There’s a lingering debate that centers on the idea about whether or not a story’s film adaptation is better than the book. Take Dan Brown’s best-selling novel The Da Vinci Code, for instance.
The 2003 book broke the grounds of mystery thrillers by blurring a fine line between fact and fiction. It presented intriguing thoughts that left readers frazzled in such a way wherein various sectors in society argued about certain events in the story. Conversely, the 2006 film did the same, albeit in a more visually and auditory-enhancing way.
The Da Vinci Code made such an impact in modern-day pop culture that some of its likenesses are even being used in something as contrasting as mobile gaming. One of the UK’s biggest gaming platforms, Pocketfruity, has an online slot game dedicated to the works of Leonardo Da Vinci. In a way, this just scratches the surface of the novel’s, and its characters’, influence on contemporary culture and trends.
Now, in terms of weighing the actual significance and impact of the book and the movie, like almost everything in life, there are always pros and cons, comparisons and contrasts. Below is a short rundown of their similarities and differences: (Warning: major spoilers up ahead!)
The Da Vinci Code is one of those tales in which both versions closely resembled each other. They started practically the same way, with an albino monk murdered Sophie Neveu’s grandfather at the Louvre, and all the imminent events in the prologue. In their own ways, both gave the audience a better understanding of the plot. Also, the novel and the film effectively established and later on shaped Sir Leigh Teabing as its main antagonist. It’s one of the key components in the storyline that actually left readers and viewers on the edge of their seats. Lastly, they featured the same ending where the main protagonist, Robert Langdon, finds the Holy Grail. This happening is arguably the most noteworthy, as it opened the doors for future sequels.
On the other hand, due to the numerous limitations in movies when it comes to length and other issues, the film adaptation didn’t cover the two vital “cryptexes” (an author-created neologsm) in the book. Some of those who read it may recall that these were unlocked using two passwords: Sofya and Apple. Additionally in the novel, Sophie reunites with her family, as well as her long-lost brother, from whom she was alienated for the sake of protecting the bloodline; in the film, she didn’t get to see even a semblance of her brother. Furthermore, during the tail end of the movie, Bishop Manuel Aringarosa manipulated Captain Fache into hunting down Robert and Sophie. However, in the book, the bishop was just a typical pawn in Teabing’s grand master plan.
It doesn’t matter whether one read the book, watched the movie, or both, as excellent narratives aren’t solely determined by its overall scope. Yes, some stories fit well in the big screen, while others are given better justice in books. At the end of the day, debating which one’s better – the novel or the film – should only evoke a friendly, intelligent discussion among peers.
Do you have a favorite or least favorite movie/book adaptation?