Book vs. Movie

This evening I saw Divergent, after reading all three books over winter break.  Although I really enjoyed the Hunger Games and Catching Fire movies, I generally go into books turned movies with low expectations.  How can two hours of screen time compete with the words on a page and your own imagination?  I wasn’t disappointed, but as I said, I went in with very low expectations.

Anyway, we have deliberately chosen several read aloud books this year because they were made into a movie.  We read the book and then watch the movie so the kids can compare and contrast the two.  Here are the books made into movies that we have read so far this year:

  • James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
  • Matilda by Roald Dahl
  • Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
  • The Tale of Despereaux by Kate DiCamillo

6 thoughts on “Book vs. Movie”

  1. Oh I’m not even sure I want to see the movies… I devoured the books after a suggestion from a student and I’m always let down and frustrated! I love doing that with kids and then discussing the choices made deliberately by the movie people, and how you would feel as an author… It would be interesting to have them make short movies or videos of their own writing with time constraints, etc. and see what they change and/or embellish for the audience and why… Or even have them make movies of each others writing and talk about interpretation… Ok I think I’ve gotten myself excited about something here now!

  2. I’ve never seen the Despereaux movie. I read a review that explained all the changes they made. . The review said that, since the movie featured a tiny mouse, they worried that parents would bring small children. With dark themes, they decided to add characters (a cat, for example) and make some other changes because they didn’t want to traumatize the tiny viewers. They had good reasons, but I’ve opted to never watch the movie. I’d be curious to hear your reactions.

  3. I was in a book club that was specifically planned around reading books that were made into movies and then watching the movies. It was fascinating. 9/10 times the movie disappointed when it came to living up to the book. Cider House Rules? Womp womp.
    Things that did well…
    Fight Club captured the tone and voice and intensity well.
    Big Fish the movie changes a lot from the book. But I LOVE the changes.

    I thought Hunger Games has done ok so far.
    I was also weirdly pleased with the Great Gatsby. It was sensory ridiculousness. But the vibrancy of the movie, the visuals, the scenery, the effects, the sound… somehow gave the sensory experience of the writing in the book. The movie was opulent but so is Gatsby itself, so despite its heavy handedness, it worked for me.

    This all goes to say, I am SO FASCINATED to see what kids say about the connection between the to. Please do report back.

    1. I find that the students with stronger visualization skills enjoy the books more. For example, the James and the Giant Peach book has many action packed scenes that weren’t in the movie. The kids are usually disappointed that many of the scenes aren’t in the movie, however the movie has great music!

  4. I am also a huge fan of the Divergent series. I re-read Divergent over the weekend knowing that I would be seeing it today. I didn’t have high hopes, only because I am acutely aware that they have to trim and condense some things to fit it into a 2+ hour movie (without making it 4+ hours.) I liked it, but I didn’t love it. I think a lot of that comes from my tendency to compare the book with the movie. In the age of kids wanting to just see the movie and not bother reading the book, I think it’s a great idea to have them do both and make comparisons. What great analyzing skills! With younger kids, it would be an interesting idea to have them take the fairy tales that have been turned into Disney movies and compare those.

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