Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Books and movies

On Friday night we went to see Invictus – the film about Nelson Mandela and the Rugby World Cup of 1995 (more of which in later posts).  I had just finished reading the book, originally published with the title “Playing the enemy” – I was determined to finish it before I saw the film.  However, this tempered my enjoyment of it.

I was constantly comparing and contrasting the two versions, which certainly took away from the overall experience.  Helen really enjoyed the film; I thought it was good.

Ironically I felt that John Carlin, the author of the book, overplayed the saintliness of Mandela and the power of his smile; for me, the film underplayed the sense of presence that Mandela apparently has.

How do you resolve the book/movie dilemma?  Does it even affect you, or am I just being a bit anal?


That Hideous Man said...

Not sure it can be resolved - my kids were really cross when they came out of the cinema after seeing Fantastic Mr Fox! In that case the film is SO different from the book (in plot, characters and atmosphere) that they should probably have used a different title for it.

Tess said...

I agree, I think this is a really difficult one. On a more prosaic note than Invictus, which I haven't yet seen, I mourned the way the richness of the Harry Potter books was lost in favour of special effects on the big screen. I think generally films made straight from screenplays specifically for film are better. A book/film conversion that I loved though was Chocolat - masterful and neither film nor book spoiled my enjoyment of the other.

Les (Endlessly Restless) said...

Oh well - thanks for your help! I suspect that I have three options - grin and bear it OR wait until I've forgotten the details from the book (getting shorter all the time) OR don't watch movies if I've read the book!

lucy said...

for me, it's all in the timing. i most often prefer reading the book first so i can imagine the characters and scenes in my own imagination... then i need to wait a few months so i can forget a bit of the vividness and then watch the movie. i learned this the hard way in grade 8 when i diligently read all 800+ pages of "gone with the wind" and then went to see the movie. i HATED it while all of my classmates loved it. it was a hard lesson to learn as an adolescent, but one i've never forgotten :-)
'tis a dilemma indeed!! i will look forward to seeing "invictus" and forego reading the book until a little later.