Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Compare and Contrast, “Into the Wild” Book versus Movie

In reading the novel, "Into the Wild" by Jon Krakauer and then watching it in movie format by Sean Penn, there were obviously similarities and differences even though the film was adapted from the book. The story line is the same in both the novel and the movie about Christopher McCandless’s journey into the wild and his death that became of it. Sean Penn took a different spin by neglecting to tell some of the important details, and then putting others in that weren’t in the book. However, some of the dialog from the book is in the film as well. It goes to show when two people tell the same story, it’s almost impossible to have it exactly the same since they’re telling it from different perspectives.
The first noticeable difference was that the book was written from the author’s point of view as he tells the story of Chris based on interviews with family and friends and the movie was narrated by the character that played Chris’s sister. In the novel, it tells of Chris’s parents visiting the bus shortly after he died and in the movie, that piece is left out. Penn and the crew shot the movie in 36 locations where McCandless traveled, not including the Alaskan bus where he passed away, because he felt it would be an invasion of privacy to have the whole crew down there. Some of the relationships that he encountered are in the film, but not mentioned in the book. In both the book and the movie, the story goes back and forth between past and present, and both used labels to indicate sections. Finally, the film has the use of visuals and music that the book obviously cannot capture.
At one point I questioned why Krakauer told of his own journey to climb the Devil's Thumb, but now feel that was helpful to me in having a better insight of the journey it would be. I especially liked that the book and movie had people involved in telling the story that were really invested and deeply touched by what happened to Chris and were able to convey that message to their audience. The scenery, the plot, the music, and the acting were all great in the movie. The book was a good read and I got a lot from it, but together with the movie, it gave me a clearer image of what Chris faced and it made it seem more realistic to me. I can’t say I liked one more than the other since they complement each other very well. Overall, both did well to shed some light on Chris’s life and I would highly recommend both the book and movie, “Into the Wild” to audiences of all ages for leisure reading and viewing.

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