October Sky

November 3, 2008
By Cody Davis, Blountville, TN

The movie and the book October Sky (directed by Joe Johnston and written by Homer Hickam) have their similarities and their differences. One of the biggest differences in their composition is that the movie expressed more emotion than the book. Though I usually find that books are the ones to nestle themselves inside your heart and to imprint their contents into your memory; the movie was the version that touched my heart and found its permanent place in my memory.
To me, books are peculiar things. It could take several hours to get hooked on one, or you could just open up the book and, in a sense, devour it completely. With this book, however, I never really got hooked on it. I finished the book, yes, but that’s because I don’t believe in reading only half of a book. It seems as though it’s a waste of time to just “give up” after reading so much. This is a great story, but I believe it “attaches” best to the reader when it is shown as a film.
Even though the movie touches the emotions better than the book, the latter has some advantages. It is quite obvious that the novel tells us more information about Sonny’s (Homers) life and his achievements. It is upsetting, yet expected, that the filmmakers would leave out so much information that seems vital to the story’s essence. To leave out things such as Daisy Mae (Homer’s confidante and loyal cat), and Jake Mosby are part of the story itself. Yet, these things are tolerable. The thing that really confuses and frustrates me is the fact that they left out Sherman (in the movie, O’Dell and Sherman were the same person.) Why would they leave out something as vital and important as one of the rocket boys?

The one person in the film that I could really relate to was Ms. Riley. The way she encouraged the rocket boys to follow their dreams was very much like some of the teachers I’ve had over the years. I could really relate to her in the way that I correlate to the teachers that I look up to in school. The scene in the movie where she is laying on the hospital bed and she sees the boys’ rocket (named after her) through her bedside window sent chills up my spine. Movies and books don’t usually do that unless they have a lot of emotion and meaning behind them.
Both the movie and the book October Sky have their own special attributes, but the movie is the one that I will remember most. It’s one of the few movies that have a place in my heart and memory. The story was fantastic, but the movie was, in my opinion, superior.

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