Tuesday, July 28, 2015

First Time: Watching the Movie Before Reading the Book.

This past Friday I watched the movie PAPER TOWNS, based on the novel by John Green. I vacillated over whether or not to see the movie because I hadn't finished reading the book. In my experience, the book experience is always richer than the movie experience. And I always, always read a book first prior to watching its movie adaptation.

But with PAPER TOWNS I did things different. I had started the audio book the middle of last week. The narrative voice hooked me as the did the hi-jinks of the female lead character, Margo Roth Spiegelman. While I was compelled by the narrative voice  and the narrator of the audio book, I was a bit disappointed because it seemed the main character, Quentin or "Q," wasn't the one moving the story forward, it was Margo. And then I thought about if maybe Margo was really the main character of the story? Granted, I had only made it through the second audio disc and these were only thoughts and musings going through my head. I was enjoying the book, but I wasn't completely hooked by CD 2.

So I decided to watch the movie, and I LOVED it.

You know how movies have to trim out scenes from the book in order to keep the film at a reasonable length? And often I poo poo the choice of which scenes were trimmed. I mean, I would have sat though a four hour long Harry Potter movie, wouldn't you? But, back to PAPER TOWNS--I feel like every scene that was combined into another or cut was done to benefit story pacing. In addition, the beginning of the movie made it quite clear who it was that was moving the story forward, and it was Quentin--the main character, not Margo Roth Spiegelman, the mysterious girl next door.

I don't know if I'm going to make watching movies before reading the books a habit. But, in this situation it wasn't a bad decision. I'm still finishing up the audio book, and despite knowing the ending, I'm thoroughly enjoying the story. Well, done John Green. Well done.

3 comments:

  1. I think books can get away with things like that. They can work on perspective and delve deeper internally. Movies are all external with internal only implied. I think The Great Gatsby always had trouble becoming a film because the main character was not the one driving the story. I think Laz did an excellent recent adaptation of it that worked because of style rather than actual good movie structure.

    When you finish the book you'll have to let us know if the book felt completely different from the movie.

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  2. I'm getting farther along in the audio book and I'm seeing that the movie's plot is far more different than I thought. So yeah, the book is feeling completely different than the movie. But I'm still enjoying it!

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