Are science fiction film adaptations ever as good as the book?

Book covers
Share on facebook
Share on Facebook
Share on twitter
Share on Twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on LinkedIn

I would love to know what you think about this question, having just finished reading Ready Player One by Ernest Cline. My son suggested I read it. He said the book was better than the film.

He’s a gamer and I’m not. As a result, many of the book’s references were lost on me. But I did have one advantage. As well as being packed with computer game in-jokes, it’s also stuffed with 1980s arts culture which I know well. I especially enjoyed the musical links and was astounded to find that Monty Python and the Holy Grail (actually from the 1970s) had a crucial part to play.

I read Andy Weir’s The Martian ages ago, when one of my professors recommended it. This one sparks a particular fondness because the book was self-published in the beginning and went on to be a global success. I have to confess I flicked over some of detail in the science bits as I found them too dry, but as a thriller it works brilliantly and the movie does it justice.

Finally, The Hunger Games by Sophie Collins. Another recent read, I picked this up because a couple of people in a Facebook SciFi group I follow said they thought it had the best opening of any book they had ever read. It is pretty good, and a real page-turner. However, I have to admit that I didn’t see the film. The trailers didn’t appeal to me when it first came out, although I am fascinated by the stories about Jennifer Lawrence’s regime to get in training to play the super-athletic protagonist Peeta. I might try to catch it now.

I guess the crux of the matter is that it’s impossible to fit everything that’s in a book into a film – unless it’s a very short book indeed. You also have the pressures of the industry to make protagonists conform to certain tropes. A narrow definition of beauty, for example, is something particularly noticeable in the disparities with the Ready Player One adaptation. And with a book, so much more is left to the imagination.

Which movie adaptations of books do you like? Do you think you should always read the book first? Is there a book/movie combo you would recommend others take a look at – or one that you have found especially disappointing? 

Leave a comment below if you have something to share.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

three × five =