Film Book

About a month ago I saw the trailer for Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children on IMDB. In fact, I saw it 3 times. The film comes out on September 28th (who knows if it will come out on time) and has a great cast that includes Samuel L. Jackson, Alison Janney, Dame Judi Dench, Rupert Everett and Terrance Stamp. It also has Asa Butterfield, who was very good in Hugo, as the main character of Jacob. The film is directed by Tim Burton, who has lost his touch in recent films. The only thing is I haven’t read the book yet.

I have a running argument with a friend of mine whether or not to read the book before seeing the film. My friend usually doesn’t want to read the book before seeing the film because it will ruin the experience of watching the movie. I understand in a way because movies are more expensive these days. On the other hand, if I see the movie before reading the book, I rarely get around to reading the book. The Reader, Little Children, and The Devil Wears Prada all stand on my bookcase unread.

Of course, when I read the book beforehand, I’m usually disappointed in the film. I think the film adaptation of Alice Seabold’s The Lovely Bones was more interested in creating Heaven through special effects that it lost the story about how a girl’s disappearance rips a family apart as well as Seabold’s unique vision of the Afterlife. I thought Sarah Green’s Water for Elephants was a fascinating look at circus life during the Depression. The movie was blah and Robert Pattinson and Reese Witherspoon had zero chemistry together. One of my favorite books is Richard Yates’ brilliant Revolutionary Road. Yates himself called the book “an indictment of American life in the 50’s ” and I totally agree. It’s about how one couple, Frank and April Wheeler try to rebel against the conformity of that era in suburban Connecticut and fail with tragic results. The performances by Leonardo Dicaprio and Kate Winslet were great but the film seemed to not have the biting quality of the novel.

I have, though, on rare occasions, purposely not read the book before the film. As much as I was curious about Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, I decided to not read the book before seeing the film. It is a thriller, after all, and as much as I wanted to know what the big twist in the book was, I wanted to experience what the film had to offer. I wasn’t disappointed. The film was great and I was stunned by Rosamund Pike’s brilliant performance. Ben Affleck was effective as the creepy husband who may or may have not killed his wife.

That now brings me to this year’s adaptation of The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins, coming out later this year. I really want to see the film because Emily Blunt is in it and she might get nominated for an Oscar for this role. The novel has been compared, rightly or not, to Gone Girl. I know the movie changes locale from London to New York, which upsets me and I haven’t read the book yet. Of course, I can’t find a copy in the library, so everyone must be trying to read it before the film comes out.

There are other book adaptations coming out this year of Ben Hur and The Jungle Book. There will be a version of Roald Dahl’s The BFG, and the trailer looks great. The other adaptation I’m looking for is Billy Flynn’s Long Halftime Walk by Ben Fountain. I have heard so many great things about the book, which is a satirical look at a Gulf War soldier’s appearance at a football game. It’s directed by Ang Lee, one of my favorite directors. But I just finished Underworld by Don De Lillo and right now I don’t want to read a novel with big themes. We will see if I get to it before the film.

What are your thoughts? Do you always read the book before the film or is it not a big issue? Let me know.