The book is better
Last week, my girlfriend and I finished watching the TV series The Lost Symbol, based on Dan Brown’s book about his now famous character Robert Landon. You’ve probably seen him portrayed before by Tom Hanks in The Da Vinci Code or the other two Langdon movies.
We enjoyed watching The Lost Symbol. But it wasn’t quite as good as the book. My main problem was the casting of a young actor to portray Robert Langdon. I wasn’t really buying a young guy as someone with tons of historic knowledge. In the books Robert Langdon is a middle aged professor, so Tom Hanks was a much better fit.
Today we watched another TV series: Reacher, on Amazon Prime. Again, a show based on a book series, and of which there also exist a few movies: the Jack Reacher movies, starring that other Tom, Tom Cruise, as the titular character.
In this case, I liked the TV show better. We binged the entire season in one day, we just couldn’t stop. It’s not that Tom Cruise didn’t do a good Jack Reacher. He knows how to do action movies like no other. At the time, I really enjoyed the movies.
It wasn’t until after I watched the movies that I learned that in the books by Lee Child, the character of Jack Reacher is described as a really big guy. Tom Cruise may be bigger than life, but in reality he’s a pretty short man.
For the TV show they cast someone with an appearance much truer to the book: the massive Alan Ritchson. He’s probably twice the size of Tom Cruise. This makes all the difference for the character.
In the case of Robert Langdon, I read all the books before I watched the movies and now the TV show. That influenced my experience of course.
In the case of Jack Reacher, it’s the other way around. I haven’t read any of the books, though it’s been on my to do list to read at least one of the novels, ever since I learned Lee Child is one of the favorite writers of Malcolm Gladwell (who is one of my favorite writers).
So now I’m even more curious about the books. I’m going to buy a Jack Reacher novel tomorrow. I’m hoping, or even expecting, the book to be better. I’m already looking forward to reading it.