Book vs. Movie

I have had plenty of heartbreaking experiences where I have read and loved a book, then watched the movie and was flabbergasted by how BAD it was, so I prepared to watch this movie with trepidation. However, I was pleasantly surprised to discover that Slaughterhouse-Five is a much better movie than I anticipated! It stays very faithful to the original text, (plus or minus a few things) but doesn’t quite manage to convey the same undertones. But of course, because it was made in the seventies, the special effects look a little ridiculous, which I overlooked.

Two major differences between the two are the beginning and the ending.

 The entire first chapter of the book is omitted, hence the characters of Kurt Vonnegut and his “old war buddy” are also removed from the entirety of the movie.  This doesn’t really affect the storyline and is an appropriate cut, if a disappointing one.

The movie ending has a Hollywood-acceptable happy ending on Trafalmadore, but the books ends more ambiguously, with Billy in a sketchy porn store. I thought this was an odd choice on the director’s behalf, but one could interpret it as highlighting one of the themes of the book: One is going to live and relive every moment, so try to make most of them happy ones.

The bombing scene was rather underwhelming, but I also felt the same when reading the book. There probably is not an accurate way of portraying such a horrible massacre, especially if one lived through it, but I was expecting the movie version to do the event justice.

There are other minor alterations, and we also never see a Trafalmadorian, even though we are granted a description in the novel, but overall it was a solid movie with excellent casting, especially the lead role. I scoured the Internet for a clip, but I couldn’t find one. Here’s the movie poster though:


~ by vsoitgoes on January 5, 2009.

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