How often have you heard this from a knowing, bookish friend? Very often, it’s true simply because the film adaptation can’t possibly contain as much of the source material as it took to fill the original book. Consider The Princess Bride, William Goldman’s excellent, rip-roaring book (now available in a Kindle edition) and equally excellent, equally rip-roaring screenplay that became a film favorite of millions the world over (now available as an Amazon Instant Video). If you loved the movie, by all means read the book because it contains even more swashbuckling adventure, feats of bravery and derring-do, and of course, plenty more laughs.
Other times, a film adaptation comes to be widely judged as equal or even superior to the source material by an audience, especially in cases where the source material is considered dry or inaccessible to the average reader for some reason. A good example of this is Baz Luhrmann’s film adaptation (Amazon Instant Video here) of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (specially formatted Kindle book here). While most of Shakespeare’s original Middle English dialogue remains intact in the film, the modern, contemporary setting and actors’ performances put that language into a relatable context for today’s teens, making this literary classic both accessible and entertaining to them.
With the Academy Awards just around the corner, it seems like a good time to take a closer look at this year’s nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay, most of which are available as Kindle books. If you’ve seen any of these films, consider checking out the books on which they’re based and judge for yourself: is the book really better than the movie?
Hugo (The Invention of Hugo Cabret – sadly, no Kindle edition available; Audible audiobook available here)
Ides of March (based on the play, Farragut North)
Moneyball (Moneyball Kindle edition)
The Descendants (The Descendants Kindle edition)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy enhanced Kindle edition)