Monday, December 1, 2008

Is The Movie Ever Better Than the Book? (or hot actors in wet clothes)

I've never read Pride and Prejudice. Blasphemy from someone who aspires to be a chick lit writer, right? Especially since I know the story inside and out.

My first introduction to Pride and Prejudice was in senior year of high school. It was the one book I didn't read, and yes, I was a goody-two shoes avid reader, so why not his one? Not sure. I think I was in a rebellious phase, complete with a know-it-all attitude and a college boyfriend. Whatever the reason, I didn't read it.

It wasn't until one January evening, long ago, that I stumbled upon the A&E mini-series and was captivated. So my first real introduction to Mr. Darcy was Colin Firth. Brooding, yummy and walking across the lawn of Pemberley, after just having taken a swim. Sigh. I mean, whoa. This was the book I didn't want to read? So I went out and bought it. I started to read it, honest. But...well...I put it down after the first chapter. I don't know why.

Fast forward to one December evening not too long ago (great, two flashbacks in one blog entry, there must be some rule about that), I found myself with some very unexpected alone time and ordered up On Demand the latest version of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightly as Elizabeth Bennet. I didn't want to like it as much as the mini-series, but from the moment that haunting, dreamy, romantic score beckoned me into the movie, I was captivated once again. But someone other than Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy? I just wasn't sure I could buy that.

Sigh. I was wrong. Very wrong.

Matthew Macfadyen, as Mr. Darcy, brooding, yummy and wet from being out in the rain, professing "I love you. Most ardently." to a royally pissed off Elizabeth Bennet, hmmmmmmm...well, they got me. And I tried to read the book. Again.

And didn't.

Does this mean I didn't experience Jane Austen's vision? The mini-series was more thorough than the movie I'm guessing, and I really can't compare the book...yet. All I know is that I continue to be captivated by this story. (and no, not just the hot actors in wet clothing who play the roles) The multitude of brilliant characters. The customs. The sweeping English countryside. What a delicious glimpse into this time period. Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy were born on the page. This story came from Jane Austen's imagination. So movie or book, I'm not sure it matters.

Talk about a test of time.

Okay, fess up. Any book-to-film novels you didn't read before you saw the movie? And do you still feel compelled to read it?


  1. Lord of the Rings. I hated sci-fi/fantasy as a kid, but when I saw Viggo Mortensen - a life sized Aragorn - I was snagged. I haven't read the trilogy, but I did go back and read The Hobbit.

  2. Seen but not read...
    *The Wizard of Oz
    *Gone with the Wind
    *Oliver (as in Twist)
    *Bridge to Terabithia (embarrassed about that one)

    Those are the first ones that come to mind...but there are many more. I generally try to read the book before I see the flick...but with two kids hankering to see the newest releases, it ain't always possible.

    I always wonder, too, about which movies are even better than the great books on which they're based. Since GWTW is one of my all-time fave movies, I'd have to put it into that category, which is hardly fair--I still haven't read the book!

  3. I believe that the book is ALWAYS better than the movie, but GWTW might be the exception to the rule.

    I haven't read The Wizard of Oz either, but there aren't any hot actors in wet clothes for me to drool over. I was always fond of the Lion, but compared to Viggo....

  4. And now I'm going to turn it around.
    Read but not seen:

    Tuck Everlasting
    Stuart Little
    The Polar Express

    I didn't want to see an expanded, spiced up, or dumbed down version that messed with the content or images of the original.

    Exception: GWTW. Read and seen. Both worth it.