Last Saturday night, my husband and I had a date night. We’d had the babysitter lined up for weeks. And we had a plan, or so we thought.
Dinner. Grand Budapest Hotel. Home.
But, as it turns out, show times for the delightful film we’d planned on seeing didn’t jibe with our babysitter’s timeframe and I wasn’t about to shell out even more moolah to make her stay later.
So, we adjusted. And ended up seeing a huge blockbuster on opening weekend. Which is extremely rare for us, given we tend only to see a handful of movies per year and we usually stumble into the theater when they’re a hair’s breadth away from extinction-til-DVD.
The movie? Divergent.
As in the movie based on book one of a very popular series.
A series I haven’t read.
A series I’ve never been particularly interested in reading, to be honest.
I have plenty on my to-be-read list that I’d put ahead of something bleak and dystopian. Basically, I loved The Hunger Games, but after that I was kind of done thinking about different ways we’d live after the world was pretty much destroyed. Call me an optimist.
However, it ended up being our date night movie of choice because:
1. We were going to a theater with assigned seating and a minimum age of 18, and thus, didn’t have to deal with crowds. (Thank God for Alamo Drafthouse.)
2. The movie was already getting rave reviews by critics and just plain moviegoers alike.
3. Even if it sucked, I’d get to look at Theo James (aka the man who died in Lady Mary’s bed in the first season of Downton Abbey) for two hours, thus the scenery would be pretty. Yes, that’s him above.
So, we went.
And you know what? I really liked it. Great stakes, tension, etc. Though, pretty, pretty Theo James really was the highlight for moi.
That said, I was wondering if it would’ve been different if I’d read the books.
I often try to read the book before I see the movie version (e.g. Hunger Games, as mentioned above), because I want to support the authors and gain some perspective on what was really intended.
Though, I’ve noticed that sometimes this leaves me let down by the movie version. With The Hunger Games, I actually thought the first movie was really tough to follow if you hadn’t read the book. The second movie did much better with this, but I’m not sure if people who hadn’t read the book and saw the first movie would’ve come back to the second movie unless they were just there to ogle Jennifer Lawrence the same way I’d planned on ogling Theo James on Saturday night.
Other times, I’ve only found out the movie was a book after seeing the movie. Actually, this happens a lot. The Oscar darling of 2013, Silver Linings Playbook, is the prime example in my mind. Saw the movie and loved it, then found out it was a book and ordered it.
Would I have liked Silver Linings Playbook so much if I’d read the book first?
I’d like to think so, but it’s impossible to tell.
Do you find reading a book before seeing the film version affects your experience?