Originally Posted by Pugnax555
Hmm, I haven't seen any mention of anyone here actually having read
the book. There were a few mentions that it exists, but that's it.
My personal opinion is that it's a great post-modern novel, which I've read several times over the past 6 or 7 years. The movie was decent, but didn't particularly capture the essence of Mitchell's work. There's something beautiful about the way the various stories unfold in the book, very much like a puzzle box. That whole concept was thrown out the window for the movie, which almost arbitrarily jumped between the different stories/settings. Yes, it was a competent attempt at an adaptation, and I do give the Wachowskis a lot of credit for that attempt. But ultimately, I do think it fell quite short in what it was trying to do. Maybe I'll rent it now that it's available on disc, but I'll continue going back to the book when I want to revisit these stories.
I agree with you about the elegance and effectiveness of the novel's construction, but disagree that the film's is less effective, and definitely disagree that it's "almost arbitrary."
It's different, for sure, as is the film's entire spin on the meaning of the source material. But far from being arbitrary, this film's editing is its very essence -- it's how it connects the larger meanings to the individual scenes, and it's how it makes one story out of six.
It's certainly less literary and much more cinematic than the book, of course, but like the book it uses the tropes and conventions not only of its art form, but of the individual genres that it emulates. In the book these are literary pastiches; in the movie they are of course visual.
My favorite kind of film adaptation is one that becomes a worthy companion to the book it's based on. One where the book can be re-read and the movie re-watched and they complement, resonate, expand, and even comment on each other. This is a brilliant movie based on a brilliant book, and that they both exist enriches both. Everybody wins.