It is the age-old debate: read the book or watch the movie first?
Book lovers everywhere will usually readily scream: "The book! The book! It's always better!"
Movie lovers tend to say: "Watching the movie lets me know if I'd be interested in the book."
A bibliophile knows, however, that many books are not well-adapted to the screen. Sometimes it is just near impossible to adapt a book into a screenplay. Other times the adaptation is a haphazard hodgepodge of the book, and the movie makes no sense because of it (Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, anyone?).
I love movies almost as much as books, perhaps even the same, but I do recognize that watching a movie before reading the book is always a gamble. I have had both good and bad experiences with watching the movie first.
-Possession I loved the movie and couldn't wait to read the book, which I also enjoyed.
-Breakfast at Tiffany's I first saw this movie years ago before I even realized it was a book. I finally read it in 2007 or 2008 and although they were not as similar as I thought they would be, I was still able to appreciate both the book and the movie.
-The Bone Collector I still like the movie better than the book. And the book did not offer that many more details than were in the movie. A little more about the romance between the main characters and that was it.
-Julius Caesar I actually could understand what was taking place in the story because I had watched it on film. So I could usually decipher a particularly thorny line or stanza with the help of knowing what was supposed to happen next.
-Angela's Ashes This movie was so real and so raw and so gritty that I had a hard time getting into the book when I picked it up. It just paled in comparison to the movie experience.
-The Fellowship of the Ring I will probably never pick up J.R. Tolkein's trilogy because I couldn't get into the movie more than it was worth watching once.
-Gone With the Wind I could not sit through this epic film. It was so slow. I was bored. I don't see how I could deal with the chunky novel.
What about you? What kind of experiences have you had with watching the movie before reading the book? Do you have more good or not so good experiences? Is there anything in particular that may make you reach for the DVD before the book? What is it?