Seeing the Movies Before Reading the Books, LOTR

Son of Valhalla

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Unfortunately, since the Lord of the Rings movies came out when I was only four or five, and young and dumb, I ended up seeing the movies before reading the books. This, of course, caused much trouble when, after going to read the books, I realized the INSANE amount of detail that the movies skip over, including leaving out the entire end of the book itself, which I found to be an important part of the story.

Has anyone else had to deal with this? I'm probably going to have to reread Lord of the Rings just to think of it without any prior influence.

On another note, the same thing happened with Arrival, although the movie is far different from the story, as far as I could tell.
 

BAYLOR

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Lots of times the movies change things for reasons good and bad. Mainly it's because taking a book and cramming two hour movie format is difficult to impossible.
 

RX-79G

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I think I'd rather see the film before the book. The reverse is almost always disappointing, but seeing a short film that serves as a visual synopsis makes me appreciate the detail of the book.

Ideally, the kind of SFF books I like would never be made into films - books are about detail and subtlety while films are about visual storytelling. The crossover is a large compromise in either direction.
 

Son of Valhalla

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I think I'd rather see the film before the book. The reverse is almost always disappointing, but seeing a short film that serves as a visual synopsis makes me appreciate the detail of the book.

Ideally, the kind of SFF books I like would never be made into films - books are about detail and subtlety while films are about visual storytelling. The crossover is a large compromise in either direction.
This makes me think of how difficult it would be to make books like Dune and Foundation into actual, decent movies. There's such a mass of detail that it's difficult to narrow it down. The same does happen in Lord of the Rings, though for the most part Peter Jackson does a good job at striking a balance between the feel of the book and the visual aspects of the movies.
 

RX-79G

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This makes me think of how difficult it would be to make books like Dune and Foundation into actual, decent movies. There's such a mass of detail that it's difficult to narrow it down. The same does happen in Lord of the Rings, though for the most part Peter Jackson does a good job at striking a balance between the feel of the book and the visual aspects of the movies.
It is difficult, which is why a lot of people hate Lynch's Dune. Jackson chose to turn the Hobbit into 3 movies, and Dune is arguably more complex. Converting a novel into a movie usually involves exaggerating anything exotic into either sex or horror, constructing the plot entirely around the events of the book rather than the characters, adding gimmicky technology misinterpreted from the text and then changing the ending to make it feel "definitive".

Good SF movies have simple stories set in compelling settings, which is why Phillip Dick books have been made into so many of them.
 

Werewoman

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I was fortunate enough to be born before movies...okay, I'm not that old, yet, but my point is that I would never watch the movie before reading the book. Often I choose not to see the movies at all.
At first, when Fellowship came out, I refused to see the movie at all and only agreed to watch it on DVD after my son asked to watch it. I eventually got a complete set and watched all of them (over a matter of weeks, not hours or days) and I will give credit where it is due, Peter Jackson did it justice, if justice can be achieved in film to such great works of fiction.

Always read the book first. ;)
 

farntfar

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This is a problem also found with TV series of course. Although generally I would say a good book is not diminished by a limited film or tv adaptation and you can read the book afterwards and enjoy all the depth of it that was missed.

The unfortunate thing is that many people think it's not worth reading the book afterwards, because they already know the story. Or even worse that the book must be lousy because the show was badly made. But it has also to be said that seeing a GOOD adaptation of a book you have enjoyed can be very pleasing. (Many of the Le Carré adaptations both in film and TV have been excellent, for example.)

Well, Werewoman, I know I should refuse to watch any of the Handmaid's Tale until I've read the book but I'm afraid it's not gonna happen.(although it's in my TBR list)
 

Parson

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Well, Werewoman, I know I should refuse to watch any of the Handmaid's Tale until I've read the book but I'm afraid it's not gonna happen.(although it's in my TBR list)
Fail not to read the book. "The Handmaid's Tale" is a real classic.
 

farntfar

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Ah. You have persuaded me, Parson.
I had recently watched the 1st episode of the TV series on Netflix. But following your post, I have bought the kindle book (The only easy alternative when you want to read in English and buy in France.) to read first.

I shall watch the TV series afterwards. :)
 

Parson

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I can't speak about the TV series, but the book is on my list of books that I shall never forget. And at my age there aren't many of those!
 

svalbard

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They are different mediums of entertainment and should be enjoyed as such. Admittedly this is difficult at the best of times, however I seem to find that I can detach myself from the source material when watching a movie or TV show.

For example I can understand why Jackson did not include The Scouring of the Shire in the ROTK. For a movie watcher who had not read the books there was no context for including it. Conversely the appearance of The Eagles at the last battle and saving Frodo and Sam also had no context for a movie watcher who had not read the source material.

The director is always faced with a difficult decision about the what to include or exclude when a adapting a book for the screen. In my judgement I believe Jackson got it spot on with LOTR and I used one simple test for this.

The Fellowship was the strongest and most accesible book in the series. As was the movie.

The Two Towers was close to the Fellowship in storytelling. Again so was the movie.

The weakest of the three was the ROTK and again the movie bore this out. Both were too long, a bit preachy in parts and the dialogue stilted. The siege of Minas Tirith was the highlight of both book and film, although I think Jackson overdid it in the movie.

Those are my rambling thoughts for what they are worth.
 

Piper

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They are different mediums of entertainment and should be enjoyed as such. Admittedly this is difficult at the best of times, however I seem to find that I can detach myself from the source material when watching a movie or TV show.

I envy you, I get too frustrated when a movie is named for a book and then butchers the book. I feel like if you wanted to make another story make it- but don't try to trick me by naming the movie after the book, implying I will be seeing the book on film. It's gotten to the point that I won't go see a movie based on a book I like.
 

EJDeBrun

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I think it's a dealer's choice sort of thing. Dianne Wynne Jones put it really well when it came to Howl's Moving Castle being animated by Studio Ghibli:

They are two different things sharing some of the same properties.

If you look at it that way, I think it's easier to reconcile the differences. A lot of those differences are choices made purely due to reinterpretations or medium choices.

Sorta like classical music. Different versions of the same melody will exist differently for different people to enjoy. The melody is almost always the same though.
 

Robert Zwilling

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The movie can complement the book or use it as a launching pad, but never seems to mimic it. I guess books just have too much data in them even though a picture can represent a thousand words. The written word can easily show the story behind the story, but a movie seems to be stuck just telling the story. Written or spoken stories trickle into the mind one word at a time, building a foundation of expanding thoughts. The reader fills in their own gaps. Movies come in on multiple fronts all at once, without a foundation, they cruise through the mind as a prepackaged event. Ideas from books are included in the movie, and dialog and actions can be spoken and done by other characters, and sometimes all that survives is the title. The books are used as advance advertising, lending their popularity to a project that is not going to show the book as it was written and might need all the recognition it can get. From an economic view, the movie industry firmly believes the screen view needs to be pumped up with electrifying movie practices. EMPs to keep the audience's attention from wandering. Thus Do Androids Dream Of Electric Sheep changes from a search of individual identity with a dreary background to an thrill packed hunt of escaped criminals against a glossy background.
 

thaddeus6th

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I read the book after seeing the first film. Do agree on the ending, which is far better in the book rather than the quintuple pretend-endings in the film.

A certain amount does have to be cut (unlike The Hobbit which, as Bilbo might say, is an exercise in spreading a short story too thin), but by and large I thought they did an alright job judging what to include and what not to. The glaring omission is the ending.
 

AlexH

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On another note, the same thing happened with Arrival, although the movie is far different from the story, as far as I could tell.
I'm not sure I would've understood a fair bit of the short story if I hadn't seen the film first.

Has anyone seen the Wizard of Earthsea TV mini series?
The one with Kristen Kreuk and Danny Glover? If so, me! :)
 

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