Watching a movie, if you haven't read the book that it's based on, can be very confusing. I generally prefer to read the book before it is made into a movie. I enjoy picking up subtle references, nuances and fully understanding the plot if it's become disjointed. The Harry Potter movies are a prime example of the movie not able to capture all tiny details because it would make a more than two and half hour movie. Likewise, the recent Watchmen movie cut the secondary plot from the original graphic novel and made it into a second straight-to-DVD movie. Streamlining the plot is essential in a movie, but I always enjoy knowing more of the back story.
However, you do not always get the luxury of reading beforehand, or even knowing that it was based on a book. When I started watching the HBO series, True Blood, I neglected to notice that it was based on the Southern Vampire Mysteries, otherwise known as the Sookie Stackhouse series, by Charlaine Harris. After several recent glowing recommendations, I've ordered the series on Amazon. I'm very excited for the series to arrive in the mail in the next week.
Here are a few notable recommendations:
The James Bond Series by Ian Fleming are rather fun and easy reads. They are quite fast paced and intriguing too. From Russia, With Love was my favorite book and the Sean Connery version is awesome too.
Stardust by Neil Gaiman was my first graphic novel and it was made into a stunning movie. The characters were portrayed beautifully, especially Claire Danes as Yvaine. Robert De Niro's character Captain Shakespeare was a scene stealer in the book and movie too.
I’m hoping that the Time Traveler’s Wife coming out soon will make a good movie. Rachel McAdams is even more beautiful than I imagined the main character and she's totally sweet and innocent just like Clare Abshire.
Ultimately, I'm very curious about Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand being made into a movie. There's rumors on imdb.com that it'll coming out in 2011. The main character, Dagny Taggart, is such a strong and powerful, independant woman, driven and forthright. Ayn Rand and Dagny Taggart introduced me to "rational selfishness". How could any mortal play this dynamic woman?