Have you ever read a book and instantly seen the movie version already? That’s what I consistently tell the boys about reading–it’s your own private move inside your head. Some books, some characters, some stories are just so vivid on the page that you can’t imagine anyone else’s version being better than the one you’ve already seen inside your mind. And then, you do see the commercial venture and think, “Yes, they got it right!” or “How utterly horrible!” Usually, there’s not much in between.
G and I read these books a few years ago and wondered immediately how they would translate to film. She read them first and I lay next to her on the bed, reading my own choices and watched her reactions, eagerly waiting until she finished each volume and sushing her from giving anything away so I could have my fun and make my movie. I confess, when I started the first book, it was slow going for the first 50 or so pages. “What is the big deal with these books?” I remember thinking to myself. Then, I turned a page and all of a sudden, I was on a roller coaster ride that didn’t stop for two and a half more books!
Shortly after we finished reading, we discovered all three books had been turned into films in their native language. We managed to find them on Netflix, and thoroughly enjoyed the characters embodied in flesh and blood, the main story that was honored, the side stories that had to be cut for the most visual impact.
Later, we went to see the American version, and found it powerful, difficult to watch, and ultimately true to the story. Writing this post has made me realize it’s probably time for a re-read soon. We’ve recycled two of the three, so the third volume is the only one we still have, but I’m sure you’ll know the first two: