As a rule, books are better than the movies they are adapted into. There’s more detail in books. More time to develop plots and characters. And they’re just all-around a better experience. There a few rare examples of movies that turned out better than the books that precede them. It’s not the norm but it does happen. Here’s a list of books (a short list, mind you) that, if necessary to decide whether to read the book or watch the movie, you’ll probably want to go with the movie:
Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion
This story follows a zombie around. This zombie eats the brain of a boy who was in love with a human girl. Zombie boy then falls in love with the human girl. In the movie everything was so cute. How do you take that premise and make it sweet and fun? The movie did it. The book? Not so much. The book got all weird and creepy, much like your run-of-the-mill zombie book. The movie was endearing even with all the people-eating going on.
About a Boy by Nick Hornby
This story is so sweet but it deals with some serious issues; depression, suicidal tendencies, etc. It’s dealt with in such a lovely, endearing way, though, that reading about it or watching it is not painful. The book and the movie are almost exactly the same until about three-quarters of the way through. Then I like the movie a whole lot better. The end just feels better in the movie, you know? In the book it sort of waffles about and drags on. The movie handled it in a nicer way. That’s all.
Julie & Julia by Julie Powell
Did you know this book was a blog? I don’t necessarily have a problem with blogs, clearly. But I find it hard to read a blog in book form; I need continuity and plot and character interest to keep going with a book. Blogs in book form don’t do that for me. The movie, however, was adorable. Amy Adams was just so cute and fun and the way the story was adapted into a screenplay was so well done I almost didn’t recognize the blog in it (except that the blog is featured quite a bit in the movie. But, in a good way). If you are interested in cooking like Julia Child then, by all means, read the blog book. But if you’re looking for a cute story watch the movie.
World War Z by Max Brooks
You know how just a second ago I ragged on blogs to books? Well, this was not a blog. But, with the way it was written, it could have been. The book is a series of interviews conducted by one man. There was a possibility of having some kind of continuity with the man doing the interviews, but it didn’t happen. I felt no sense of continual plotline at all. Each person’s story was interesting by itself but once I finished that little story I felt no need to continue onto the next one. It was disjointed. I need a continuous story. The movie, however, was a continuous story; Way more my style. But the movie was also a whole lot scarier. So you could either read the book and be a bit bored by changing characters and viewpoints or watch the movie and be really, really scared. Or maybe not either, if you’re not a zombie kind of person.