Into the Wild made me forget my rule about not seeing movies based on books I've already read. Into the Wild was so true to the source material and such a fantastic visualization of Krakauer's best-seller that I had forgotten that it was the exception to the rule, not vice-versa.
If only the adaptation of The Kite Runner was so good. In retrospect, I know it's impossible to expect a 2 hour drama to convey the depth of character development and emotion that is capable in a full-length novel, but I'd at least expect the movie to not gloss over major background information nor skip right on past one of the most powerful scenes in the story (no, not that scene but the other one).
This isn't to say the film version of The Kite Runner was a bad movie. It wasn't. It was, instead, shallow. As a relatively slow reader, it speaks volumes to Khaled Hosseini's storytelling ability that I was able to read the book in just four nights... in my tent at TransRockies. And it only took that long because I had to will myself to put it down in order to get some needed sleep. But the richness of the scenery, the characters, and the times and places that Hosseini described just wasn't found in the movie. The complexities of the relationships were never truly established in the movie and the inner struggles within the main character, Amir, were only hinted at. And in passing style at that.
Heck, the actual kite running portion of the story was given little more than lip service in the movie and no mention was made of the glass-coated string, nor did we ever see any of the excruciatingly described bloody hands of the kite fighters from the tale. Instead, we're left to believe the kite strings cut one another through powers uknown. And while I'm on the subject of the kite scenes, I know the wizards behind the powerful CGI computers like to use their imagination and that it's easier to show a landscape from, say, 3,000 feet in the air, than 300 but if these kites were flying any higher, they'd have to worry about gettting cut by a passing 747, not another kite. It was beautiful and stupid all at once.
I was really looking forward to seeing this movie in theatres back in the fall of 2007, but it was constantly delayed due to concern for the child-actor's safety back in Afghanistan where the movie is set (let's just say that there is a scene that many who are easily offended will no doubt take blood-curdling offense in). The movie didn't ever make it into theatres, at least not here in the Seattle area to my knowledge, and that's probably a good thing for Hosseini. I'd hate for people to see the movie and wonder what all the fuss was over the book. If you've read the book, I'd suggest no more than renting the movie if for no other reason than to see the role of Baba come to life, Homayoun Ershadi did a fantastic job playing the role of Amir's father. But if you hadn't read the book, do so. Skip the movie and give the book a try. As hollow as the movie was, it didn't dampen my love of the book. And I'd still recommend it to anyone.