I’ve spent a good portion of my life with my nose buried in books. Reading has always interested me, having a hyperactive imagination makes it more enjoyable for me than most others. Looking back there have been different books I’ve read that have been given the Hollywood treatment. Sometimes this can be a good thing, other times it can be a horrible thing, as with any movie. Readers tend to be very passionate about their stories though, making the risk of taking on a popular story that much more difficult. When I think of this I think of my favorite and least favorite film adaptations of books, oddly enough they are each in their position for the exact same reason.
My favorite movie based on a book would be Forrest Gump. I know there are people who will disagree, but I found the book version to be a bit much and really couldn’t get myself as interested in the story as I do with the film version. Maybe it’s because Tom Hanks is such an amazing actor, maybe it’s that the story is so outlandish (hard to believe it could be more than the film version, but it is), or maybe I just didn’t get it, the movie is just better in my eyes. This is a movie that I could see it on any channel, at any point into the film, and I’ll stop and watch through the end because the characters connect and keep my attention. The book, on the other hand, I could honestly take it or leave it, it’s not something I’ll pick up off the shelf and read over and over again because of the amazing writing within. This is a case of a movie that is far better than the book, because it differs so greatly from the source material.
The opposite side of the coin for me would be the film version of Stephen King’s IT. I wouldn’t say this is a bad movie, as I actually do enjoy watching the movie and Tim Curry worked very well in the role of Pennywise. The biggest complaint I have is that the movie was done for television, so it couldn’t be anywhere near as graphic as the book version. This book is something I’ve read a few times and enjoy start to finish each time, it’s dark, disturbing, and it burns a place in your mind. The movie, while good, just isn’t quite up to the same level as the written material. The one positive I’ve seen lately is that they’re making a new film version of IT for theaters, which will be much closer to the book. I’m dying to see this, as it’s one of my favorite books of all time. Again, by no means would I call the original movie bad, it was just more subdued than I would have preferred when compared to the original material.
It’s strange to say, but my favorite and least favorite movie versions of books I’ve read are in those positions for the exact same reason. While Forrest Gump being altered from the book form was a great idea and made for a captivating film, the watering down of IT made it fall to the bottom of my list. I enjoy both movies, but in the back of my mind, every single time I watch IT I think about how much better the movie could have been versus what was written if they had done it for the big screen. I look forward to revising this once the new version of IT hits theaters. Until that time the list will remain the same.