Reading the novels after seeing the films
I have rather recently come to the decision that I will not longer make a point of reading novels before their films are released. In fact, I will go out of my way to avoid the book until after I have seen the film. I know, it’s a crazy notion. I should want to familiarize myself with the original work before seeing it vandalized by the film industry, but I just can’t do it anymore. If I read the book first, I am always overly critical of the film. It doesn’t matter how they tried to capture the spirit of the book and do so well, all I can see is what’s been changed. Or worse, the things they change without apparent reason. I understand that when you are trying to translate a 500 pages novel into a two hour (maximum) film, some things are going to have to be cut, but sometimes they remove the best things or change things that would were better before. The best example are last years catastrophes: Beautiful Creatures and The Mortal Instruments: City Of Bones.
With Beautiful Creatures, I read the book about month before the films release, forcing my husband to read it before the premiere as well, and I wish I hadn’t. Why, oh why, did they merge Amma and Marian into a single character? I can see that it saves time because they don’t to jump between the two characters and it saves money because they don’t have to pay an additional actress, but I felt like it was the wrong move. And, upon first viewing, I couldn’t escape that damn southern accent. I live in the south and it made me want to crawl under my chair. The fact that Ethan had an accent drove me up the damn wall. I specifically remember it being mentioned in the novels that he did NOT have an accent because he’s parents had a swear jar dedicated to dropping your g’s and other southern speaking alterations. Maybe I remember wrong, but it drove me fucking nuts.
I don’t even know where to begin with City Of Bones. Did they even read the books? And the spoilers they gave for the rest of the series like Clary being able to create runes and the fact that they really aren’t siblings. And holy hell Valentine’s hair! What’s with the braids?!?!? And he was batshit crazy! In the books, he’s nuts, but charismatic and charming enough to make people want to follow him. It started out well enough and then deviated so far that I don’t even know if the possible sequel will follow the plot of the second novel at all. The portal fucking exploded. What the hell are they gonna do with that? How is that possibly going to tie back into the original storyline?
And don’t even get me started on the Harry Potter films or Beastly or Water For Elephants or The Princess Diaries. My point is that I can’t really enjoy the movie for what it is if I’ve read the book. At least the first two viewings are spent analyzing and bitching about what they changed, even if, by some miracle, the change really is for the better. After that, I might be able to come to enjoy and even love the film, but it’s a long process. Every now and then they get it perfect, like Perks Of Being A Wallflower, but it’s extremely rare.
I’ve notice if I do it the opposite way, I can enjoy both the novel and the film without the unnecessary angst. This was a revelation that has mostly come by mistake. There are movies that I watch and love and then later find out that they were based on a novel, such as Stardust or Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist or Blood & Chocolate or Howl’s Moving Castle, so I rush out to buy their written counterpart and end up loving them too. But I can’t be angry about the changes because I probably love some of the things they have altered. I already love the film as it is, enough to search out the original text. This way, I can honestly take the film at face value, loving it or hating it independently of the book. I know for a fact that if I had read Stardust or Howl’s Moving Castle before watching their respective films, I would have abhorred the movies. And that’s sad because Stardust is hands down one of my favorite films of all times.
So, in keeping with this new theory, I made no effort to read the Vampire Academy novel before seeing the film. I don’t know when I’ll get around to it but I can tell you this, I am so terribly excited about it. I loved (LOVED) the film on it’s own. Without bias for where the story was supposed to go or how the characters were supposed to look or act, I loved it. I love Rose, she’s so epic and awesome. Before seeing the film, I had the books but was never motivated to give them a boost to the top of my TBR pile. I am now. It is taking a considerable amount of will power to keep myself reading the stuff I’m supposed to be over picking those up and devouring them. And really, isn’t that what the author hopes when they make a film? That the movie will encourage readers to pickup their novel?
Do you always read the books first or do you wait? Do you agree with my nutso notion to wait so you can enjoy both? Let me know in the comments!