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Five movies that are better than the book

The opinions and views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not reflect the opinion of Byte or Byte’s editorial board.

It’s a commonly held belief that the book is better than the movie. Fans can get quite irate when a film adaptation leaves out some of their favorite moments from the novel, or the movie isn’t quite how they pictured it in their minds. Book lovers also become angry when a movie drifts too far away from the source material, sometimes becoming unrecognizable to the book on which the movie is based. However, there are some exceptions when a film adaptation surpasses the novel.

Jurassic Park

Image from No Film School

All these years later and Jurassic Park is still relevant in pop culture. Most, if not all of the popularity comes from the film, with the book being buried deep within society’s memory. Michael Crichton’s original novel was great, but it took a more scientific approach that would have bogged down the movie. The characters aren’t as well created as the movie makes them, and it lacks the sense of wonder that the movie was able to bring. Looking at the film, it’s more fun and adventurous, helping bring a fantastical element to the story. The scientific elements are there, but the incredible characters and memorable moments will draw you back to the film, whereas the book is a nice read through only once. Also, the dinosaurs still hold up today, looking more real than the dinosaurs used in the Jurassic World films.

Fight Club

Image from No Film School

Originally starting out as a commercial and critical disappointmentFight Club has gone on to garner a cult following, earning itself number 10 in IMBD’s top ten best films of all time. Chuck Palahniuk isn’t a strong author, so the original novel comes off a little dry and hollow. David Fincher’s directing takes the source material and elevates the story, themes, and characters so well, that he was able to create a masterpiece in filmmaking. The themes of consumerism and not caring about what others think is great, and the gritty, dark comedy is sickly hilarious. Along with this, the ending hits you unlike any other plot twist in a film. Although the novel is a fine read, all of these elements are executed far superior in the film.

The Martian

Image from Space

This is a rare instance where the movie is almost a near replicate of the novel. The Martian novel was able to become one of the greatest sci-fi stories ever written and is packed with incredible characters and storytelling. However, the film tweaks the story in a few places where the novel lacked. For instance, the novel’s ending sort of just ends without much of a resolution, whereas the movie has a nice epilogue that ties the story up nicely. Also, the novel at times can come off as a little hard to follow with its scientific facts, whereas the movie is able to explain it easier for an average audience to understand.

The Shining 

Image from Mental Floss

Stephen King famously hates the film adaptation of The Shining, being displeased with the direction of the story and the portrayal of the characters. There is some truth in there as the novel focuses more on alcoholism and the family falling apart, while the movie is more metaphorical and focused on the scares. Even with this, the movie is able to portray the theme of alcoholism nicely and show the deconstruction of the family. Jack Nicholson’s performance is incredible and has become one of horror’s most iconic characters. Stanley Kubrick’s directing is equally as exemplary, with many memorable and famous shots in horror film history. From Jack’s face in the doorway to the sweeping shots of the Overlook Hotel, to even young Danny riding his bike through the hotel, The Shining’s influence can be seen in many films, including Toy StoryFrom Sid’s carpet being the same design as the one in the hotel, from the number 237 popping up in Toy Story 3, references to The Shining can be found throughout the series.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy 

Image from IndieWire

This one will truly cause some controversy, but it’s true. The movies were able to trim the fat from the books and create a clearer story focus. Even though the original books are some of the greatest pieces of literature, the movies were able to improve on some of the book’s weaker moments. For example, the battles are not written as well as they could be, so seeing the battle sequences in live-action are more exciting and thrilling. Along with this, the story and setting are more enjoyable to watch, as Peter Jackson was able to bring the world of Middle-Earth to life, capturing the same tone of the novels. Middle-Earth works better in a visual model as there are countless creatures and beings, so seeing them in the film is more entertaining to consume.

Sources: ColliderIMDBMentalFloss

Images: IndieWireNo Film SchoolMental FlossSpace

Featured Image: Kellyn Harrison

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