 19, on a grand adventure, and this book was the perfect companion as I drove and drove and listened to my own thoughts.

How do you guys feel about it?


Is the movie ever really better than the book? I’ve always felt like books have a clear advantage in this fight. The advantage is that the reader can “imagine” what the world looks like. The writer is not tasked with actually finding a set for the movie to take place in. A prime example of this is in Maze Runner. The book was a solid science fiction book with a strong concept and all-around solid writing, pretty much everything needed for a good sci-fi book. The movie however completely fumbled how all of this was done, we were given a world that felt smaller and less intense than the book and the main enemies within the maze were far less interesting.

Does anyone have any good examples of the movie being better? The best situation I can imagine is when a short-story concept is used as the basis for a full movie. Thoughts?


The Hobbit was a good film, But I preferred the book. Although the film was great, a fantastic look into the tales of the book, and the adventure and the excitement of it, I feel the book was what really opened the world more. It went more in detail about the actual world they lived in, and what it was about. The LOTR books might’ve too, but I haven’t read those, I’ve only done the Hobbit.


I saw the two first Hobbit but not the last, the movies looked well but felt pretty empty to me.


@Nage The best example of the movie being better than the book I can think of is The Silence of the Lambs and Red Dragon movies (excluding the 1986 Manhunter movie) vs the books written by Thomas Harris. The pacing and structure of the movies far out weighed the books in my opinion. I’d also recommend checking out the show Hannibal (pre-book canon; the cinematography and production design is amazing) if you can handle that level of gore.
But in regards to The Maze Runner books vs movies. I agree on the first book being better but I have to say I much preferred the second movie over the book. I have yet to finish the third book; I’m finding it very arduous for some reason and have all but given up on finishing it.

@WillyNilly The Hobbit is my favourite book so that wins hands down; but, in saying that though I did love the first movie, I thought it was a great recreation of the story (and felt nostalgic watching it for some reason?) but definitely felt like the second and third movie were a great let down in comparison to the first. Though I do thoroughly agree with what @Spica said with it feeling empty.


I do think that occasionally a movie is better than a book. While it seems to definitely be the exception to the rule, there are times where one of two things happens (in my opinion):

  1. The movie says what the book meant to say or should have said but didn’t.
  2. The book was so enormous and complicated that the movie made it digestible and accessible.

For example 1, I immediately think of Brooklyn. I loved that move. It was touching and beautiful, and gave a fascinating look at the modern pioneer experience. I read the book thinking I would love it too, but was disappointed! Eilis’ inner monologue was shallow and unappealing, and the ending was depressing and flat. While the movie definitely follows the book, director John Crowley and the cast elevate the story and message into something finer.

I also think of The Mist! I am a die hard Stephen King fan, and have read the short story, The Mist, several times. Frank Darabont adapted it, and changed the ending for the better. The MUCH better. Stephen King even agrees!!

For example 2, I think of Gone With The Wind. The book is fabulous. No question. But, it is ENORMOUS. It takes a time investment that many people don’t have or aren’t willing to give, and runs the risk of wearing the reader out with the detail of the world. The move is such a full and successful adaptation, that I think it has preserves this fabulous story for generations who would not have encountered it otherwise. Same with LOTR.

Them’s my thoughts anyway…


@Nage I agree! Thomas Harris is great, but Anthony Hopkins brought Lector to life for me in a way the book alone did not. Good example!


I just finished Goldfinger, by Ian Fleming. I have not seen the movie, but the book is a really fun read (despite the dated misogynism and racism). Has anyone seen the flick? I have never been able to get into the old Bond movies…


I read the Hobbit before I saw the movies. I already read the Lord of the Rings and I have to say that the movies are on par with the book. Excellent. I had some high expectations for the Hobbit but it was a let down for me. To much CGI. It also had a weird green/reddish glow over the scenes. I really hoped that it would be just as good as lotr. It’s not Peter Jacksons fault though. Warner Bros pushed him to the limit. 3 films in 4 years??? Peter jackson had 5-6 years to prepare for The Lord of the Rings. Its such a shame…


You’re absolutely right. Here watch this:


Okay team! How do we feel about The Shining? I’ve read it a couple of times, and have seen the Stanley Kubrick movie a couple of times. I really like them both, but for totally different reasons.

The characters are so filled out in the book. It is written in 3rd person omniscient, so you really get to know everyone through their inner monologue. The hotel didn’t feel as real or threatening to me as it does in the movie, however. Stephen King (as per usual) really takes his time in the beginning of the book, building the world, introducing you to everyone, and introducing you to the phenomena of The Shining. He slowly introduces Jack’s decline and the threat of the hotel, and then WHAM BAM everything goes to hell in a hand basket and the book is over! It is gut wrenching to see all of these people you’ve been getting to know for hundreds of pages crumble so quickly.

In the movie, I feel like you meet everyone at a run. They immediately get installed in The Overlook, and the hotel immediately begins to feels like a threat. That carpet alone is assaulting! Kubrick does such a masterful job of slowly, excruciatingly building to the iconic climax, that when all hell breaks loose, it is a terrific relief.

I feel like the book and the movie look at two sides of the same coin: the book looks at the carnage wrought when people don’t face their demons, and the movie looks at a hellish place that uses a person’s demons to bend them to it’s will. Both awesome.

Do you think one or the other is better?


I for one love them both and tend to think of them as two awesome versions of the same story.


I recently read one of the Mary Poppins books and think that the movie adaptation was an absolute triumph!

Mary comes off as quite harsh in the book, and some of her magic seems a little sillier than in the movie. It was still a charming read, but was written for a different time.

The movie is so special, full of common sense and magic, that it took the spirit of the story and made it a little more timeless. I also think the music helped make it more joyful that the written word seemed to be.

Revisiting a fav at my desk today anyway…


The adaptation of book to film for The Lost World by Michael Crichton was amazing wasn’t it? Totally matched the book in every way.


I’m afraid I have not read that book :stuck_out_tongue:


@CFG I reccomend to you the BBC Film with Tom Hanks, Saving Mr Banks. The story is all true, and is how the author of Mary Poppins and Walt Disney made the film together. It’s really interesting to see what the author expected of the film (and also gives another view on the book or the movie).

I won’t spoil anything, but here’s a trailer:


Thanks @aoshaw21!! I have seen this and loved it. Movies are such a collaborative art. It was really neat to see how Walt Disney could look past P. L. Travers’ limits and see what her already beloved work could become. His whole team did, from the songwriters, to the animators, to the superb actors, to the costumers and on and on. Also, it blows me away that sometimes hard or hurting people can create the most tender and uplifting art. Tuppence a bag still makes me cry! *sniff!


@Kevin_Nguyen mentioned Children of Men in a different thread, and I immediately had to run over here and post it too!! If you haven’t read the book or seen the movie, I highly recommend both.

The book was written by PD James in 1992. This sweet looking little old british woman wrote it!!

She is such a bad ass to take such a unflinching look at sex, procreation, racism, fear, personal responsibility, personal identity, and the future of humanity. Sometimes she can be quite cynical, but I thought her point of view was pretty fascinating and she does bring it all back to hope in the end.

The move did an amazing job conveying the desperation and adventure that the book had. It’s one of my favorite Clive Owen performances, and has a beautiful score. It also has one of the best one-takes in history. Take a look.

Nice call @Kevin_Nguyen


OK!!! I finally saw Silence: the book/movie that started this thread in the first place!

I liked it very much and thought it was intellectually fascinating, but not very emotionally stirring. Don’t get me wrong, there are heart-wrenching moments that are difficult to watch, but I was never overwhelmed by a great swell of feeling like I sometimes am in movies.

Scorsese is very faithful to the book. Point for point, he follows the story that Shusaku Endo originally wrote. He does not gloss over any events or overemphasize any moments that Endo didn’t emphasize in the book, and really captured the spirit of the book as I saw it.

It was very interesting to see the physical challenges that the Fathers and Japanese natives face throughout the story. I was able to imagine them while reading, but could stop at any time or minimize something I didn’t want to dwell on. Having that imagery put before me in a dark theatre was very sobering, and created a pretty immersive experience. The fact that the movie has no background score makes the imagery all the more stark and overwhelming. There is nothing to distract you from the thing happening right before your eyes.

The performances are also wonderful. Garfield and Driver do their jobs admirably, but Issei Ogata really takes the cake in my opinion. He uses his face, voice, and gestures expertly as Inquisitor Inoue, and creates an unforgettable foil for the poor Christians. I LOVED his work.

I would be really interested to hear what other people took away from this movie. It certainly spoke to me in certain ways and gave me lots of food for thought in others, but I’d love to hear what others thought about it. Were you guys as interested but unemotional as I was?


I recently finished the short story that was adapted for _Arriva_l, called “Stories of Your Life” by Ted Chiang. The concept was really great, but the storytelling in the movie was way more satisfying and conclusive. And, more than a jab at Chiang, that’s testament to how great Arrival’s screenwriter (Eric Heisserer) did.

Also the entirety of that book has some fantastic stories and concepts that could inspire new film ideas.