Nov 18, 2014

Who Did It Better? Books vs Movies Round 2

Round 2 of the movies vs books showdown!  This time I'm talking Hunger Games and Lord of the Rings.  If you missed it, last week was Game of Thrones and Ender's Game.  Diving right in...


Hunger Games

First exposed to: Movie
Version I liked better: Movie

Characters: When I read the book, I hated Katniss.  She's very unheroic and unpersonable.  I was actually really surprised, because it is rare that a book is less effective than a movie at making me sympathize with the main character.  This is the first, and maybe only, case where I like a character better on screen.  It's almost like not knowing her motivations is better than knowing.

Plot: In the book, it felt like a pretty dramatic shift from Katniss' personal struggles, to all of a sudden - Revolution!  The movies have definitely done more transitioning with dropping some clues for us, and showing a little more of the political side with Snow and the gamemakers.

Bizarre and unnecessary changes: We all know movie adaptations do this.  Some changes make sense, some don't work out but you can see what they were going for, and some are probably a result of needing to put their own spin on it, but really don't make any sense.  I can't think of any for Hunger Games, but I had an earful for GoT last week and quite a few things to say about LotR.


Lord of the Rings (and The Hobbit)

First exposed to: Book
Version I liked better: Book

Characters: I don't have a lot to say about the LotR characters.  They were pretty true to the books, even if I was overly critical at the time.  The Hobbit is adding all kinds of stuff.  Most of it annoys me, but I'll talk about one character addition I like: Tauriel.  This dwarf/elf romance thing - I approve.  That is pretty much the only thing I'm excited about with the last movie.

Plot: As stated, I now believe LotR did an excellent job sticking pretty closely to the book storyline.  At the time I was nitpicky and there were probably 20 things I was unhappy with, and now I don't even remember what those were.  The one thing that I do remember that bugs me - all the drama with Arwen.  "Oh, she's dying."  "Oh, you have to break up."  "Now she's crossing the sea."  The only purpose it served was for us to not forget that she existed while all the interesting stuff was going on.  Needless to say, was not a fan.

The Hobbit, on the other hand, has not just deviated from the book, but added 2 additional plot lines to what was originally the simplest of Tolkein's stories.  Ryan likes that we get to see them laying the background for what happens next in the other movies, but I feel like even with the additional plots, stretching one smallish book into 3 movies resulted in a story that barely strings together each massive, unnecessarily long action sequence.  And the stuff with the white Orc.  Hate it.  Fluff.

Bizarre and unnecessary changes: LotR - Arwen drama.  The Hobbit... where to start.  Everything?  Here's the things I hate the most: 1) Legolas, who was not even in The Hobbit, now has a huge role just for marketing purposes.  2) The 10 minutes before the story even starts where Bilbo is writing.  It's just long and kind of dull.  3) Thorin's fakeout yelling at and then complimenting Bilbo.  I mean, just cheesy.  4) Elrond being all like, "You can't leave my valley" and Gandalf sneaking them out.  Unnecessary drama with main characters.  5) Orcs attacking the river town.  I mean, seriously, how many frigging fight scenes do we need?

Do you enjoy comparing books to movies?  Which media do you typically like better?  Did you make it through the Lord of the Rings books?

Jenn signature graphic | Business, Life & Design