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    Movies that are better than their source material?

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    Reed Benson

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    Movies that are better than their source material?

    Post  Reed Benson on March 14th 2018, 8:00 pm

    I'm watching yet another review of A Wrinkle in Time right now (this one from Geek Devotions), and I'm thinking again about movies and TV shows that are adapted from books or comics. Everyone always says "The book is better than the movie," but I'm sure there are people out there who like certain films or shows better than they like the respective source material.

    So does anyone here actually like a movie or TV show better than the book or comic (or whatever) it's based on?

    I actually have three examples! They're all from comics.

    1. Kick-A** - When I saw this the first few times - back before I was concerned about all the violence I was watching in movies - I really liked it. I didn't like all the foul language, but I loved Nicolas Cage's performance where he tried to channel Adam West, and I thought the whole thing was colorful and intense despite the comedy. When I read the graphic novel, I was quite disappointed. It was much dirtier in every aspect - violence, language, sexual situations, and general attitudes of the characters and the world they inhabited. The movie felt like it had some bad stuff in it, but the book felt like it was bad stuff for the sake of bad stuff.

    2. A History of Violence - The film was directed by David Cronenberg, but it's a lot more realistic than he normal fare. It's somewhat meta in that Cronenberg intended the violence to actually convict the viewer for enjoying it. I thought it was intense - both the violence and the relationship struggles between the characters - and fairly deep, at least compared to the graphic novel. I thought that the graphic novel had pretty ugly artwork and a much less interesting story. After seeing the film, the book's story was just too straight-forward for me.

    3. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World - I'm kind of cheating here because I only read the first graphic novel. But while I liked the art style, I thought that all the fighting, the music, and the video game imagery worked way better on film than in comic form. And I'm normally not a fan of Michael Cera, but He kind of won me over by the end of the movie.
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    Paeter
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    Re: Movies that are better than their source material?

    Post  Paeter on March 15th 2018, 8:47 am

    Oh man, this is a GREAT question! And a really tough one for me. I think most movies I enjoy based on earlier material don't lead me to check out the original material. Hmm.

    Oh wait! TOTALLY got it! And I'm also gonna get in trouble for saying this but...

    The Lord Of The Rings Trilogy.

    I tried reading those books. I really did. Just way too dry for me. I need to be inside the characters' heads and their emotions/motives early on, and there were just way too many paragraphs about boring details in the early pages of Fellowship. REALLY enjoyed those movies, though!

    I'd also say the Warcraft movie. Not because I thought it was a great movie. But it was a D&D style fantasy movie with a big budget behind it and did not require me to play an RTS or play with others online. That makes it better than the games for me!


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    jazzact13

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    Re: Movies that are better than their source material?

    Post  jazzact13 on March 18th 2018, 8:56 am

    Howl's Moving Castle.

    The book is pretty good, and is much more complex than the movie. But if the movie does one thing better than the book, it's that it makes the characters more likeable.
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    Re: Movies that are better than their source material?

    Post  Reed Benson on March 23rd 2018, 1:19 am

    I thought of one more. This might be controversial only because a lot of people don't like the movie.

    John Carter (based on Edgar Rice Burroughs' A Princess of Mars)

    I just watched the film for a second time a month or so ago, and I found myself really enjoying it. It looked good and the story was exciting. I felt like the book was rather drawn out, and the writing style was not my bag. Maybe Burroughs was paid by the word? I know it was serialized before it was collected as a novel.

    An interesting side note: all of my examples are movies that I saw before reading their respective source material. Perhaps that has something to do with my perception?
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    Re: Movies that are better than their source material?

    Post  Paeter on March 23rd 2018, 11:00 am

    I'm really looking forward to the Wheel Of Time series adaptation. (Coming to TV I think?) I could never get into the writing style, but I'm betting I might enjoy the story!


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    Re: Movies that are better than their source material?

    Post  mindspike on March 27th 2018, 9:05 pm

    I have to back up several of these:

    Lord of the Rings - the movie emphasized action and the imagery of Middle Earth. It's heavily sentimental, which actually made me like Sam and Frodo a lot less than in the book, but pretty much everything else made for a great telling of the story. I can't really say that it saves time, the book reads in about 18 hours and the movie is close to 12.

    Warcraft - for all the same reasons as Paeter, and I'll add that I did think it was a great movie with detailed characters and meta worth thinking about.

    John Carter - I balked at this because I'm such a fan of the books, but finally conceded the point. The movie is awesome, with an approachable cast and tight construction.

    Let me add:

    Harry Potter. I liked the books well enough, but the movies are visually involving and trim out loads of excess from the books. About book 4, Rowling stopped listening to her editor and it shows.

    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Once more the visuals and improved pacing of the movie make the newest - very faithful - adaptation my preferred version of the story.

    Marvel Cinematic Universe. I love the comics that these are sourced from but the movies are not only more dynamic but were plotted coherently. The comic stories and characters changed with every new creative team. Very few of them had a guiding vision for more than a single story the way the MCU does.

    Mortal Kombat and Street Fighter 2: the Animated Movie (1994). I played the games in college like everyone else, but I love these movies. LOVE these movies. I bought SF2 on VHS, upgraded to DVD, and the blu-ray is on my short list. I bought Mortal Kombat 3 times on VHS because I wore out the first 2 copies. I bought the DVD twice for the same reason and snapped up the blu-ray as soon as I saw it. Mortal Kombat was my very first digital purchase as well. Both movies: The action and martial arts are sweet. The music transports me. I loathe the villains and can relate to the heroes. The stories are relevant and very meta. These may possibly be my favorite movies of all time.

    Bulletproof Monk. The comic was okay, but the movie is much fun, the action is better, and the language is cleaner.

    Whew. I could keep going, but I'll break here.


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    Reed Benson

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    Re: Movies that are better than their source material?

    Post  Reed Benson on March 27th 2018, 11:27 pm

    Good stuff, mindspike! I appreciate your reasoning.
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    Re: Movies that are better than their source material?

    Post  Paeter on March 28th 2018, 9:05 am

    mindspike wrote:
    The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. Once more the visuals and improved pacing of the movie make the newest - very faithful - adaptation my preferred version of the story.

    Oh, totally! I should have thought of this one. Great pick!


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    Re: Movies that are better than their source material?

    Post  Rickster on April 4th 2018, 2:04 pm

    I've never read the book it was based on but fro what I've heard Who Framed Roger Rabbit was better then it's source material. In fact the Author of Who Censored Roger Rabbit loved the movie so much he retconed his own book so the sequel would be closer to the continuity of the movie
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    Re: Movies that are better than their source material?

    Post  Paeter on April 16th 2018, 10:45 am

    Rickster wrote:I've never read the book it was based on but fro what I've heard Who Framed Roger Rabbit was better then it's source material. In fact the Author of Who Censored Roger Rabbit loved the movie so much he retconed his own book so the sequel would be closer to the continuity of the movie

    Whoah! That movie was based on a book!??

    That's like "Ready Player One" WAY before its time!!


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