Monday, November 28, 2016

Better In Your Head? Books Vs. Movies, The Introduction

Calling foul on conventional wisdom doesn't happen near as often for my liking. Questioning conventional wisdom has resulted in discovering that the Earth is a sphere, homosexuality is not a mental illness, and financial wealth doesn't guarantee personal happiness. Not bad. But when I consider the hokey aphorisms and spineless theories forming the foundation of a supposed success story, I don't wonder why the world burns.

Course, the opposite of conventional wisdom is common sense. Either way, a paucity of resources.

However, there is one merry given in life: the book is almost always better than the movie.


Movies, fine medium they are, really have no choice but to screw up a book. Often significant chunks of prose must be excised to keep the film's plot reasonable (to say nothing of the running time). Simplification is the rule.

The novelist is encouraged to use descriptive prose. A glacial pace can be one of the elements that makes a work of fiction great. A book does not come with a predetermined duration. You may read it in one day, or across several days, or even several weeks.

The writer works their word magic and trusts the reader to follow along. The writer realizes that their internal images might not match up with that conjured up by the reader, especially when it comes to character descriptions. But that's a necessary sacrifice. Then, along comes the director--with his cinematographer, his editor, his composer, his goddamn cast--and, well, can you read To Kill a Mockingbird without seeing Gregory Peck?

What I set out to determine with this review series is not if the cliche is true--of course it is. What piques my pen is seeing for myself how wide the gap in quality really is. While I won't be doing every single damn adaptation ever made--not for lack of desire, mind--you can look forward to 55 books and 59 movies given the Trapper treatment. Some obvious, some not, all worthy the scrutiny. 

Let us go.

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