We all know how it goes: the book is always better than the movie, right? Invariably, the movie leaves stuff out of the story, big events that you loved in the book don’t make it into the screenplay, the movie doesn’t go into enough character development, and sometimes there are even missing characters once the story hits the silver screen. This is true in pretty much every case.
The Bridges of Madison County was an internal story which didn’t translate well to the screen, since inner monologues get pretty monotonous in a movie. I’ve heard the Harry Potter books are still better than the apparently awesome movies (I’ve never read them and I’ve only seen, like, the first three movies – don’t be hatin’). Twilight is better on paper; so is Eat, Pray, Love, and Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil is too.
Then, you have those movies that I would argue are as good as the book: Michael Crichton books are an example for me, but that could be because I’m not a scientifically minded individual, so all the technical stuff on paper kind of frazzles my brain. Memoirs of a Geisha is fabulous in both forms.
In my experience of reading and then watching a story, there has only been one movie that has surpassed the book: The Last of the Mohicans. If you’ve seen the movie, you know that the love story happens between Cora and Nathaniel (“Hawkeye”), Alice dies in the end, Hawkeye has as sense of humor, and it generally ends up well for the main characters…I mean, kind of. You know, for the ones that don’t die at least. Well, pick up the book, and not only is it a tough read technically, but you’ll be left wanting to slit your metaphorical wrists over the depressing end. The characters you think are supposed to get together don’t; the humor that is present in the movie is nonexistent in the book. Hawkeye isn’t the delicious Daniel Day-Lewis, he’s an older dude who sees Uncas as a son, not a brother. The enemy natives are much more vicious, and one of my favorite characters gets killed in the end. Overall, I was disappointed.
The screen adaptation of The Last of the Mohicans is way better than the book. I hate to discourage reading, but in this case, don’t waste your time.