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Book or Movie: Which Did it Better?

Book or Movie: Which Did it Better?

Posted on July 12, 2017 by Paul Kibala


Our readers have been clamoring over Me Before You, Jojo Moyes’ 2012 hit romantic drama concerning an unexpected relationship and the significance of major life decisions.  Its recent spike in popularity can be attributed to the film version released in June, starring Sam Claflin and Game of Thrones star Emilia Clarke.  Though certainly a financial success, there has been some complaints from viewers who feel it relies too heavily on sentimentality, downplaying the balance of humor and sorrow that made the novel so enjoyable. 
Fans inevitably draw comparisons between original texts and film adaptations, debating the varied merits of each.  Below is a list of popular novels that have recently been made into movies.  Search the East Brunswick Public Library catalog for these titles.  Make sure you read the book before your next trip to the movie theatre! 
 
The 5th Wave
Following in the footsteps of the Hunger Games series, The 5th Wave offers a gritty form of dystopian science fiction suitable for both teens and adults.  The novel has been praised for its intriguing, bleak view of humanity and the mental and physical resolve necessary to overcome harrowing life experiences.  The film glosses over Cassie’s romantic missteps and delusions in order to portray a smoother, more straightforward narrative. 
 
The BFG
Though regarded as a children’s book, The BFG is a feast for all ages.  Just as in Matilda and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Dahl fills tales of childlike wonderment with wicked, clever humor primarily meant for adults.  Though Steven Spielberg’s recent adaptation tends to soften the book’s darker elements, his ability to bring its illustrations to life is second to none.    
 
 
The Martian
 Unable to find a publisher for his debut novel, Andy Weir made The Martian available for 99 cents through Amazon, where it quickly gained a following and skyrocketed to the top of the bestsellers list.  This story of an astronaut stranded on Mars in the year 2035 with no way to signal back to Earth makes for a suspenseful read.  Released in November of 2015, the film version starred Matt Damon and garnered critical success for its faithfulness to the original text.
 
The Jungle Book
 Based on the Rudyard Kipling story, this film version is bursting with stunning CGI visuals.  Helmed by Iron Man Director Jon Favreau and featuring voice acting from Bill Murray, Scarlett Johansson, and Idris Elba, this adaptation effectively brings the literary classic to life.  
 
Allegiant
The final installment in Veronica Roth’s Divergent series concludes the saga that has seen protagonist Tris Pryor overcome unfathomable hardship and sacrifice.  Released this March, the film only covers the first half of the novel, in a similar vein as such young adult favorites as Harry Potter and Twilight.  This has had negative reactions from viewers who feel the movie is too plot-heavy and slow moving. 
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