30 Day Movie Challenge: Day 17: Least favourite book adaptation

30 06 2011

A few years ago, a friend had posted a list compiled by the BBC of 100 Classic books and collections, claiming that the average person has read six out of the hundred.  You could go over the list and see which books you read/hadn’t read and see if you were better than the average person.  So I did that, and I had a grand total of… insert drum roll here… seven!  I’m slightly better than average!  Huzzahs are in order.  I had another friend go over the list and she had read almost everything.  Man, was I jealous.

After doing that, I set out to read as many books on that list as I could, and one of the ones on the list was Audrey Niffenegger’s The Time Traveler’s Wife.  Like you, I thought it was going to be a sappy, boring romance story with some fantasy thrown in, but it turned out to be way more profound and deeper.  The two main characters are deeply flawed, and very modern (they’re in punk music, for one).  The time travel aspect of the book is also really interesting and it deals with the science and science fiction of it pretty well, I must say.

I asked my twin sister if she had read the book and she said she had, and had also seen the movie but she warned me: “Whatever you do, DON’T watch the movie.”  So naturally, after I was done, I watched it.

And oh god.

They diluted the charisma and wonderful, unique characterization of the leads into horrible stereotypes.  Claire, for one, is turned into the typical “I’m a woman so I must want a child” character; their interesting anecdotes are lost in the movie; and Henry time travels abruptly all the time, while in the novel it is mainly due to stress — ie. there’s a reason for it and it’s not random.  It’s cliché-filled, which the book is against and apart from the time traveling, it feels like a run-of-the-mill Hollywood film.  Ugh.

I should’ve listened to my sister.  On the other hand, watching the movie made me appreciate the novel and really, just writing and literature that much more.