One Movie Villanova?

Hannah Misner

By Hannah MisnerStaff Reporter

For millions of readers worldwide, and especially for Villanova students, Khaled Hosseini’s tale of friendship, loyalty and second chances has been widely cherished and esteemed. The moving story touches the hearts of its readers, while its captivating prose challenges their imaginations, enticing many to envision a world far different from their own. However, the ’05-’06 “One Book Villanova” novel, “The Kite Runner,” has recently wrapped as a Hollywood production and is slated for release on Nov. 2. Written for the screen by Daniel Benioff and directed by Marc Forster (“Finding Neverland,” “Monster’s Ball”), this film confronts the age-old debate of whether movies become a degradation of the book on which they are based and whether a movie can ever really be as good as the book.

Afghanistan is now part of every American’s vocabulary. The Middle East now bears the same stigma held by the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Nonetheless, few Americans can truly imagine the way of life halfway around the world. Though the focal point of the novel’s story is set in Afghanistan, the film had to shoot these scenes predominantly in China due to safety concerns in the war-torn country. The huge popularity of the novel indicates an interest to learn something new about a land heard about on a daily basis. Although a movie version will undoubtedly broaden the audience for this emotional and well-told tale, films concurrently stifle the imagination of past and potential readers. When a character or scene in the movie is not the way the reader had imagined it, the reader can wonder if he or she had missed the point. Those who were planning to read the book may decide to save time and see the movie instead.

While some people may argue that seeing the movie is equally as satisfying as reading the book, there is no replacement for completely immersing oneself in the written word and forcing oneself to picture the seemingly unimaginable life in Afghanistan. If the scenes are readily presented to the audience on the movie screen, the story requires little effort from its recipients and thus has a smaller impact.

Especially with the current events in Afghanistan and their effects on American life, people who really want to learn more about the country need to step outside of their comfort zone. The present situations and ways of life in Afghanistan sharply contrast with the comparatively blessed life Americans enjoy every day. By having a single team of movie producers essentially perform all the work, the audience is not forcedto picture the events in their own minds and hearts.

However, the extremely busy people of America often do not have the time or the energy to sit down and enjoy a good book. Perhaps a movie is the best, or only, choice for some people, and it is the closest they can get to picturing the story. But no special effects or expert camera angles can replace the value of the written word with its challenges and rewards to the reader.

Rumors on the Internet suggest that the movie does closely follow the book, but Hollywood most likely added a few extra sparks to add selling and entertainment value. Some may refrain from seeing the movie in fear that it will discredit the book, while some may be curious as to how their imaginations line up with Hollywood’s and some will trade their own imaginations for two hours of entertainment.