I always prefer to read the book before seeing the movie, unless it’s a type of book I’m not really interested in reading, such as pure science fiction. I don’t usually like to read all the technical/scientific stuff the pure sci-fi books include, but I love watching sci-fi movies (Star Trek, Star Wars, 2001: a Space Odyssey, etc.). I haven’t been too terribly disappointed in a movie based on a book with a couple exceptions: Bambi by Felix Salten (the Disneyfied version was cute and all, but they totally left out Faline’s brother Gobo) and Pay it Forward by Catherine Ryan Hyde. Pay it Forward is an awesome book, and when I first heard a movie was being made from it I was SO excited. Then I saw the cast list and was mortified. The adult male lead? Who is very clearly described in the book as a black man? Would be played by Kevin Spacey, who is, last time I checked, white.
Really, Hollywood? I'm sure Kevin Spacey is a good actor and all, but c'mon! Surely there is a black male actor out there who could've just as easily played the part of Reuben (yes, they changed his name as well as his colour!)! Like, oh, I don't know, Lawrence Fishburn? Denzel Washington? Heck, even Wil Smith could've pulled it off, I bet!
Oh, and they changed the ending as well (which I'm sure happens to a lot of books that are made into movies, but there was really no reason to do it with this one because the ending CRH wrote is PERFECT IN AND OF ITSELF!!!)! Plus a bunch of other stuff was unnecessarily changed for the movie. Why, Hollywood? Why?
Gah! Even after all this time, I'm still really mad about it! (And it's not even MY book!) Mad to the point where when I first heard about the casting (or miscasting, imho), I decided I would not ever see that movie. I just couldn't bear to see a book I really loved and enjoyed so thoroughly ripped apart for no apparent reason whatsoever. To this day, I never have seen it. I'm sure it's a very good movie, but the original book with all its original characters, ideas and ending is good enough for me and always will be.
Phew! Sorry for the little tirade, but that really upset me. It was just so wrong on so many levels!
More recent movies I've seen based on books I've read have been much better. I'm talking about Twilight, Harry Potter series and Inkheart, specifically. These films followed the books as closely as possible, have fantastic casts, and are really very good. I see now that Where the Wild Things Are has been made nto a movie. At first I was terrified - what would they do to my beloved childhood book?!? Recently, however, I saw the trailer for it and it looks fantastic! In fact, I'm excited to see it! My fingers and toes are crossed!