In defence of film[ Posted 17 April 2012 in Podcast by Simon Streep ]
I’m tired of walking out of a film I really enjoyed only to have my satisfaction undermined by hearing someone mutter, “well… the book was better.” Yes, the book might have been better for you, but when you’ve finished giving yourself that pat on the back for being literate, perhaps you should consider the following…
Movies generally have far less time to tell a story than a book. There are of course exceptions – a movie based on Where’s Spot will probably take more time than the book to reveal the gripping ending that Spot was in fact hiding in the basket. That said, it’s not surprising that Spot has chosen to hide considering his master inexplicably owned a whole host of dangerous animals. In fact, I’m far less concerned about Spot’s sudden disappearance, as much as I’m worried why and how someone is concealing a snake in a grandfather’s clock, a hippo in a piano, and a lion under the staircase. (Everyone knows the lion should at least be in the wardrobe along with the witch.)
If I didn’t read the book, I might not know that Harry Potter ate a chicken mayo sandwhich before he defeated Voldemort, but that doesn’t mean I would be sitting there in the film thinking, “Oh man, I really hope Harry ate some lunch before undertaking such a physically demanding battle.” Filmmakers leave what they perceive to be non-essential information out of the story so that they can tell the tale in their limited amount of time – and if you haven’t read the book, you’re none the wiser. Yes, if you’re watching Sherlock Holmes and for some strange reason they’ve decided to leave out the character of Sherlock Holmes, you might notice, but otherwise it’s perfectly plausible that the story you’re watching has been modified from the original book to make an incredibly enjoyable movie.
So when I walk out of that cinema feeling happy about what I just watched, don’t turn to me and tell me that The Hunger Games was a better book – I’m very happy with my cinematic experience - if I want to read The Hunger Games, I’ll rent the DVD and put the subtitles on.
Be sure to click here and download this week’s episode of The Brothers Streep Show where we’re joined by South African movie reviewer, Spling.
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