The book of the film

29 Jul

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It’s not usually a chicken/egg conundrum. Novelisations of movies are, invariably, awful. Movies based on a book can be (very) good, but can also turn out badly (thought it’s often a matter of opinion – see They Changed It Now It Sucks).

Regardless of whether a story was book-then-movie or movie-then-book the two versions are certainly going to be different. Some things work brilliantly in a book, but just don’t translate to the screen, and vice-versa. One is visual, one is lingual.

Okay, so why am I mentioning this? And what’s it got to do with The Time Traveler’s Wife? Well, I had seen the film version (fairly recently) before reading the book. It’s been interesting doing it that way around compared to something that I’d read first and then seen a film of.


  • With the film, you’re not concerned about what has been changed/cut out
  • When you later read the book, you’ve still got new details of the story to discover


  • You get biased by the look/portrayal of the actors
  • With the book, you know what’s going to happen

Come to think of it, maybe that’s why I’ve found novelisations of films (written after-the-fact) to be uninteresting – you already know how the story plays out, and nothing new has been added.

How do you feel? Book first, or movie first? By all means add more pros/cons in the comments.

1 Comment

Posted by on July 29, 2010 in Time Traveler's Wife


One response to “The book of the film

  1. Tom

    July 30, 2010 at 10:47 am

    Novelisations of movies are, invariably, awful.

    There are exceptions to this rule. For example, they novelisations of the Star Wars prequels are, I hear, less appalling then the movies, because you don’t have to put up with the nightmarishly bad acting.

    Actually, they’re probably still bad, but they may well be an improvement on the movies.


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