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Topics - DustinFedora

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Off Topic / Books (and movies)
« on: October 29, 2015, 08:23:18 pm »
On Tuesday I checked No Country for Old Men and A Clockwork Orange out of the library, and then on Wednesday we get into a discussions of books and their multimedia adaptations. On Thursday I get to thinking about books I've liked that have been made into famous or recent movies and TV shows, and the list got pretty long.

So here they are (in no particular order). I heartily recommend all of them.

Lord of the Rings Trilogy
Obviously the movies couldn't show everything, even at their length, but the focus of the two presentations is quite different. The movies focus on characters, while the books focus much more on the world and give a greater sense to the reader that regardless of the outcome of the war, the world is changing hugely and permanently.

The Book Thief
I haven't seen the movie but the book lives up to the hype. It is beautiful and terrible.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
The movie couldn't quite fit in everything, but it did a surprisingly good job. Still, the book is far more detailed and haunting. The English translation is a bit wonky in parts and pretty poorly edited, so be warned if the occasional odd phrase is something that will distract you.

Watchmen
Simply mind-boggling in depth, complexity, and richness, its stark portrayal of humanity is one of the best of the last century. The movie is a god-awful heap of sex and violence, the epitome of a filmmaker taking brilliant source material and turning it into pure exploitation.

Starship Troopers
Don't let the army talk and aliens and fancy future stuff fool you. This is a book about social and political philosophy, but the sci-fi stuff is still necessary to give it follow-through. The movie got the Mario 2 treatment where someone was already making a thing when the name became available, so they took it, slapped on a new coat of paint, and released it. It bears no resemblance to the book, and also happens to be a pretty dumb flick.

The Great Gatsby
is a poignant and captivating analysis of the American Dream. The 2013 movie was frantic and unfocused. And Toby Macguire sucks.

Dune
I didn't see the more TV miniseries, but the 1984 movie (the one with Sting and Patrick Stewart), pretty well captured the atmosphere of utter strangeness which pervades the book and the characters in it. The book aims at broader issues than the movie, and on the whole succeeds.

The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes
I found the movies fun if a little empty and the books entertaining, but the BBC series Sherlock is the best of the bunch. The Sherlock of Sherlock is quite different from the original Sherlock and far more dynamic. The books benefit from the single-person perspective though, giving the reader more interpretive freedom than the viewer.

Ender's Game
I think if I had read this book earlier in life I would have turned out a better person. It really is that compelling. The movie was (I hope) aimed at a younger audience but at least touched on most of the key points.

Les Miserables
If you've ever wanted to delve as deeply as possible into every thought, action, and emotion of several intertwining lives over the course of decades, this book's for you. It's written poetically and jubilantly, exhilarating in the beauty of the human soul while analyzing its shortcomings. I haven't seen enough of any of the movies to comment on them, but I enjoy the music from the musical very much.

Harry Potter and all the Things
Fun books set in a rich, well-realized world, they're perfect for expanding the imagination. I saw the first movie when it came out, swore not to see another, got tricked into seeing the second, and haven't seen any more. By most accounts they got better after that.

The Bourne Identity
After about the first 45 minutes, the book and the movie diverge massively, and neither is worse off it as the three Bourne movies cover about as much content as the first Bourne book. The story is a gripping and surprisingly nuanced tale of intrigue and self-discovery amidst the most chaotic conditions possible. Good times.

Game of Thrones
The classic tale of a TV show trying to be too faithful to the book and suffering for it. Once the show figured out who they wanted to focus on and which were the stories they wanted to tell it got a lot better, though I've seen only bits and pieces since the end of Season 2. The books are a ludicrously rich tapestry of the best and worst humanity has to offer, with enough other-worldly elements to mirror our own struggle with forces seemingly beyond our control.

...and the movie tie-in gives me a flimsy excuse to mention
Catch-22
and
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
which I cannot have a discussion of books without plugging. Both are excellent stories of a man's struggle against a seemingly insane universe. Guide is wackier and more satirical. Catch-22 is darker and deeper and my personal favorite novel.

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Forum Administration / Member Access Request
« on: May 14, 2015, 01:06:15 am »
Deeztreesmon speaking. DustinFedora#1263 is my battlenet ID.

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