#12: Don’t compare the movie to the book

13 Jan

I saw Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close yesterday, and I’ll admit that the only thing stopping me from comparing the movie to the book was that I read the book almost 6 years ago and didn’t remember the details.  But it was nice, not being able to pick apart what was in the movie and say, “Well, that didn’t happen that way in the book.  The book is obviously superior.”  Why is the book always superior?

Sure, it could be that written words have the ability to convey more in a smaller package.  It could be that you read the book first.  It could also be that any time you try to imitate something, a new version can’t possibly live up to it.  It only makes sense.  So then why do we still insist upon comparing them?

Why do we have to focus on every single detail that isn’t exactly as it was somewhere else?  Why do we feel the need to comment upon how the book moved us so much more, and how the movie was cheapening the emotions by displaying them right in our faces?  Why do we expect to come out of the theater saying, “Yes!  This movie was just how I remember the book to be, and therefore it’s worthy of my praise!”?

Can’t we just accept the movie for what it is, something new and individual on its own?  Just because we once read something that stayed with us longer, something that we thought about after closing the book, something that we remembered when we were lying in bed at night, that doesn’t mean the movie is necessarily worse.  It’s different.  It has to be different.  But it doesn’t have to be inferior merely because you think you don’t feel the same connection right from the start.

The only thing that matters is whether you would see it again.  Would I see the movie again?  I may not particularly want to–I may not need to.  But I would.  So wouldn’t you call that a success?

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Posted by on January 13, 2012 in Books, Movies


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