This week's BTT is:
"Books and films both tell stories, but what we want from a book can be different from what we want from a movie. Is this true for you? If so, what’s the difference between a book and a movie?"
Firstly, I'm not sure that what I want from a book and what I want from a film is that much different. Both are escapism of a form and a (hopefully) entertaining way to pass the time. Both can be challenging learning experiences or meaningless fluff - depending on your inclination. You tend to commit more time to a book than you have to for a film but that's not necessarily a point in the favour of either.
You can discuss events as they unfold on a film and start a dialogue whilst still in the moment and whilst what you want to talk about is still very fresh. Assuming that you're watching it in your own home, of course! Mr B just loves my habit of saying "press pause" and then doing just this. Hem hem. A book tends to be a more solitary experience although if you can find someone who has also read it recently then this does not have to be the case. All hail the internet!
I used to really resent it when a film changed the story in a book (as an extreme example, so that Juliet does not die) but I'm no longer as black and white about this as I was and I can live with films being "inspired by" the book in the same way that they are loosely "inspired by" a true story. My attention to detail also depends on how long it's been since I read the book. I watched Vanity Fair a few weeks ago and, as I last read the book when I was in my teens, I'd forgotten half the plot anyway so was quite happy to assume that the stories remained similar. In general, I can accept that they are two different mediums, that a story in a film has to be told very quickly and that bits have to be cut to pare a story down enough to make a film that does not last hours and hours.
Having just said how tolerant I am now, casting can be an issue for me but I am going to spare you my thoughts on the various Elizabeth Bennets who have been Not Quite Right.
Thinking about some specific examples where I've read and watched it's not fair to make a sweeping judgement about Book v. Film. Some films have been of significantly higher quality than the books on which they are based and The Bourne franchise springs to mind here and I enjoyed the film of Everything is Illuminated far more than the book (which I'd tried to read first). Period films in general seem to be pretty faithful adaptions with Merchant Ivory productions leading the way and it's hard to go wrong when paying close attention to detail with franchises like Lord of the Rings or the Narnia series. Films based on Shakespeare's plays are as varied as the stage productions - and so they should be. I loved Much Ado About Nothing, which I saw after studying it as an A-Level set text and Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet opened the play up to a much wider audience than a more traditional interpretation could have.
I realise that I'm thinking about this solely from the viewpoint of someone who always reads the book before watching the film and am trying to think of an instance where it's happened the other way around. Actually, four spring to mind - Dangerous Liaisons, The Colour Purple and (more recently) V for Vendetta and Howl's Moving Castle. I loved all of those films and actively sought out the books to read after allowing a period of time to elapse so that they could retain some freshness for me when I eventually read them. At some point this year, I'll read the Constant Gardener and Children of Men as well as I enjoyed both films last year but I want to read them without too many pre-conceptions from the films remaining.
Oh dear - I seem to have gone seriously off topic and I am not sure that I actually answered the question. I'd better post this before I veer even further!