How many times have you left a movie theater shaking your head and thinking, “Boy, the book sure was better than the movie!” That’s because books tend to take place in the character’s thoughts and emotions; movies, by their action. Books packed with action or plot-driven books tend to make the best movies.
Most of the time, I agree with the idea that the book is better than the movie. There was only one exception: The Princess Bride, which I thought was a far better movie, thanks especially to Mandy Patinkin’s dead-on portrayed of Inigo Montoya. No one will ever forget the infamous, “Halllo! My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father; prepare to die!” line thanks to the way Patinkin delivers it. One exception, that is, until I finished read Forrest Gump.
It’s the second time the movie is far superior to the book.
Actually, the movie resembles so little of the book…it’s amazing they even called it by the same name.
Did you love the movie? I love it. I watch it every time it’s on television. It’s on my list of favorite movies of all time. Anytime I hear the song Freebird, I think of the scene where Jenny is on the balcony, ready to jump because of her misery. Anytime I hear the songs from that movie, I picture the scene. “Run, Forrest, run!” is another line, like “You killed my father; prepare to die” that people like to quote.
Unfortunately, it’s not in the book.
Nothing is in the book.
Wait. There’s a guy named Forrest, a character named Bubba who talks about shrimp, Jenny, and Lt. Dan.
And that’s about the size of it.
The book is told in the first person from Forrest’s point of you. None of the poignant childhood scenes from the movie are in the book. Instead, Jenny is just a casual friend he has a crush on and goes to a movie with. No school bus, no life is like a box of chocolates. Forrest gets drafted, goes to Vietnam, meets Bubba, but he meets Lt. Dan in the hospital. And Lt. Dan is a mild mannered guy who lies on his hospital bed stoically philosophizing about life.
I could go on and on, but you get the drift. This book is like a fairy tale or a tall tale; it’s not meant to be ready literally. It reminds me of 100 Days of Solitude or Like Water for Chocolate with the surrealism elements in it. Neither are favorites of mine, so perhaps that’s why I didn’t like this book very much. I was also expecting something like the movie. Maybe that’s expecting too much. I knew that many of the plot elements would change. That’s just the nature of books made into movies. Often they can’t follow the exact plot, or include your favorite scenes or characters, and I’ve sort of grown to expect that. But this was an amazing feat; a movie that barely resembled the book.
Made me wonder who the author knew in Hollywood just to get the movie made, because if I read that book first, the last thing on my mind would have been, “Hey! Yeah! Let’s make a movie outta this!”
Forrest Gump. Skip the book. Adore the movie.
And that’s all I have to say about that.