I often have difficulties with movie or television adaptations of books. I find that if I read the book first, I have my own book universe in my head – how the characters look, how they sound, their milieu. When I watch the adaptation, I often find it a jarring, cheapened version of the rich, detailed universe I have imagined from the book. If a book is popular enough to be made into a movie there is often a lot of money spent on a lavish production, but for me, it often still does not mesh with how I have imagined things to be.
This has applied to Outlander,The Twilight series, Fifty Shades of Grey, The Pelican Brief, anything about Jack Ryan (Tom Clancy) or Jack Reacher (Lee Child), The Scarlet Letter, and The Golden Compass. I did enjoy the Harry Potter movies, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, and The Vampire Diaries though, even though I read the books before I saw the movies/television show. I could never get into The Lord of the Rings books so I have no opinion on those movies. Unlike most people, I am not a huge fan of the movies.
For me, the best film adaptation I have ever seen has been Brokeback Mountain. The original short story was 11 pages long, and was turned into a 2-hour movie without adding or leaving anything out. The screenplay deservedly won an Oscar. Annie Proulx can paint stunning pictures of Wyoming in very few words, and the movie really depicted that exactly, in my opinion. The actors were very young, absolutely brilliant, and risked their careers to play gay cowboys. I tried once to figure out how to give Brokeback Mountain a happy ending and I just couldn’t. If you were true to the characters and the times, the ending in the book and the movie was the only outcome. You cannot really add to the book either without destroying the perfection.
If I really enjoy a movie, sometimes I read the book afterwards and I find that goes much easier. Then the book universe in my head then looks like the movie. Sometimes, though, I have watched a movie adaptation of a book and I love it so much that I refuse to read the book. Examples of this are The Green Mile and Shawshank Redemption, both by Stephen King. I also tried to watch the Bosch series on Amazon Prime, but stopped after one episode because each episode is an amalgamation of about three of the books and it was confusing because I had only recently read the books. Titus Welliver is a perfect Bosch though.
Does anyone else have any movies that they did not enjoy after reading the book first? Or any recommendations for good movie adaptations of books?