Book vs Movie: Gone Girl

It’s time for another Book vs Movie. Psycho murder conspiracy edition. I just finished Gillian Flynn’s Gone Girl after weeks of only being able to read a little bit at a time. I have a confession though: I watched the movie first. I’ve mentioned before that I actually don’t find it horrible to watch the movie before reading the book. There are some cases when reading the book first is better (and that’s most of the time) but there are some books (like The Maze Runner) where you need that little bit of extra assistance to really get into the book. This book and movie combo is the former.

When I watched the movie Gone Girl it was because I really wanted to see it, and didn’t want to wait until I had read the book. I was too antsy. So I made the executive decision to go ahead and watch it… Holy crap. That movie is one plot twist after another. I won’t say anything to ruin the movie (or book) for anyone because honestly it just has to be seen to be believed. But I watched the movie and thought it was one of the craziest movies I’ve ever seen — so I had to read the book.

I borrowed the book from my sister and started reading right away. For me, the story was kind of slow in the beginning simply because it was almost exactly like the beginning of the movie. It was like reading a screenplay rather than a novel. My issue here was that when I was watching the movie, I was completely enthralled within five minutes. And because the first part of the book (it’s written in three parts) was exactly like the movie, I felt like I was just watching the movie. No extra juicy details they had left out, no different plot twists – just a blow-by-blow of the movie (or rather the movie was a blow-by-blow of the book…hmm…) But nonetheless, the story was great to start out with, I just already knew what to expect.

I was starting to really wish I hadn’t seen the movie first only because the writing was so amazing. Flynn is one of those authors that can make even the most unlikable characters likable, but can also take away any shred of decency in that character in an instant. In Flynn’s case it’s really more of liking the character, unliking the character, liking the character, hating both characters, etc. So, because of all this, I was really starting to get down about it. I thought I had ruined the whole book by seeing the movie. Why did I ruin such a good thing?? But then I hit the last few chapters before Part Two, and oh my god was it amazing! I got to a point where I just refused to go to bed. I was like, “Nope. I know it’s 11:30pm and I know I have to get up early tomorrow, but nope. I’m just gonna keep reading. Que sera sera.”

And thus began my absolute love for this novel. I refuse to tell you anything about the actual story of the book, but I will summarize to you what the back cover/back of the dvd allows its audience to know: On the morning of their fifth anniversary, Nick Dunne reports his wife, Amy, missing. He acts very strangely, and even lies to the police, which causes everyone in their small town, including the police, to wonder if he had anything to with her disappearance.

Sounds like a simple whodunnit, right? Nope. Just…no.

This is one of the most interesting and edge-of-your-seat movies I have seen in a really long time. But this is one of those cases where I just wish I had read the book first. The book had so much more detail, and so many more plot twists. And even the characters were slightly different after the first part! Reading the second half of the book was like someone telling you ahead of time, “Dumbledore dies!” But then reading Harry Potter and finding out *SPOILERS* Snape killed him. It’s knowing one thing and reading another.

This book was excellently written, and wonderfully executed. It was a really great book. But don’t get me wrong! The movie was spectacular!! They chose all of the actors perfectly, and they truly did a better job turning a book into a movie than a LOT of other movies based off of books I’ve seen. I would say the movie was 90% accurate to the book, and that’s a big amount of correctness.

So yes, the movie was great. But hands down the book was better. Book: 3 Movie:2.

My sister argued, however, “The book didn’t have Ben Affleck’s penis in it, so the movie automatically wins.”

Valid point.

Until next time!


To See or Not To See? That Is The Question

At my sister’s house this morning I noticed a book in her bookshelf: Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn. I’d like to preface this story by saying that my sister is not someone who likes to read. She likes the idea of reading, but can never finish a book – I love her anyway, but I give her endless crap for it. That said, she had Flynn’s book in her bookshelf, facing the room. Not with the spine showing, with the cover showing. So of course my first instinct was to say, “hey! Put that book in with the other books properly! It misses its friends!”

But then I looked at the cover, which had been altered from it’s original state so it could be recognizable for the movie’s audiences, and instead started thinking about just how much I want to see that movie. It looks amazing! It’s like a well-written Lifetime movie! The book-lover in me tells me to read the book first and then see the movie, which I had originally decided. But is it always better to read the book first?

Here’s the thing: if you’re not planning on reading the book, then you should by all means see the movie. But what if you want to read the book and see the movie? It’s a toss up! We’re all guilty of seeing a film first and then being so excited about the movie that you want to read the book. Usually, you read the book afterward and realize just how much more amazing the book was and you wish you had read it first. Especially because now you picture the actors as the characters!

However, I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I’m generally an advocate of reading the book first, don’t get me wrong. But picturing actors is natural, and I find it really helpful a lot of the time. For example, I read The Hunger Games series before the movies came out and I loved the books. After seeing the first two movies I re-read the series and pictured the amazing Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss. Let me tell you… she is an AMAZING Katniss!!!! When I picture J-Law as the main character, I’m thrilled! I see the features perfectly, I can picture her facial expressions, and it’s wonderful! When I try to think of the character I used to picture before seeing Lawrence as Katniss, I actually remember a different actress that I mistakenly thought looked exactly like the character – Lawrence wins as Katniss. So what’s the difference? If I’m going to end up picturing celebrities as my protagonists anyway, why not see the movie and picture their flawlessness??

I mean, Ben Affleck is in the new Gone Girl movie. Is it really that bad to have to picture Ben Affleck when you’re reading? NO! (I’d like to mention this now, because I won’t get the opportunity again – hate me if you will: I prefer Matt Damon.)

So what’s the big deal in seeing the movie first? Other than the bragging rights you get to have (“I already read the book so I know what happens at the end so if you don’t buy me the large popcorn/drink combo I’ll tell you the end of the story before we watch”) I don’t really think there’s a huge problem with it! I’m a big re-reader. Some of my favorite books I’ve read maybe 10-15 times. A lot of those books have been turned into movies, and honestly I really don’t mind picturing an actor as the main character, or the villain, or even just the butler. I like having a more vivid idea of what the character looks like, talks like, and what their expressions are. I like thinking of the characters as real life people, and sometimes seeing the movie first helps with that!

So my deliberation: if you like a bit of risk, see the movie first! It’s not always bad, and then when you read the book after you see it, you get the same story but in so much more vivid detail! So next time a book turned movie comes out, try seeing the movie first. Maybe you’ll like it!

Until next time!