ebookclassics

Book to Movie Review – War and Peace

wpLast January, I reviewed War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy which felt like a huge accomplishment since it took me six months to read the book. One year later, it didn’t take as long to watch the six-part BBC adaptation, yet I had the same feeling of accomplishment following the lives of the characters through to the end of the story. As a bibliophile, I believe you can’t beat the original material, yet because the BBC adaptation stays fairly true to the story, it felt complementary to reading the book. As if it added to my experience of War and Peace.

* CONTAINS SPOILERS

THE BOOK
Over fifteen years, War and Peace portrays the lives and loves of several Russian aristocratic families during the Russian war against France. The book is weighed heavily down by Tolstoy’s ruminations on life, the purpose of humans and the moral complexities of war that add nothing to the story or our understanding of the characters. Some of this writing I actually enjoyed … at first, but Tolstoy goes overboard and has probably lost many readers for boring them to death with these sections.

THE SERIES
While the BBC series has been criticized for sexing up certain parts of the story, I thought the creators beautifully capture Tolstoy’s story. The actors cast were wonderful and unlike the book, I could actually follow the large number of characters without getting confused. My only comment is the pace is a little fast in order to cram in as much of the story as possible and I would have happily sat through another two episodes just to have things slow down. But overall, a phenomenal series to watch!

4.5/5 Stars

5 Reasons to Watch War and Peace

1.  The series presents the epic story in grand fashion with dazzling costumes, enchanting landscapes, gripping action and beautiful actors. People will surely be watching this adaptation for generations to come.

2.  If you’ve read the book, you will probably gain an even greater understanding of the story because it truly comes to life.  Some of what was lost on me when I read the book, I found watching the series.

3.  Even Tolstoy couldn’t deny the soap opera side to his works and there is plenty of drama, scandal and romance in the series to satisfy anyone who enjoys that kind of thing (and I do!).

4.  If you read the book, you can review War and Peace for the Book to Movie Challenge. 🙂

5.  If you don’t intend to read the 1,400 page literary classic, you’ll get a scrumptious taste of why War and Peace is considered a masterpiece and probably the greatest novel ever written.

Did you watch War and Peace or have you read (or attempted to read) the book?

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21 comments on “Book to Movie Review – War and Peace

  1. The Paperback Princess
    February 17, 2016

    So. You might already know this but I read almost the whole thing. 968 pages. But then pages were missing. Until 1016. Turns out that not all versions of W&P are created equal and by the time I got around to getting a replacement, I basically needed to read the whole thing again. So that’s where I’m at! I want to see the miniseries and I’m glad you felt like they did it justice. But W&P is such a commitment, I’m not sure if I’m ready for it. Again.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      February 17, 2016

      Ugh, how frustrating! I don’t blame you for not being keen to take it on again too soon. I have to say it was a long slog for me reading that book. It didn’t help to have all the philosophical stuff slowing things down.

      Liked by 1 person

      • The Paperback Princess
        February 17, 2016

        I almost want to say that I should Monte Cristo it – that is, keep it beside my bed so I can read it before bed. But from what I remember (and this was nearly 4 years ago), this one was best read when one has long stretches of time to devote to it and really make some headway. Conundrum.

        Like

        • ebookclassics
          February 17, 2016

          I like that idea! I might try it with one of the books I’ve been slow about reading.

          Liked by 1 person

          • The Paperback Princess
            February 17, 2016

            I’m doing it with Pride and Prejudice right now which is totally a re-read that I could probably just recite from memory. But it’s SUCH a nice way of winding down before sleep. So comforting.

            Like

  2. Cathy746books
    February 17, 2016

    I haven’t read it but I did watch some of the BBC show and ut was great!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      February 17, 2016

      I’m glad you enjoyed the series. Do you think you will ever read the book?

      Liked by 1 person

      • Cathy746books
        February 18, 2016

        Well I don’t think I have it so it will be a while if I do! I’ve heard that it’s not as scary as you would imagine.

        Like

  3. Jillian
    February 17, 2016

    I HAVE READ HALF! I so want to see this, but I don’t have cable, so I have to wait for it to come out on DVD. 🙂

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      February 17, 2016

      It’s a tough book to get through. I think I already heard they are planning to release the DVD in the spring.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. TJ @ MyBookStrings
    February 17, 2016

    I so want to watch this, but my husband is not into it, and I get totally overruled by the family when the choice is “War and Peace” or “Chopped” on the Food Network. So I will have to wait until, well, I don’t know yet until when. But it’s good to know that the adaption is a good one, because for the life of me, I couldn’t really give anyone a good summary of the book. Mostly because I had trouble keeping all the characters apart, too. 🙂

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      February 17, 2016

      I completely understand. My husband wouldn’t even consider watching this movie, so I watched by myself like I do for most of these kind of movies.

      Like

  5. Naomi
    February 17, 2016

    After reading this post, and careful consideration (not really), I think I will just skip the book and watch the series! Usually I like to read the book first, but sometimes I make exceptions, and I think saving myself from a 1400 page book is a reasonable exception. 🙂
    So glad to hear you liked it – hopefully I’ll get to see it soon!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      February 17, 2016

      I think watching the series is an acceptable substitute unless you really want to read the book for bragging rights.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. jessicabookworm
    February 18, 2016

    I have this series recorded – I have only watched one episode so far. I haven’t read Tolstoy’s tome and doubt I ever will due to its size and it being a translation so watching this adaptation is perfect for me. After reading your thoughts I can’t wait to watch more!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      February 22, 2016

      I read a free Guttenberg version of the novel, so I don’t think it was the best translation out there. The Pevear and Volokhnosky translation is supposed to be superior, so if I ever re-read War and Peace I will try to get that version.

      Like

  7. Brian Joseph
    February 18, 2016

    I have neither read the book nor seen the movie.

    I plan to read the book someday. I think that I would want to read the book before I watched the film.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      February 22, 2016

      Have you read any of Leo Tolstoy’s other books? I think you would really enjoy the philosophical side of War and Peace. Quite a lot to think about.

      Like

  8. DoingDewey
    February 18, 2016

    I started this book for a read-along earlier and I fell behind and stopped reading it, but I really enjoyed what I got through. This adaptation sounds pretty awesome too!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      February 22, 2016

      The adaptation is faithful to the book, so you get the whole story and it’s definitely much easier to keep up with!

      Like

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