I just finished reading Atonement , by Ian McEwan. It is a beautifully written novel. The first few chapters are well executed character sketches and the story moves along well to the end.
Reading complete, I decided to rent the movie version from the inside of a hotel room last night. I was disappointed. It was disjointed and hard to follow at times, even for someone who had read the book.
Maybe because I had read the book, I expected the screenplay to flow as well as the novel. Much was compressed, understandably. If the entire book had been translated to the screen, intermissions would have had to be replaced with dinner and a night of sleep.
I actually think the compression was done well, and the story, true to the novel. But, for me, it fell short.
It is a good example why we must still read, not simply sit stone-faced before a screen, for screens have no depth. Only a novel has the latitude to explore the depths of tale and character. And in that, the magic to spark imagination in the uninspired.