Tag Archives: Jurassic Park

Entering the Strange World of Movie Novelisations

There are a lot of movies based on books.  For some, I’ve read both the novel and the movie.  That’s always an interesting thing to do, seeing how they’re different.

Lord of the Rings comes to mind when I think of movies made from books.  They did a pretty good job, I thought.  There were some things cut out, but overall, it was one of the better adaptations I’ve sen.  Another is Harry Potter.  I think it was reasonably well-done, although some of the things that were cut I felt were essential to understanding the whole story.  The movies didn’t have as much heart as the books.  Jurassic Park is on the other end of the spectrum.  The movie held little resemblance to the book.  The book was smartly written, had several subplots, and was absolutely fascinating.  The movie focused more on the dinosaurs and action, rather than the story.  It was a fun movie, but I was disappointed in the story.

A unique one is 2001: A Space Odyssey.  The novel and movie were written at the same time.  Arthur C. Clarke and Stanley Kubrick worked together, making sure the novel and movie followed each other closely.  However, the movie was changed to go to Jupiter, while the book went to Saturn.  I believe this had to do with special effects.  Late 1960s special effects weren’t good enough to show the rings of Saturn.  Subsequent books ignored the fact that the first one went to Saturn, and instead focused on Jupiter.  I loved both the novel and movie, though.  Usually, I find that novels feel much longer than movies, but in this case, the movie felt slow, while the novel moved at a quick pace.

startreknemesisAnd then there’s the topic I want to talk about, movie novelisations.  I’d never read one before.  Until now, that is.  I’m currently reading Star Trek Nemesis, the final movie featuring the Next Generation cast.  The movie didn’t go over well with people, and as I’ve watched it, I wasn’t enthusiastic about the book.  Well, the novel is very easy to read, follows the movie very closely, and is incredibly short.  But I have this very strange uneasy feeling while reading it.  I’m inside the heads of the characters.  I know what they’re thinking and feeling.  And that’s everyone, because we’re inside the heads of every character in every scene.  I’m not used to reading omniscient point of view novels, except for limited omniscient.  In this book, we know everything.  I’m really not used to being inside Star Trek characters’ minds.  And another thing is that I know exactly what’s going to happen.  There’s no suspense, and there’s really no difference from the movie other than knowing their thoughts.  It’s kind of unsettling.

What do you think of movie novelisations?

Read the book first!

Several years ago, back when I was in high school, I readJurassic Park by Michael Crichton.  I was enthralled.  It was great science fiction, had a good deal of science, and was intelligent.  I enjoyed the book very much.  I later watched the movie when it came out.  While I was impressed by the special effects, and I really enjoyed seeing the dinosaurs, I felt that the story was lacking.  The story was a bit different than the book, and wasn’t nearly as intelligent.  The movie was almost all action and special effects.  It didn’t satisfy the story lover in me.

After that, I was determined to read the book before I watched the movie.  I read Lord of the Rings a year before the movies came out.  I read the Harry Potter books before I watched any of the movies.  In both cases, I enjoyed the experience of seeing a familiar story unfold on the big screen (or on DVD), but I felt that the book was better.  However,Lord of the Rings was extremely well done as an adaptation of a novel.

At the moment, I’m reading A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin.  There’s a TV series based on his novels out right now, and I haven’t touched it at all.  I won’t watch it until after I’ve read the books.  I just feel that I can gain so much more by reading the book before seeing the movie.  I can imagine what the world is like first, then see how they made it look in the TV series or movie.  If I watch it first, then read the book, my imagination doesn’t work very hard.  I just picture the actors and the scenes that I remember from TV or the movie.  I want to use my imagination.  Therefore, I will read the book first.

How about you? What do you prefer to do?  Book first or TV series/movie first?