Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Books to Movies: The Prestige vs. The Prestige

Adam C. Zern shares his thoughts on the film adaptation of Christopher Priest's The Prestige:

"The Prestige the film is one of those films that many people remember to some degree—'oh, yeah, that magic movie'—but can't quite fill in the details.  I saw The Prestige in the theater with eager anticipation knowing it was made by the same filmmaker of Batman Begins.  I was not disappointed; it's a fascinating movie, albeit very dark, which makes the unreal feel disconcertingly real and provides one of the finest revenge stories of all time.  I was surprised when I found out it was based on a novel of the same name by Christopher Priest.  I stumbled across it at the Book Warehouse on the cheap and couldn't pass it up.

The book has the same unforgettable quality.  There are scenes in that book that are forever fastened in my imagination.  The Prestige the novel is creepy but not grotesque; it's thought-provoking without being gratuitous.  It's a good book without being brilliant.  The film and the book feel similar but are, in the end, distinct stories.  The film is far more focused than the book, which isn't surprising considering the time limitations that modern film audiences expect.  Having said that, I wouldn't necessarily say the additional detail and sub-plots in the book make it anymore affecting than if it had a more streamlined story like the film.  Taken together, the book and film coupling is a solid brew of entertainment.  They won't be regarded as classics, but I regard them, especially the film, in high regard.

One nice thing about the film and the book is that they're pretty intriguing stories that exist in relative obscurity.  (Granted, that obscurity is greatly reduced now since Christopher Nolan has become a well-known director making $1 billion grossing films).  There is far more to enjoy and discover than the best-selling books by Dan Brown, J.K. Rowling, or James Patterson, a whole lot more.  Sometimes picking up a book you know nothing or little about pays off, and sometimes it doesn't.  In the case of The Prestige, book and film, I think it's a good bet."

1 comment:

  1. I'm actually glad I saw the movie before I read Christopher Priest's novel. That way, I thought I knew all the plot twist, but I was wrong. It's nice to be surprised.