I was browsing through the DVDs at Walmart and saw a movie I had not seen for a long time. The film is Where The Red Fern Grows and it is based upon an awesome book (of the same name) written by Wilson Rawls. More often than not, movies made from books are terrible, but this particular one was exceedingly well done back in 1974. Though I didn't recognize the images on the cover, I remembered enjoying it very much when I was young, so I picked it up right away.
As we gathered around the television - my wife and I relishing sharing this experience with our boys - my wife and I were confused because we didn't remember the people in the movie nor the images being displayed. It was still an enjoyable movie however, so we chalked it up to fading memories from times long past.
After the movie was over (my wife wiping away a tear or two, no not me, I didn't cry. I swear), I looked up the movie on IMDB and was surprised to find out the version we had just watched was a remake done in 2003 (as you can see in the two images here):
Now if it can be truly said that movies made from books are usually terrible, remakes of these types of movies are even worse. I was pleasantly surprised however, to find that this remake was decently done, and neither of us had even noticed the difference until it was all over.
If you have never had the pleasure of reading this book (I will be heading to Amazon to find another copy right after this), you really need to pick it up. And if you've not seen the film, I can honestly say either version does a decent job of portraying an excellent story. The earlier one is probably the better of course, but the one created in 2003 wasn't bad at all.
What I enjoy most about movies like this is how well the author's voice resonates in this alternate medium. Sure, there's an actor (Kris Kristofferson in the new version) speaking the lines, but the honesty and heart of the words speak louder than the person mouthing them. I'll take a good book over a movie any day, but I can't ignore how movies like this seep into my bones and grab the writer within me. It's similar to how the movie Stranger Than Fiction inspired me to pick up the virtual pen and become a writer again after years of absence. Much like a good book will cause my soul to soar, movies like these have a similar effect.
Do you ever feel this way about certain movies or songs? Do you seek them out from time to time as I seem to do?