'Gone Girl' raises question: Which is better, the book or the movie?

Story highlights

  • "Gone Girl" was popular book; can movie live up to it and be a hit?
  • Movies and books are two different forms; directors and writers have to make choices
  • Some movies succeed more than others

(CNN)"Gone Girl" was that rarity: a best-selling book that was also well reviewed, earning spots on both The New York Times best-seller list and critics' best-of lists.

Will the movie starring Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike which opens Friday measure up?
    It's hard to say. Early reviews have been positive, but some critics have reservations. The New Yorker's Anthony Lane highlighted the differing needs of books and movies as the reason for his mixed review.
    While complaining about one of the film's subplots, he observed, "It comes straight from the novel, and you can picture the outcry if (director David) Fincher had chopped or changed it, but so what? A director's task is not to suck up to readers, or to flatter his source, but to imagine it afresh, as film, while seizing on those aspects that matter to him most."
    It's a fine line. Let an adaptation leave out a character or condense a plot and book fans will scream in protest. But include every nuance, every tangent, and moviegoers will yawn with fatigue.
    Studios will always rely on books -- they're an easy source for new stories. And many of those adaptations will end up as hit movies.
    But that doesn't mean they're always done well. Check the gallery for some considerations of whether the book or movie did the job better.