Book vs. Movie: Fahrenheit 451 (1966+2018)

Hey guys!
Today I have a classic for you. As the iconic novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury got a new adaptation this year, I was inspired to finally see all there about this story!

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Cover from Goodreads)

Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury (Cover from Goodreads)

 

The Plot:
In a time where fireman don’t put out fires but ignite them, reading has become a crime. Books are banished and even owning one is punished. Amidst totalitarian times like these, fireman Guy Montag begins to rethink his life…

 

Book vs. Movie:
Let’s kick off with the novel.
I know this book is famous and praised by critics and fans alike. However, I’m not exactly over the moon. The story and the topics are relevant and Bradbury provides a lot of food for thought. My problem is his writing style and the pace of the story. While the ideas fascinate me, the story bored me. I can’t put my finger on what it is exactly that annoyed me, but I wasn’t excited or thrilled by this book. It just felt flat to me, just as one-dimensional as a world without books. Furthermore, I was rather disappointed with the representation of women in this novel. Bradbury wrote in 1953 and was imagining some far away future, so you might expect him to be a bit diverse with his female characters. However, women generally appear to be brain-washed ideas who are incapable of thinking on their own. There is one exception, but Clarisse also wasn’t a character I liked. She was just weird and irritating, which clearly didn’t help with enjoying the book.

Maybe it works better on-screen, so let’s talk about the first adaptation by Francois Truffaut in 1966. First of all, it’s cool that the main role is played by an Austrian actor. You don’t see that too often! Seeing it all visualized helped bringing some of the ideas across and added in terms of intensity. But in general, the film was missing something, just like the book. The idea is important but the story built around it just doesn’t do the trick for me. It’s not Truffaut’s fault, he made the best film you could with the story given and the effects at hand at that time.

For the 2018 adaptation a few aspects of the story were changed, whereas the 1966 film stays very close to the book. The pace is faster than in the novel and it’s definitely flashier than the older movie. The internet was added as an important factor but to be honest, that felt a bit irritating. I enjoyed how the added something like Siri/Alexa as it hits close to home. Not only the changes were crucial but it did make the film less flat. What I am missing with this adaptation is the intensity of Montag internal struggle. They tried hard but ultimately this adaptation is still a bit one-dimensional.

So far neither the original book nor any of the adaptation have fully convinced me. While I consider the idea behind Bradbury’s story to be important and fascinating, the plot he spun around it is not. For an adaptation to be really intense, I guess you’d have to take the idea but re-invent the story and do something completely different.

 

Did you read the book? Watch the movie? Let me know in the comments what you think!

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One thought on “Book vs. Movie: Fahrenheit 451 (1966+2018)

  1. Pingback: Top 5 Tuesday: books with books | The Punk Theory

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