Book Versus Movie

Personally, I like to read the book first. There is definitely that visual impact that a movie can have, particularly with special effects. But some people have brilliant imaginations where they can bring the book to life in their own minds and a movie can take away from that because, if you see the movie first, you are visualising the movie actors in your head and not what you might visualise the characters to look like. Films can do a lot of things. They can bring whole worlds to life before our eyes, make characters into living, breathing flesh and blood. They can have us on the edge of our seats as vicious battle scenes are fought right before us, have us sobbing over a death, a heartbreak or smiling with joy. Films can make us see a lot of things – sometimes things that even books cannot do so well. They are a pure escape – there’s nothing like sitting in the cinema, devoid of any other distraction, focused completely on the story playing on the screen. Films are great, but they just don’t have the same inclusion that books have. You’re merely an observer: you aren’t feeling everything the character feels, aren’t reading every single one of their innermost thoughts, all of their doubts and fears and hopes. Films let you observe everything. Books? Books let you feel everything, know everything and LIVE everything. With a book, you can be the hero who kills the demon with one twirl of your blade. You can be the girl who battles cancer, along with all the pain and uncertainty that comes with it. You can be a demigod, you can be an alien, you can be an angel, a god, a villain, a hero. You can be in love, you can hate, you can triumph, you can lose. You can be anything and everything. There are no limits. No restrictions. Nothing is impossible, nothing is out of reach. That is why books are always better. When you read a book, nothing else exists and you can be a whole other person in this completely new and amazing world. You can live as someone else, free of your own troubles, even if only for two hundred pages. Books are magic. Which is why I’m telling you all to forget about movie magic and get back to the pure magic that lives upon your bookshelves. Because while the movies are good the books are ALWAYS better. Without the actual writers sitting by their side, filmmakers are left to play the telephone game on a grand stage. They perceive the author’s writing and spin it into their own take. And, as anyone who has frequented a book club or two knows, there are many different ways to interpret a book. Once a filmmaker decides upon settings and characters, we’re limited to seeing those characters and settings through their eyes. However, 500 different readers of the same book may have 500 different ideas of a character’s appearance. And if an actor doesn’t measure up to what you imagined when reading the book, there’s some disappointment. Most movies do their thing in 1.5–3 hours. A book is edited and crafted, but the writer is still working within an unlimited time canvas. This condensing of books into movies leads to deleted parts from the book or abbreviation of developments within the book. While a movie is afforded the power of visual stimulation, it’s limited in terms of having to tell a story primarily through dialogue. Making that transition from words to visual representation plus dialogue is not as simple as it seems, particularly when you’re dealing with a book that has a lot of inner dialogue, or that gives the reader insight into a character’s mind. Without the power of visuals, books allow readers to put together the story and elements in their mind.

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