Read the novel before or after watching the adaptation movie? Here's a guideline to help you decide.
If the novel is a popular, layman friendly and plot-driven piece of work, watching the movie first and the novel afterwards is advisable because:
1. You will not be satisfied with the movie's selection of scenes, script and flow of events and will regard the movie as being 'not as good as the book'.
2. Other people who have not read the book will feel annoyed by your constant ranting on what really happened in the book. Yes, we will either hate you for being a wet blanket or be indifferent with your 'Hermione' moment.
Example of novel/movie: Harry Potter, Slumdog Millionaire, Eragon, Dan Brown's Angels and Demons, Davinci Code their sequels.
If you just found out that a movie adapted from a fantasy novel is about to be released and you haven't read the novel yet, please consider whether or not you're capable of reading high fantasy novels because it's not for everyone. If you're not a fan of high fantasy (because if you already are, you must have read the novel years before the movie) it is advisable that you don't read the novel at all and proceed watching the movie because:
1. When elves speak their kin language in movies, there will be substitles. In novels, you have to learn Elvish.
2. Something that might have taken five days to understand in high fantasy novels can be understood in 5 minutes in movies.
Example of novel/movie: Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia, The Dark is Rising, The Golden Compass
If the novel is chic lit in nature, it doesn't matter whether you've read the novel or not before the movie because:
1. The movie compliments the novel. Chic lit novels are often less expressive and are scarce with narratives so the movie will paint a better picture of the background setting, character developments and overall feel.
2. The movie will enhance reading pleasure of the following sequels. Even the authours of chic lit novels will be influenced by the first adapted movie and will fashion their sequels to be in sync with the movie.
3. The plot in the movie will always be different from the adapted novel. Sometimes the script writers even went as far as to change the ending so for those who have read the adapted novel, it's like watching an entirely different story
Example of novel/movie: The Devil Wears Prada, Confession of a Shopaholic, Twilight (yes yes, Twilight is a chic lit. It's okay if you still think it's a fantasy chronicle. We understand)
If the novel is a piece of advance literature, it is advisable to read the novel more than once before watching the movie because:
1. There is a certain expectation when a movie is made based on a work of great literature so make sure you check the reviews made by pompous assed dick warts first before reading the novel.
2. Whether or not it is produced by a big Hollywood production company or a small time art house, you will find that reading the novel first will give you more insights when you watch the film. (I don't know why but when a movie is adapted from a piece of literature, people will call it a film, not a movie)
Example of novel/film: The Trial, The Cider House Rules, Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Mrs Dalloway, Atonement