Movies that were better than the book

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Postby mechana2015 » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:33 pm

TopazRaven (post: 1487412) wrote:My neighbor gave me all four books awhile ago. So far I have onlye rad Twilight and New Moon.


: / so you don't know what happens in the last book (and therefore the last 2 movies)? This should be... interesting.
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Postby Radical Dreamer » Sun Jun 26, 2011 5:43 pm

Nate (post: 1487411) wrote: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.


Why are you comparing high fantasy to a presidential speech? XD Yeah, a digression to describe the terrain of America would be totally out of place in a presidential speech because it has no purpose there. Tolkien isn't the President. He's a fantasy author trying to introduce the reader to an entirely different world. It's not at all out of place, and just because he has lots of descriptive prose and extra poetry in his work doesn't make him a bad writer. I honestly can't understand the Tolkien hate in this thread. XD I understand people not preferring a style that includes a lot of descriptors, but just because there happens to be a lot of that in Tolkien's work doesn't make him a bad writer. It just means you don't prefer a style that has a lot of description in it.

And I don't understand the comparisons to Andy Warhol at all. Tolkien wasn't trying to change the face of fantasy writing, he was just trying to tell a good story (and I believe he succeeded). You don't have to redefine what writing is to write a good book. And just because some people don't love the way Tolkien chose to wrote doesn't mean he wasn't a good writer. I just don't even understand. XD
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Postby TopazRaven » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:01 pm

mechana2015 (post: 1487429) wrote:: / so you don't know what happens in the last book (and therefore the last 2 movies)? This should be... interesting.

Not quite...I had a friend fill me in on most of the major points and to put it simply the last book sounds really creepy, but I'm not going to make any further assumptions without actually reading it or seeing the movie myself. :lol:
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Postby Warrior 4 Jesus » Sun Jun 26, 2011 6:46 pm

Tolkien was an excellent linguist and world-builder but he was not a good writer. For one, I love his characters and creations but his writing style is so incredibly dry and boring.

Another one - Picnic at Hanging Rock. The book is more detailed than the movie but poorly-written. Also, the story is set in the turn of the century, 1900, but the characters talk much like they would in a 1960's interpretation of those times (but the books was written in that period). Still, the movie is far superior to the book.

The Harry Potter movies haven't been as good as the books, although I've enjoyed some additions in movie 5 that weren't in the book. Movie 4 was a mess, movie 6 was worse. I think the books were better edited when Rowling wasn't such a big-wig and her editor(s) did their job more carefully. As the books became more complex (and in my mind, more interesting - Books 4, 5, 6, 7) the editors slacked off and didn't do as careful a job as before.
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Postby Edward » Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:07 pm

Radical Dreamer (post: 1487432) wrote:Why are you comparing high fantasy to a presidential speech? XD Yeah, a digression to describe the terrain of America would be totally out of place in a presidential speech because it has no purpose there. Tolkien isn't the President. He's a fantasy author trying to introduce the reader to an entirely different world. It's not at all out of place, and just because he has lots of descriptive prose and extra poetry in his work doesn't make him a bad writer. I honestly can't understand the Tolkien hate in this thread. XD I understand people not preferring a style that includes a lot of descriptors, but just because there happens to be a lot of that in Tolkien's work doesn't make him a bad writer. It just means you don't prefer a style that has a lot of description in it.

And I don't understand the comparisons to Andy Warhol at all. Tolkien wasn't trying to change the face of fantasy writing, he was just trying to tell a good story (and I believe he succeeded). You don't have to redefine what writing is to write a good book. And just because some people don't love the way Tolkien chose to wrote doesn't mean he wasn't a good writer. I just don't even understand. XD


This. I also believe that Tolkien's 'ramblings' are a good thing. The book wouldn't be nearly as great if Tolkien had left out the desriptions and world-building. That sort of thing is very boring for a movie series, however, and that is why it was left out. Not because it was 'bad' but because no one wants to see a movie where a narrator spends two hours desribing everything that the moviegoer can allready see. I personally enjoy books filled to the brim with worldbuilding. The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson got a lot of one stars on Amazon because of excessive world building, but that is precisely what I loved most about it. Yes it favors character development over having an actual plot of its own but I still think it was well written, and I loved every word of it.

And like Agloval said, just because something is poorly written or doesn't tell a story well, does not mean that is bad and should be ignored. Dracula is not very well written, but it is still a classic of gothic fiction. Which is not to say that Bram Stoker is a bad writer. The short stories I have read in Dracula's Guest were well written, and most were quite frightening. Another classic that is not necessarily well written is The Castle of Otranto, which was written in 1764. Yes it uses archaic language but it is still a classic and it too is a great novel.

I honestly can't understand the Tolkien hate in this thread.

(re-posted for emphasis)
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Postby Sheenar » Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:10 pm

Radical Dreamer (post: 1487432) wrote:Why are you comparing high fantasy to a presidential speech? XD Yeah, a digression to describe the terrain of America would be totally out of place in a presidential speech because it has no purpose there. Tolkien isn't the President. He's a fantasy author trying to introduce the reader to an entirely different world. It's not at all out of place, and just because he has lots of descriptive prose and extra poetry in his work doesn't make him a bad writer. I honestly can't understand the Tolkien hate in this thread. XD I understand people not preferring a style that includes a lot of descriptors, but just because there happens to be a lot of that in Tolkien's work doesn't make him a bad writer. It just means you don't prefer a style that has a lot of description in it.

And I don't understand the comparisons to Andy Warhol at all. Tolkien wasn't trying to change the face of fantasy writing, he was just trying to tell a good story (and I believe he succeeded). You don't have to redefine what writing is to write a good book. And just because some people don't love the way Tolkien chose to wrote doesn't mean he wasn't a good writer. I just don't even understand. XD



This sums up my thoughts to a T. I am also a fan of Charles Dickens and am sad that so many people dislike his works so much.
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Postby Warrior 4 Jesus » Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:17 pm

Edward, Dracula isn't poorly-written. Why do you think this to be the case? It's not the greatest of the great but it's not on the level of Twilight or anything.
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Postby Nate » Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:21 pm

Radical Dreamer wrote:And I don't understand the comparisons to Andy Warhol at all. Tolkien wasn't trying to change the face of fantasy writing, he was just trying to tell a good story (and I believe he succeeded).

I brought in the Andy Warhol comparison because of the statement that "Books are automatically better than movies because they don't have to tell a story!" I brought up Andy Warhol to prove that movies don't have to tell a story either, and thus, the statement was wrong and meaningless.

And I believe Tolkien created a good story too! LOTR has a great story! He just told it poorly. That's why the movies, which do not utilize Tolkien's writing, are better than the book.

If Porky Pig read Les Miserables, it would be annoying and terrible. But that doesn't make Les Miserables a bad story, it just means it's being told by a bad storyteller.

I don't know why people are thinking I'm saying that the LOTR books have a bad story, or that there's something wrong with the events of the book. The books have great and cool events, and the story is awesome! It's just told badly. I hope my Porky Pig example clears this up!
And just because some people don't love the way Tolkien chose to wrote doesn't mean he wasn't a good writer.

And just because some people DO love the way Tolkien chose to write doesn't mean he wasn't a bad writer. I think people just enjoy the story and overlook the poor quality of the writing. The story is great! And if you enjoy the story, you're probably going to be able to forgive the awful writing. I can't, though.

It's kinda like how Dragon Quest 7 looks awful in comparison to Final Fantasy 7. But I'm able to look past the shoddy graphics because I like the story and gameplay. Some people can't look past the graphics though. But just because I enjoy the game doesn't make the graphics good, because they are obviously bad. But I can look past them and see it for more than just the graphics.
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Postby Edward » Sun Jun 26, 2011 7:23 pm

@ Warrior 4 Jesus
It's been a while since I've read it, but I thought it was kind of boring, at least in parts. Maybe if I read it again, I would like it more. Like I said, I thought the short stories in Dracula's Guest were well written and scary, so it's not like Stoker was a bad writer or anything, and I would love to read some of his other stuff. I just don't recall it as being particularly exciting (except at the end) or scary, and once again kind of boring. Maybe it was just the epistolary style that I didn't like, just how some people don't like Tolkien's writing, but that doesn't make it bad.
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Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:07 pm

You're absolutely ridiculous, Nate. Just because it's not preferential to your reading style doesn't mean that he's has a bad style of writing. Opinions are -- and never are -- objective facts.

That and a speech isn't anything like a book. Presidential speeches, for one thing, are not meant to be stories.
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Postby Fish and Chips » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:49 pm

Mr. SmartyPants (post: 1487472) wrote:Opinions are -- and never are -- objective facts.
I agree!
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Postby Mr. SmartyPants » Sun Jun 26, 2011 9:59 pm

Hah. Typo. My bad.
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Postby Scarecrow » Mon Jun 27, 2011 3:48 am

Radical Dreamer (post: 1487390) wrote: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


I'll be honest, I think most of my dislike for RotK movie was the hype surrounding it and hearing how amazing it was before I saw it and then it not meeting my expectations. They were probably unrealistic expectations but anyway. So that probably helped magnify the changes from the book and stuff since I was looking at it with a critical eye to begin with. So maybe TT was the most unlike but RotK bugged me the most.

Anyway, I liked Tolkien's style of writing. It's very old fashioned and long winded at times but I thought that was part of the charm. His style reminds me of like an old man sitting next to the fire telling a story. Expanding on stuff he doesn't need to but trying to paint a better picture for everyone gathered round and kind of relishes in the moment. Do we need to know the texture, taste, smell, warmth, feel etc etc of the apple pie? No... but he'll spend a whole two paragraphs describing it anyway and I don't know, I like that old fashioned story telling. No one here has probably seen Jim Henson's The Storyteller but that's how I always pictured Tolkien telling his tales. Lol :P And I like it. xD
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Postby Warrior 4 Jesus » Mon Jun 27, 2011 5:17 am

Personally, I prefer C.S. Lewis' method of storytelling. He's still very much the old man sitting by the fireplace telling his story but he has uses an economy of words. He uses several choice descriptive words and they conjure up great things in the imagination of the reader. Now THAT is magic.
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Postby Edward » Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:32 am

Scarecrow (post: 1487517) wrote:Anyway, I liked Tolkien's style of writing. It's very old fashioned and long winded at times but I thought that was part of the charm. His style reminds me of like an old man sitting next to the fire telling a story. Expanding on stuff he doesn't need to but trying to paint a better picture for everyone gathered round and kind of relishes in the moment. Do we need to know the texture, taste, smell, warmth, feel etc etc of the apple pie? No... but he'll spend a whole two paragraphs describing it anyway and I don't know, I like that old fashioned story telling. No one here has probably seen Jim Henson's The Storyteller but that's how I always pictured Tolkien telling his tales. Lol :P And I like it. xD


That's how I've always pictured it too, and it's also why I would love to get a LOTR audio book, even though I normally can't stand them. It really helps to immerse myself in the book when I imagine Tolkien sitting by the fireplace, telling his story to everyone while we sip on our tea or hot chocolate. XD
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Postby Fish and Chips » Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:36 am

The thing about Tolkien is he was very much in love with languages. There is some thought, actually, as to whether or not everything he wrote (excepting The Hobbit) was simply background detail in service to the languages he invented; it's possible he saw himself more a historian than a storyteller.

Tolkien's Middle-Earth is a caringly constructed, richly detailed monument to a world that never was, but perhaps might have been, could have been, should have been. It is here that Tolkien's talents shine, a world born of music played by divine instruments, ruined by the thoughtless ambition of one of its most celebrated players; where elves were wise but distant, and men foolish, but brave; where there be dragons.

There can be no question that Tolkien's novels contain the better story, the better world, the better mythos, ethos.

But the better storytelling, the pathos, well now, can't all bat a thousand.

Tolkien was a man who saw the forest for the trees. His writing is filled with small details and little things to catch, the intricacies of the world in his pocket; you build something nice, you want to show it off a little. However, of all his writing, the Fellowship is the most front-loaded for it, thick and plodding like the hobbits it describes. Tolkien isn't a bad writer; however, he is easily trapped within the romance of his own creation, so entranced by the beauty of his maps he forgets to include navigational directions for the rest of us. In this regard, really, Peter Jackson's film are superior; painting Tolkien's planet richly and lovingly, with minimal exposition or time commitment on the audience's part, i.e. "Showing, not telling."

As closing comparison, another novelslashfilm mentioned in this thread, the Prestige's Borden and Angier. Borden was the superior magician; but Angier, the superior showman.[spoiler]Also, Tolkien may or may not have kept several dozens copies of himself pickled in tanks underground.[/spoiler]
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Postby Nami » Mon Jun 27, 2011 6:50 am

I see quite a lot of LOTR discussion, XD Personally, I like the books and the movies equally~ ^_^

ShiroiHikari (post: 1487364) wrote: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. .


Agreed! 100% I can't get past how Austin drones on and on and on and on about things that have no real point and couldn't possibly do anything except make your mind melt into a puddle of goop. I personally loved the movie. ^_^

GeneD (post: 1487371) wrote: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.


GENE! You are my hero~ :D My sister tried to get me to read the books, and to my credit, I REALLY DID TRY! But she told me the ending of the book and I was somewhat annoyed. Therefore, I like the movie better. XD
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Postby Htom Sirveaux » Mon Jun 27, 2011 7:48 am

Eragon. It takes less time to watch the movie than it does to read the book.
To make it even easier, I recommend falling asleep. That way you can wake up when it's over, whereas, if you fall asleep while reading the book, you've still got the rest of the book when you wake up.
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Postby Cognitive Gear » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:37 am

The correct answer to this thread is:

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Anything made by this man that was based on a book.
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Postby bigsleepj » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:52 am

Cognitive Gear (post: 1487566) wrote:Anything made by this man that was based on a book.


Much to the chagrin of most of them. :)
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Postby TWWK » Mon Jun 27, 2011 11:52 am

I thought the first Harry Potter movie was much better than the book - J.K. Rowling was definitely less refined and I found the movie irresistibly charming (even though I wanted to dislike it) and while it's certainly not the best in the series, its my favorite film of them all.

Clear and Present Danger was a better movie than book. I enjoy Tom Clancey and that book particularly, but it worked better moving quickly without so much exposition about every single character (Clarke's character the exception).

Jurassic Park: The Lost World was a terrible movie. The book was a commercial cash-in, and was even worse. Easily the worst Crichton novel I've ever read.

And though I've never read it, I thought I mention The Godfather, since it's the classic example of a movie that's considered better than the book.
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Postby Nate » Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:38 pm

Cognitive Gear wrote:Anything made by this man that was based on a book.

I want to disagree but I haven't seen the movie version of Lolita, so I can't say if it was better than the book or not, but I'm inclined to disagree on principal because Lolita uses (to a small degree) an unreliable narrator which would be pretty difficult to translate to film.
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Postby ShiroiHikari » Mon Jun 27, 2011 1:48 pm

I haven't read A Clockwork Orange so I can't say if the movie is better or not. I have read The Shining, though, and I'm not sure if the film is really better or just...different. I find new things to appreciate about it every time I see it, though, and it's been a pretty long time since I read the book.
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Postby Atria35 » Mon Jun 27, 2011 2:07 pm

ShiroiHikari (post: 1487602) wrote:I haven't read A Clockwork Orange so I can't say if the movie is better or not. I have read The Shining, though, and I'm not sure if the film is really better or just...different. I find new things to appreciate about it every time I see it, though, and it's been a pretty long time since I read the book.


Having seen the movie and read the book multiple times, they're different enough that I feel it's like comparing apples and oranges. I honestly love them both in their own ways.
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Postby Maledicte » Mon Jun 27, 2011 8:03 pm

I've only read some of Jaws, and while Peter Benchley's prose is good but standard, the movie cut out the unneeded romantic subplot whilst adding great actors, and instantly memorable soundtrack, and making the summer blockbuster movie a fixture in American culture. Also I just love the movie, period.
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Postby ShiroiHikari » Mon Jun 27, 2011 9:39 pm

Jaws is an awesome movie. I haven't read the book though.
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Postby Kaligraphic » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:36 pm

Exodus. The movie version, with Charlton Heston, was much better. :)
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Postby Agloval » Tue Jun 28, 2011 11:23 am

Nate (post: 1487411) wrote:LOTR is absolutely trying to tell a story. [...] 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.
I agree with you that it is trying to tell a story, and that it does so pretty poorly. I just don't think telling a story is the book's only or primary goal, and picking storytelling as the only criterion by which to judge books, even those which don't primarily set out to tell their stories well, is a bad idea, and ultimately means we have to jettison a lot of the canon. Hence the examples I gave of other works, all but one of which try to tell a story or some connected stories but are really more concerned with other goals.

Nate (post: 1487411) wrote: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.
Digressions can be a good thing in some genres, and stammering (which is only your own metaphor) can be a good thing in at least one: comedy. But it was probably my mistake to try to run with that image.

Nate (post: 1487411) wrote:good novel
The novel is a specific genre which, as far as the West is concerned, took off in the eighteenth century. The genre's popularity means we conflate long fictional prose books with novels, I've seen plenty of reviewers call The Lord of the Rings a novel, and I'm sure it has some novelistic features, but I'm not sure it really wants to be a novel (or trilogy of novels). I'd say it's more often imitating things like Malory or the Bruts, which I mentioned. It describes itself -- the book the hobbits write describing what happened, which The Lord of the Rings pretends to be -- as a something like a premodern history or chronicle-story, not as a novel.

Nate (post: 1487411) wrote: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.
I'm sorry. I meant the phrase to be a shorthand for the reaction of people who don't enjoy Tolkien's proliferation of details and digressions (about landscapes, about birthday parties, about languages, about customs, about characters or about bits of history which have little or nothing to do with any present matters, and so on).

Whoever originally said those words, if the story is true, must have disliked elves, but I was really focusing on the word 'another'. If someone demands good novelistic storytelling from a book which is neither primarily a novel nor primarily trying to tell a story well, it's quite understandable that they will eventually ask why there must be 'another [insert irritating element]'. I was joking that a slavishly faithful Lord of the Rings movie would draw just the same response as Tolkien reading sections of his work (supposedly) did.

I certainly agree with you that Christopher Lee is awesome. However, I've seen the extended editions of all three films several times, but I don't think I hear Lee's voice when I read Saruman's lines in the books. Though I imagine there's probably some cross-fertilisation. Inasmuch as I hear characters' voices at all when reading, the textual Saruman seems to me to have a quieter and higher voice.

Nate (post: 1487456) wrote:"Books are automatically better than movies because they don't have to tell a story!"
This is absolutely not what I am arguing. I'm not sure there's any point to even asking 'Which is better, books or movies?' I refer you back to the opening paragraph of this post: I just think it's okay for a book to have as its main goal something other than 'tell my story well'. I'm sure you don't believe we must judge all books which contain stories on storytelling, even if they were written to give pleasure in some other way, or even written more to instruct than to give pleasure (plenty of stories are explicitly didactic, after all) -- but that seems to me to be the implication of your argument.

The Lord of the Rings may still be a bad book (or set of books) on the goals it does set itself. But that is not the case you've presented.

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I hadn't heard of Empire. It sounds like something that is completely not my cup of tea. I couldn't possibly begin to judge what it's trying to do and whether it's successful, so it's nice that the American Library of Congress is around to do that for me.
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Postby DangoDaikazoku » Tue Jun 28, 2011 12:52 pm

I am going to add Jumanji to the list. I would have to say I like the movie a lot more, seeing as the original book is, like, twelve pages long. Jumanji was seriously a picture book for children. There was no time traveling, scare factor, or character development. The book was about an interesting game, the movie was about the lives effected by the game. But, I can't bash too hard on a book made for six-year-olds, can I.
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Postby MomentOfInertia » Tue Jun 28, 2011 4:18 pm

The Bourne series. the movies are tightly written and never seem to stop moving.

The books, well I couldn't finish the first one... it was boring, even when it something was happening it was boring. Kind of a shame really, there are more books thatn there are movies in the series. Maybe I'll give it another go someday...


On the LOTR controversy:

The books are not just telling the story they are trying to paint a picture of the world in the reader's mind and I think they do a good job of it. The movies on the other hand, paint this picture simply by being movies and can concentrate all of their time on telling the story.

The books tell you more about Middle Earth, as opposed to the movies only showing you what they need to. It's a matter of preference, I think they both did a great job of telling the story in different ways.

I'm not going to rate one better than the other at this point (it's been awhile since I've seen/read either of them) but I will say that the movies sit on a much shorter list of my favorites than the books; this is more because of the movies being unusual productions released only a few years ago, whereas the books are but one series in the legions of the 'Epic Fantasy' genre and sixty years old to boot.

Just my $0.02.
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