Movies that were better than the book

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Movies that were better than the book

Postby Edward » Sat Jun 25, 2011 6:59 pm

When usually movie adaptations suck compared to the book, especially if the book holds a special place in one's heart, sometimes the movie really is better. In my opinion, I think the movie version of The Princess Bride was better than the book, which I found rather boring, as the humor doesn't work very well in print, wheras the movie is hilarious.

What do you think? Does anyone else know of a movie that they find better than the book? (It has to be a movie adaptation of a book, not a book adaptation of a movie)
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Postby Atria35 » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:14 pm

I will second Princess Bride and, while I know this will be hotly contested, I volunteer Lord of the Rings (extended versions, though. The original cuts left a little to be desired, at least when it came to Boromir and his motivations.) Don't get me wrong, I love Tolkien, it's just that his books are very. heavy. reading. They require time, and patience. I love the books! But... Yeah. Tolkien is long-winded on the best of days.
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Postby Radical Dreamer » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:17 pm

Edward (post: 1487272) wrote:When usually movie adaptations suck compared to the book, especially if the book holds a special place in one's heart, sometimes the movie really is better. In my opinion, I think the movie version of The Princess Bride was better than the book, which I found rather boring, as the humor doesn't work very well in print, wheras the movie is hilarious.

What do you think? Does anyone else know of a movie that they find better than the book? (It has to be a movie adaptation of a book, not a book adaptation of a movie)


I actually disagree with that, having also read the book. XD I found the book just as funny (especially including Golding's "editor's notes"), and it also included a lot of information that was left out of the movie for running time's sake. That isn't to say the movie isn't a total comedy classic, because it is, but the book is at least just as good, if not better. XD

Anyways, the first one I always think of when I consider this question is The Wizard of Oz. I adore the movie, but the book just didn't do anything for me. XD Not only was I put off by the ways the book differed in story, but the book also severely lacked the presence of Judy Garland and Margaret Hamilton. XD

Another one that comes to mind is The Prestige, written by Christopher Priest and directed by Christopher Nolan. I really liked the book, but I felt like the movie handled a lot of bumps in the story a lot better. The beginning of the feud between the magicians feels a lot more...legitimate, in the movie. XD In the book, the feud starts over something that feels ridiculously petty, and though that may sort of be the point, it doesn't really do a good job conveying that. XD Besides, it's a lot easier to like characters who have a legitimate reason to be angry with one another, so that was a smart change to make for the movie. XD

Of course, the start of the feud is only one aspect of the story. I really loved the way the book was put together, and I found the ending really interesting, though in a far less believable way. Even so, when comparing the two, the movie is definitely the better of the two. XD
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Postby Edward » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:35 pm

Atria35 (post: 1487275) wrote:I will second Princess Bride and, while I know this will be hotly contested, I volunteer Lord of the Rings (extended versions, though. The original cuts left a little to be desired, at least when it came to Boromir and his motivations.) Don't get me wrong, I love Tolkien, it's just that his books are very. heavy. reading. They require time, patience, and a good vocabulary to get through. I love the books! But... Yeah. Tolkien is long-winded on the best of days.


Yes. While I wouldn't say the LOTR movies are better, the books are definitly very dense reading. Definitly the kind of book that you can only truly appreciate with a lot of free time and patience.
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Postby FllMtl Novelist » Sat Jun 25, 2011 7:37 pm

Personally I enjoyed the Harry Potter movies 1-6 more than the books, simply because the books took me a while to read. While I don't have any specific problems with the books, they just didn't grab my attention as much as some other works, and when I read them I was a slower reader than I am now. The movies, on the other hand, each took only two hours or so, and I was done. The only thing I really disliked about the film adaptions was how little screentime Alan Rickman got. XD He makes an awesome Snape.
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Postby Warrior 4 Jesus » Sat Jun 25, 2011 8:22 pm

Hitchcock's Psycho is much better than the original book. I also enjoyed the Lord of the Rings Extended Editions more than the book (despite some of my favourite scenes not being included or changed).
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Postby UniqueAngelStar » Sat Jun 25, 2011 8:22 pm

FllMtl Novelist (post: 1487281) wrote:Personally I enjoyed the Harry Potter movies 1-6 more than the books, simply because the books took me a while to read. While I don't have any specific problems with the books, they just didn't grab my attention as much as some other works, and when I read them I was a slower reader than I am now. The movies, on the other hand, each took only two hours or so, and I was done. The only thing I really disliked about the film adaptions was how little screentime Alan Rickman got. XD He makes an awesome Snape.


This.

The original harry potter books are good, but I prefer watching it as the movie. I can understand the story much better than reading it.
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Postby Okami » Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:01 pm

My only complaint on the Harry Potter movies was the serious lack of Peeves. :(

That being said...I really haven't seen a movie that I've enjoyed more than the book.
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Postby Maledicte » Sat Jun 25, 2011 9:36 pm

Radical Dreamer (post: 1487276) wrote:Another one that comes to mind is The Prestige, written by Christopher Priest and directed by Christopher Nolan. I really liked the book, but I felt like the movie handled a lot of bumps in the story a lot better. The beginning of the feud between the magicians feels a lot more...legitimate, in the movie. XD In the book, the feud starts over something that feels ridiculously petty, and though that may sort of be the point, it doesn't really do a good job conveying that. XD Besides, it's a lot easier to like characters who have a legitimate reason to be angry with one another, so that was a smart change to make for the movie. XD

Of course, the start of the feud is only one aspect of the story. I really loved the way the book was put together, and I found the ending really interesting, though in a far less believable way. Even so, when comparing the two, the movie is definitely the better of the two. XD

I'm of the same opinion. The book had a great writing style, but on the whole the story felt wibbly-wobbly. The movie was much tighter and had more punch.

I can't speak for the book as I haven't read it, but my dad says that the film of L.A. Confidential was better than the novel. The film shaved off a number of subplots, and has a great cast to boot.
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Postby bigsleepj » Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:46 am

I'm afraid the Lord of the Rings the books are better than the movies, though I can say that Peter Jackson transmuted the subject material so much during the adaptation that it is almost like comparing apples and oranges. The movies may be great cinema, but are so completely over the top at times that I can't take it seriously, and feel somewhat emotionally from disconnected with them. The more subtle scenes from the book are generally better. But that's just me.

A movie that certainly is better than the book is The Shawshank Redemption. The Stephen King novella was decent, but Frank Darabont took the story and made it into something special.
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Postby Nate » Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:11 am

I will echo the others here who say that the LOTR movies are better than the books, because I have tried to read the books more than once and Tolkien's awful writing style is just too painful for me to be able to get through.
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Postby Agloval » Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:09 am

While his prose isn't great, I don't think Tolkein is heavy reading at all. Our collective reading muscles have just atrophied in the decades since he published. We're hardly talking late-period Henry James (whose prose is great, just impenetrable!).

Airport bookstand stuff like Robert Ludlum's novels often improve with adaption -- maybe to be fair to Ludlum I should say that adaption often brings out his books' strengths, or something.
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Postby Atria35 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:46 am

Agloval (post: 1487353) wrote:While his prose isn't great, I don't think Tolkein is heavy reading at all. Our collective reading muscles have just atrophied in the decades since he published. We're hardly talking late-period Henry James (whose prose is great, just impenetrable!).


Tolkien often had his friends over for dinner and occasions where he would read bits from his books. His contemporaries demanded that he stop reading them passages from his book because it was so boring and terrible.

I think that's a strong hint that it's not just us modern readers.
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Postby rocklobster » Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:52 am

The movie version of Marley and Me was much better than the book. I really felt the love that was shared in the family when I actually saw it, rather than just reading about it.
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Postby Agloval » Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:12 am

Atria35 (post: 1487355) wrote:Tolkien often had his friends over for dinner and occasions where he would read bits from his books. His contemporaries demanded that he stop reading them passages from his book because it was so boring and terrible.

I think that's a strong hint that it's not just us modern readers.
I'm willing to bet the problem was more the content than the prose -- hence the famous 'Not another [expletive delted] elf!'

Honestly, although I don't think it's especially well written, it's not a hard book to read. I read it as a child, and most of the more bookish friends I had had read it too. We used to discuss it. And this was at a bog-standard state primary school with a poor catchment area, not some kind of prep school for the precocious.
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Postby ShiroiHikari » Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:15 am

Lord of the fricking Rings. Tolkien has a tendency to go on and on about relatively unimportant crap, and the movies do away with that nicely.

Also-- and I know I'm going to get shot for this --Pride and Prejudice. I really enjoy the most recent film adaptation with Keira Knightley and Matthew MacFadyen. It's a great movie and a great story. But I have never even been able to get past the first 20 pages of the book. I find the writing style dry and difficult to read.

I'm not sure if this counts because it's a play and not a book, but watching Kenneth Branagh's Hamlet is infinitely more fun than reading the play. Plays are meant to be watched, not read, if you ask me.
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Postby GeneD » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:05 am

I thought the Count of Monte Cristo movie was more enjoyable than the book, although I haven't seen/read them in a long time. The movie is happier.
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Postby Radical Dreamer » Sun Jun 26, 2011 10:00 am

I agree that Tolkien's LOTR series is not that hard to read. I read it in middle school with no problems whatsoever. This thread is making me sad, though! XD Don't get me wrong, I love the LOTR movies (Like. You don't even understand. I love them XD), but I don't know that I would call them better than the books. The source material is just better, if only because it's the story in its original form. There are some cuts and/or changes in the movies that I agree with and some that I don't, and on the whole I think the movies are as well-adapted as they could've been for that particular medium. But even so, I wouldn't go so far as to call the books lesser than the films. XD
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Postby Scarecrow » Sun Jun 26, 2011 11:37 am

LotR Books > LotR Movies by a long shot. Don't get me wrong, the movies were fantastic but they don't touch the books. The only part in the book series I think I actually felt bored was in Fellowship in the Old Forest or whatever. It was cut from the movie and for good reason. I can't think of one thing that happened during that chapter that actually had any significance or importance to the rest of the story. I think a tree tried to eat someone but that was about it.

I can't believe people are saying the movies are better... although it seems the ones saying this are the ones who never actually got very far reading them. I'm thinking many people picked the books up after seeing the movies and expected them to be constantly fast paced like the movies were. I read the books before the movies ever came out and had nothing to expect whatsoever. I thought they were fantastic.

You could argue Fellowship movie (extended) is better than Fellowship book and I may not agree but I could see that. Two Towers and Return of the King though... no way. Anyone saying otherwise I don't think read them at all. Truth be told I was disappointed with Two Towers and even moreso with Return of the King when they came out (which was the worst in the movie series but my favorite in the books). I had to look at them as movies and not the books before I could start enjoying them. RotK really got botched as a lot of what was in that movie was still from the Two Towers book so a bunch from RotK got cut.

And the books aren't hard to read at all. If you want hard reading, try picking up Tolkien's The Silmarillian. THAT is heavy reading. Not because it has big words or stuff like that but because there are SOOOO many names and characters you can't keep anyone straight and each chapter introduces new characters and stuff as the Silmilrillian takes place over thousands of years. It's kind of like trying to read the Bible front to back. That said, I DO love the Silmarillian. Most of the stories are tragic or sad or and the whole thing is just totally void of hope and then ends with a glimmer of light. I like that.

Anyway back on topic. Stardust. Although the book is great too. But I think I preferred the movie. That's really the only one where I've read a book and really enjoyed it and then saw the movie and enjoyed it even more.
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Postby Radical Dreamer » Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:09 pm

Scarecrow (post: 1487389) wrote:LotR Books > LotR Movies by a long shot. Don't get me wrong, the movies were fantastic but they don't touch the books. The only part in the book series I think I actually felt bored was in Fellowship in the Old Forest or whatever. It was cut from the movie and for good reason. I can't think of one thing that happened during that chapter that actually had any significance or importance to the rest of the story. I think a tree tried to eat someone but that was about it.

I can't believe people are saying the movies are better... although it seems the ones saying this are the ones who never actually got very far reading them. I'm thinking many people picked the books up after seeing the movies and expected them to be constantly fast paced like the movies were. I read the books before the movies ever came out and had nothing to expect whatsoever. I thought they were fantastic.

You could argue Fellowship movie (extended) is better than Fellowship book and I may not agree but I could see that. Two Towers and Return of the King though... no way. Anyone saying otherwise I don't think read them at all. Truth be told I was disappointed with Two Towers and even moreso with Return of the King when they came out (which was the worst in the movie series but my favorite in the books). I had to look at them as movies and not the books before I could start enjoying them. RotK really got botched as a lot of what was in that movie was still from the Two Towers book so a bunch from RotK got cut.


Interestingly enough, the way it happened for me is that I watched Fellowship of the Ring in theaters, fell in love with the story, and then read all three books and The Hobbit before The Two Towers hit theaters. XD I loved both of those movies too (though if I had to choose a least favorite, it'd be The Two Towers), but I definitely think The Two Towers is the one that's least like the book. I know ROTK omits the Scouring and includes Shelob, but when you think about it from a film perspective, Shelob would simply not have fit comfortably in TTT. It would've made Helm's Deep and Osgiliath completely anti-climactic, and it also would've stretched the movie into a four-hour feature. XD The same really goes for the Scouring of the Shire, unfortunately--the ROTK finale was quite long as it is. XD

That being said though, I disagree that the FOTR extended cut is the best. If any, it's definitely ROTK. I have a number of problems with the original ROTK film (like the omission of Saruman's death, period--that's way too important to cut out), but I found that many of those problems were fixed in the extended cut. [spoiler]Sure, a hobbit archer didn't kill Grima Wormtongue, but at least it was an archer! XD[/spoiler] And I've seen the extended cut of ROTK so many times now that I actually forget which parts were original and which were added. XD Even so, I think ROTK is definitely the best of the films, and certainly deserving of all 11 Academy Awards it received. XD All that said though, yes, the books are still better. XD
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Postby Nate » Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:29 pm

Assumptions and hearsay!
Scarecrow wrote:Don't get me wrong, the movies were fantastic but they don't touch the books.

I can't speak for anyone else but myself, but I'm not saying that the movies are better than the book because the plot was better or anything. I'm well aware that the books have more "stuff" in them. I'm saying that the movies tell the story better than the books do because they don't wander around aimlessly and aren't terribly written (because they're not written at all).

It's the difference between a joke that's only sorta funny but told really well, vs. a joke that's extremely funny but the person telling it keeps going off on tangents and stammers and speaks poorly. While the funnier joke is technically better, it's told poorly, and thus is worse than a joke that's less funny that is told much better.

Second: I'm not saying the books are "hard" to read. Tolkien doesn't have some impenetrable way of writing that makes him difficult to understand. I'm just saying his writing sucks. That's different from being "hard to read." He isn't hard to read, it's just reading him is not fun because he sucks at writing. So this isn't a matter of "Lol is it too DEEP for you?" because it isn't. It's a matter of quality, not difficulty.
I'm thinking many people picked the books up after seeing the movies and expected them to be constantly fast paced like the movies were.

Nope! I tried reading the books long before a movie was even considered being made. I read The Hobbit when I was like 8 and I loved it. Then I tried reading Fellowship and couldn't stand it, it was so terrible. Then, later on, I looked at the books again (this was when I was in high school or so, so around 1996, 97) and tried reading them a second time. Again, could not make it through Fellowship for the life of me.

And then the movies came out and yes, I tried to read the books yet again...and failed. If I try three times to read a book and it is consistently terrible each time, I'm prepared to say that is not my fault as a reader, it is his fault as an author.
If you want hard reading, try picking up Tolkien's The Silmarillian. THAT is heavy reading. Not because it has big words or stuff like that but because there are SOOOO many names and characters you can't keep anyone straight and each chapter introduces new characters and stuff as the Silmilrillian takes place over thousands of years.

I read the unabridged version of Romance of the Three Kingdoms. It has over a thousand characters and takes place over 110 years of China's history. I had zero trouble keeping the characters straight, but that's probably because I had played the Dynasty Warriors games extensively before reading the book.

It's also translated from Chinese, and it's half-historical record, half-fiction, which makes it very dry in some places. So it also qualifies as being badly written on a technical level...but I had no trouble reading it, because every event described was significant, and the book didn't waste time with purple prose about how the air felt or what the trees looked like or all the other crap Tolkien feels necessary to drone on about for paragraphs on end.

So again, I say, it wasn't because there were "so many" characters to keep track of in LOTR, it wasn't because the words were difficult to understand, it wasn't because I saw the movie first, it wasn't any of these things. Tolkien is just a bad writer, plain and simple, and the books are badly written. The movies are better than the books because no time is wasted on useless writing about stuff that doesn't matter, and the story is told more tightly.
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Postby Fish and Chips » Sun Jun 26, 2011 12:49 pm

Nate (post: 1487392) wrote:Nope! I tried reading the books long before a movie was even considered being made. I read The Hobbit when I was like 8 and I loved it. Then I tried reading Fellowship and couldn't stand it, it was so terrible. Then, later on, I looked at the books again (this was when I was in high school or so, so around 1996, 97) and tried reading them a second time. Again, could not make it through Fellowship for the life of me.

And then the movies came out and yes, I tried to read the books yet again...and failed. If I try three times to read a book and it is consistently terrible each time, I'm prepared to say that is not my fault as a reader, it is his fault as an author.
The Fellowship is really the worst-written book of the trilogy. If you had ever managed to survive past (that's past, not to) the Council of Elrond, the rest of it picks up a bit.

Tolkien hits his stride with the Two Towers, only to kinda sorta peter off sometime in Return of the King after the ring is destroyed.

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Postby ShiroiHikari » Sun Jun 26, 2011 1:45 pm

Yeah, I actually have read all of LOTR and I still think the movies are better overall.
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Postby Atria35 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 2:12 pm

I read the books, too, and I thought the movies were an excelent adaptation. And yeah, just a tad better than the books because of how Tolkien wanders about with his prose and goes on about unimportant stuff.
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Postby Agloval » Sun Jun 26, 2011 3:01 pm

Nate (post: 1487392) wrote:the movies tell the story better than the books do because they don't wander around aimlessly and aren't terribly written
The movies could 'tell the story' better than the books and still be inferior, because (I believe) a good book doesn't have to have a well-told story.

The Anglo-Norman Brut and the English Brut, The Morte Darthur, The Faerie Queene, Pamela, Omeros, The Rings of Saturn -- none of these tell a story well, and I think all of them are good. (And, with the possible exception of Pamela, much better than The Lord of the Rings and much better than the movie trilogy.) Digressions and the stammering can be a feature, not a bug.

The movies were never going to scratch that itch, because the moviemakers rightly wanted to make good movies, and that kind of pleasure doesn't work in a medium where you must consume big chunks in set times and at a set place. Cinemagoers would be displeased to learn, six hours into The Lord of the Rings: The Faithful Movie, that there is indeed yet 'another [expletive deleted] elf'. I don't think that invalidates the non-narrative pleasures of the original.

I enjoy the book more than the movie trilogy. To the extent that they can be compared, I'm not sure whether the films or the book are the best. But we'd certainly have to dump a lot of books previously thought good if a tendency to digress, pause, and put some readers off by talking about stuff that isn't the main story were automatically major faults. Talking badly about stuff that isn't the main story is a problem, but I think Tolkien manages okay.

Also, the Where Eagles Dare film is better than MacLean's book. For starters, the book has a distinct lack of Richard Burton.
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Postby Nate » Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:26 pm

Agloval wrote:The movies could 'tell the story' better than the books and still be inferior, because (I believe) a good book doesn't have to have a well-told story.

I agree with you in theory, and likewise, a movie doesn't have to have a well-told story either. You think Empire has a well-told story? It doesn't have a story at all, characters, or anything, and yet it is culturally significant and one of the most important movies ever made. If you're unfamiliar with it, Empire is a movie by Andy Warhol, which is simply 8 hours and 5 minutes of continuous slow-motion footage of the Empire State Building.

I never said a movie or a book had to tell a story. Neither one of them do. But, you cannot argue LOTR is not trying to tell a story. That's just nonsense. LOTR is absolutely trying to tell a story. And the movie tells the story better. If LOTR was a book that was not trying to tell a story, and then a movie came out that tried to make it tell a story, then your point would be valid. However, your point is not valid because again, LOTR was provably trying to tell a story, but it did so poorly. The movie told the story better, and is therefore superior to the book because of it, since it accomplished the same goal the book was trying to do but in a much better fashion.
Digressions and the stammering can be a feature, not a bug.

And yet, if the President tried to give a speech and went off on tangents and stammered and stuttered, he'd be considered a fool and a poor public speaker. If a student in debate class did the same thing, he'd get a failing grade. There are standards for what qualifies as good presentation...while of course there are presentations that will break those standards to make a point, you can't sit here and seriously argue Tolkien was trying to do something radically different with storytelling or deconstruct what makes a good novel. That's just ludicrous. He wrote poorly, plain and simple. He wasn't trying to change people's perceptions of how a story should be told or anything like that. If he had tried to do that, then he would be commendable. The reason I can tell he wasn't trying to change people's perceptions on what a novel should be is that Fish just now said Tolkien's writing gets better in Two Towers. If he was doing it purposely, it would have been consistent.
'another [expletive deleted] elf'.

This is the second time you've used that phrase, and I'm not sure why. It proves nothing and is merely a diversion away from the actual topic: namely, that Tolkien overuses purple prose and has no clue what pacing and good storytelling are. You seem to be making the assumption that anyone who thinks LOTR is boring hates elves or something.

That's ridiculous. Besides, your premise doesn't even make sense. If people were just tired of seeing elves, they'd hate the LOTR movies too! Thus, they wouldn't consider the movies better, they'd consider them just as bad because elves are everywhere in the movies too!

I like elves. I played Dungeons and Dragons. I even played as an elven character a few times! Elves are pretty great! I really enjoy elves. I have no idea why you think that anyone who dislikes Tolkien has something against elves or fantasy worlds in general, because that's just nonsense. I love fantasy worlds, fantasy worlds are some of my favorite. The point is, and remains, Tolkien wrote poorly. It has nothing to do with the setting, the elves, the language, or the plot. The problem is he wrote badly. That is it. There is no other problem with any of the LOTR books except that they were badly written.

And since I just said there was absolutely no other problem with the LOTR movies other than how it was written, that would be why the movie is better. It does everything the LOTR books did, and fixed the one problem the books had.

Also, did you hear the chilling and awesome voice of Christopher Lee when you read Saruman's lines in the LOTR books before the movies came out? Nope. But I bet you would now! Because Christopher Lee is awesome. Therefore, the movies are superior.
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Postby TopazRaven » Sun Jun 26, 2011 4:28 pm

Here is my list so far.

The Lovely Bones - The book was great, no doubt about that. It both disturbed and fascinated me at the same time when I read it in middle school. I still found the movie hundreds of times better. It held some sort of magic for me the book didn't. I found it easier to connect with the characters upon seeing it rather then reading about it and for some unexplainable reason is just touched my heart far more then the book did.

The Twilight Saga - How many of you are going to want to smack me for this? :lol: Haters gonna hate, but I DO like this series. The movies in least. I don't know why people rag so much on the movies when they are about 10x better then the books. My neighbor gave me all four books awhile ago. So far I have only read Twilight and New Moon. The writing style is SO terrible I wanted to smack my head against a wall. Not to mention I'm tired of Bella talking about how awesome and sparkly hot Edward is. Are Bella and Edward a little to obessesed with each other? Yes. Do I like sparkling vampires? No, I can't say I do, but I'm willing to skip over the flaws and just enjoy the story behind the movie. Besides, I love the werewolves! xD
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Postby rocklobster » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:13 pm

Oh don't sweat it Topaz. We love you in spite of your Twilight fangirl side.
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Postby TopazRaven » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:19 pm

Yay! It is nice to know I am still loved despite my apparant poor taste in books/movies. :lol:
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

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Postby Atria35 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:32 pm

Actually, I agree that the Twilight movies were better than the books.... but I still found them incredibly stupid. Although I think I do have a moment that I adore to pieces- the scene in the second movie where there's a vision of them frolicing in the woods, sparkling. I used that to torture the friend I went to see it with for days afterword- it was the scene she was drop-dead embarassed of, and I thought was so-bad-it's-great-to-make-fun-of.
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