I went to see Mortal Instruments: City of Bones this weekend. I really enjoyed it.
If I’m honest, I have to admit the main reason I chose to go was to see how they handled the Plot Twist Which Must Not Be Named. (That’s a lot to type. Let’s call it PTWMNBN, or PeeTeebDubs for short.)
You see, I’ve read the first three books of the Mortal Instruments series so I knew about PeeTeeDubs. In fact, I lamented and stewed and gasped over PeeTeeDubs for almost 2 whole books before it was resolved.
But the thing is…I kept reading. There was no way I was going to stop until PeeTeeDubs was resolved. That, my friends, is what all writers hope to achieve. The page-turner. The “I-don’t-care-if-I-sleep-tonight-I-have-to-know-what-happens-next” syndrome. That’s what Cassandra Clare did with Mortal Instruments.
I attended the movie with two people, one of which I updated constantly as I was reading through the first three books, and another person who was only vaguely familiar with story. While we all three enjoyed it, I think I got to most out of it. Why? Because I knew what the characters were thinking because I had already been in their heads. In movies, sometimes even the very best actors can’t portray every thought, motivation and nuance of a character. Books can. And do so if they’re written well.
Books are also better than movies at providing a personal connection. When I read about a place that isn’t Central Arkansas 2013, I use my imagination and experiences in the world to conjure up setting. While the sets/costumes/characters themselves in Mortal Instruments were fabulous, I prefer the sets/costumes/characters in my head. (Only one time has my head matched exactly what I saw on screen. That was the Shrieking Shack in Harry Potter. Does this mean my mind works exactly like JK Rowling? Yeah, let’s go with that.) Great writers provide just enough setting to ground you and leave just enough room for your imagination to fly on its own.
And my imagination did fly when I read the series. I spent a lot of time trying to figure out how PeeTeeDubs was going to end because it couldn’t be… I mean, she wouldn’t really…would she…?
I have to admit when movie PeeTeeDubs first appeared, I felt cheated. PeeTeeDubs was addressed and dismissed with one simple line. A few words and all the movie-goers already know the truth about PeeTeeDubs. My first reaction was NO WAY, I HAD TO GO THROUGH PAGES AND CHAPTERS AND BOOKS to know the truth.
But when I started thinking about it, I realized I wasn’t cheated at all. The journey to the resolution of PeeTeeDubs was far more rewarding than one line of dialog could ever be. For me, anyway. And now I feel bad for the movie viewers who didn’t get to experience the agony of not knowing.
And that’s why books will always > movies.
To me, anyway.
Disclaimer: all opinions on books and/or movies in this blog are mine. I’m entitled to them. And you’re entitled to your own, even if they don’t match up. I’m good with that and I hope you are too.