Years ago, Hollywood used original scripts as basis for its blockbuster movies and its succeeding sequels (even if this created mixed feelings). With the recent trend, books are now being used for its foundation. Whether the genre for the movie falls in the action, romantic, or science fiction category, books are now the go-to script for movie makers. However, this has also created a lot of tension between avid book lovers who were fans before the movie adaptation came out and the movie aficionados who only knew about the story through the movie. To offer an insight on one side, here are some reasons why books are (almost always) better than their movie adaptation.
Leaves Much to Your Imagination
When you read a book, it doesn’t tell you in pictures how the characters are supposed to look like or what the setting’s appearance is. Instead, it’s up to your imagination how you perceive them. Depending on the story or how you see it, you can change the character’s appearance or setting any time at your whim. This also goes for action sequences or climactic scenes. You can think of battle scenes with over-the-top effects and the like.
In the movies, your sense of imagination is severely limited. You are shown how the characters and settings are supposed to look like. If it doesn’t suit your taste or if you think that it doesn’t match up with the book, then you can’t do anything about it. In fact, a lot of avid readers are always turned off when it comes to actor and location selections. When an actor or actress whom people deem unworthy is playing a character for more than an hour or two, it just leaves a bad taste in people’s mouths. They end up avoiding the movie altogether.
For battle or climactic scenes, the movie is also limited to its budget. We’ve all seen computer generated images which are really sub-par and ended up ruining the entire movie. The budget also affects the scenes or locations in which the movie is shot. Some studios trying to replicate intricate sceneries end up creating a “cheap” feel to the movie and downgrade it instead.
Stories are Lost in Translation
When millions of people read a single book, there are a million ways to interpret it. As soon as a filmmaker gets rights to a book, they immediately spin it into their own story. After all, it can be a challenge to cram an entire book into an hour or two only. This spinning can result in two scenarios: first, the screen adaptation is far from the book, but it becomes much better and the viewers like it. Second, the screen adaptation is still far from the book, but this time, viewers (and the author) hate it.
A lot of times, when a filmmaker is asked what happened with the translation of the book into a movie, they always blame the constrictions. How they’re supposed to jam an entire book into a small time frame while perking the interest of the viewer. Compared to a book where you can read it at your own pace and review it as needed, movies are just too straightforward and might not be accurate.
Easier to Connect
In book form, it’s very easy (and possible) for you to read what the character is thinking before he/she does an action. It doesn’t always have to be because of saving the world or they’re the “chosen” one. Knowing about the character’s idiosyncrasies like their selfishness or inability to understand the entire situation makes them more realistic. Gone are the days when a character is portrayed as too perfect and always wins. Current characters are flawed and have their own difficulties with their situation. As they are realistic, people can equate them with themselves or understand why they made their mistakes.
In the movies, you are left to understand on your own why the character is trying to help or destroy others. Most often, they always reveal the reason at the end, during the climax. However, this doesn’t always appeal to everyone and it creates a feeling of unrealism for most viewers. Instead of blowing away the viewer’s mind with a shocking revelation, movies have to show everything physically and ruin the plot twist.
Books are Portable
Yes, it’s possible to watch a movie through your smart phone, a laptop, or a portable DVD player. These come with restrictions though as you have to mind your battery and the screen size might not even be that ideal to watch a movie in. You’re also limited to the number of movies you have with you.
Bringing a book is very easy and you don’t have to worry about a lot of things (just the proper lighting). You can read it for hours without worrying about a power source, and you can reread a specific part easily. Books can easily fit into your carrier or luggage as well. You can even carry it by hand if possible.
Movies Focus on Profit
Books were made to tell a story and to draw the reader in a specific world created by the author. There are a lot of genres and areas a single author can cover and this alone creates a sense of excitement for the reader. A good author can write a lot of books which can be separate topics or interweave them in a big world. They write books with deep stories and spin creative tales to appeal to the reader’s mind.
Movies on the other hand, try to make things as simple as possible. They focus instead on hiring the right kind of actors (for eye candies), and go with expensive special effects to do the work. For the story, they dumb down the book into its basic forms. They focus on the small and shallow things that don’t even make sense to the avid reader. They also tend to bleed out a single storyline. This is because if the first movie sells, they will have an option to make a sequel or two. It can be very frustrating when you spend almost two hours in the theater only to see a short story about the characters in the book, leaving out the main plot for the next movie.
Reading Improves Your Grammar Skills
As you read book after book, you are exposed to new words and expressions. Some of these words and expressions might be new for you. This will help you expand your vocabulary and also help improve your spelling and grammar skills. Compared to movies, these tend to focus on vocabulary and listening skills only. In many cases, the words and expressions used can be very informal and inappropriate.
A lot of people are always torn when they are asked why books are better than movies. There are some notable movies in the past that have been better and more iconic than the book. A good measure to see if a book is indeed better than the movie is to read the book first before watching the movie. Only then you’ll be able to compare it and make good assumptions.