Book vs. Movie: Unbroken

Ah, yes. The age old debate. Which was better? The book or the movie? This is a tough question because in most cases I find that the people who enjoyed the book they read, find it incredibly difficult to keep a truly open mind about the movie. Why? Because we read it first before it was popular! It’s childish — maybe a little bit “hipster” to say we read it first before it was cool, but that’s the way it is. Chronic readers have this shared goal with one another: to read as many books as possible, as quickly as possible. So when we read a book that comes out and then three years later they start advertising the movie, we’re all like, “hey! I read that book!!” and tell everyone we possibly can that we’ve read that book first.

I do this all the time. The most recent case is for the new movie Unbroken. This a very sensitive case for me because a) I truly loved the book; B) I truly loved this man’s story; And c) they changed the name completely!!! The book I read, written by Louis Zamperini and David Rensin, called Devil at My Heels, was Zamperini’s first book about his real life triumphs and tribulations before, during and after World War II. I won’t spoil the movie or book for anyone, but this man endured being in the 1936 Olympics in Germany and meeting Hitler, being lost at sea, and being taken into a Japanese prison camp… And he lived to tell the tale.

The book was spectacular. I thought it had the right amount of conversational tone, without the topics he was discussing being taken lightly, or as something to shrug off your shoulders. It had an important message about forgiveness, but it wasn’t preachy. It was just an all around amazing story and novel. So when I began seeing trailers for the new movie Unbroken that Angelina Jolie had directed, I was thrilled. I figured, ‘hey, they changed the title, but the title of the book is a bit long for a movie, so that’s understandable.’ That was until I went to Barnes and Noble and found the newly published book called Unbroken, rewritten and published to suit the movie! Furious. I was furious. How could they do such a thing? Take this man’s life story and rewrite it to make the movie more money? On a logical, business side I completely understand it. I’m sure a lot of the money the movie and this new book makes is going straight to the recently deceased man’s family, which is admirable. But as a reader, and someone who loved the book, I was disappointed.

That said, my boyfriend and I went to see the movie together when it came out and I was actually really excited. Despite my disappointment of the new book, I still loved Louis’ story and thought anything Angelina Jolie directed must be amazing. So I had a really open mind. To my surprise, it was nearly exact to the book. They left out little pieces, and most of the end when he crusades for religion, but I can understand that – religion is a touchy subject. But it was a great movie.

So, now I have a dilemma. Book versus movie.

The verdict is not surprising: Book! Book! Book! But I have to say, this one gave me a run for my money. Even with my appreciation for the movie – the effects, the way it was shot, and, of course, the actors (who were amazing, by the way) – it still didn’t cut it for me.

First book vs movie tally? Book: 1 Movie: 0

Until next time, read to your hearts content!!!