Monday, August 22, 2005

Books Into Films

I saw the trailer for Everything Is Illuminated on Saturday night and the movie looks good. It is directed by Liev Schreiber and stars Elijah Wood as Jonathan Safran Foer , the protagonist who goes to the Ukraine to find a woman who saved his grandfather from the Nazis.

The cinematography looked hyper real and bright colors abounded. The film appears to capture the book’s whimsy and integrate the various story lines. I definitely plan on seeing it. I didn’t love this book (the various voices felt contrived) and have always felt guilty about it since everyone else in America thinks its one of the best first novels ever written. But since I didn’t love it, I don’t have to worry about its destruction by Hollywood and can enjoy it for what it is. It will be released Sept. 16th.

I am one of those readers who generally avoids seeing my favorite books adapted for the screen. But that’s very hard to do for today’s kids. My youngest daughter saw the movie version of so many classics before she read the books – Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Lemony Snicket’s Series of Unfortunate Events, Cheaper By the Dozen, Tuck Everlasting. Now those will never be books that permeate her soul and reside deep inside her.

However, when she got a chance to read the book first, she inevitably didn’t like the movie. Such was the case for Because of Winn-Dixie and Harry Potter.

It’s a choice of medium. While movies are entertaining and often movie, their effects only linger for a few hours or days. Books, on the other hand, which take much more time to read, can remain with you for a lifetime. When I was a kid I read and reread all of the Laura Ingalls Wilder series a number of times, and to this day I can cite plot summaries and dialogue. I may live in an urban area, but on some level I still see myself as a prairie girl.

1 comment:

lisa said...

One of the few movies I saw before reading the book was "The English Patient", and of course the movie sucked compared to the book (I could not believe how they butchered and glamorized and love storied it! ugh, don't even get me started!), but the book is now one of my all time favorites. So your daughter might be able to replace the movies she's seen with a favorite book after the fact.

Keep hope alive, fellow prairie girl :)