Random Inspirations

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Book or Movie: Which Do YOU Like Better?

on January 20, 2014

It’s an age-old debate, but one that never seems to get tired: When we read a book and then watch the movie based on it, we always ask each other or at least ourselves, “Which did you like better, the book or the movie?”

An Instagram representation of one user's thoughts on the old book vs movie debate

An Instagram representation of one user’s thoughts on the old book vs movie debate

A lot of people say, “Oh, the book was so much better!” And why is that? My guess would be because books allow readers to use their imaginations to fill in the details of the scenes and characters. Reading the book is more of an active process that engages the mind, while watching the movie is a more passive one. As a result, readers have certain expectations of how the characters will appear and how the plot will unfold, and because everyone’s imagination works differently, many people will be disappointed in the way the movie represents the book. Think about how many times you’ve heard people say, “Why did they pick so -and-so to play that part? That wasn’t how I visualized him at all!”

Also, many movies fail to pick up on the subtle undertones and themes that permeated the books. “The Wizard of Oz” book, for example, was written as a political satire, but the movie portrays a more lighthearted version of the story, focused on beautiful images and dramatic action. Another example is “The Hunger Games” series. The movies capture some of the political themes of the books, but miss out on other important ones. As riveting as the movies are, the books have more depth and dimension.

However, some people prefer the movies to the books because they are more visual people and enjoy seeing the action unfolding before their eyes instead of reading about it. Another reason why some prefer movies to books is because the act of watching a movie, especially in a theater, is more of a social one, while reading a book is more of a solitary activity. And finally, some prefer the movie to the book because it’s fairly magical to watch the book they read come to life. In fact, I think that’s why we all want to watch the movies of our favorite books, even if we insist we always like the books better.

I love both the books and the movies, for all of the above reasons. Sometimes, I’m just in the mood for a movie, while other times I want to lose myself in a good book. I enjoy comparing the book and the movie, and eagerly anticipate the interesting new twists that Hollywood screenwriters sometimes incorporate into the movies.

Which do you prefer, the book or the movie, and why?

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2 responses to “Book or Movie: Which Do YOU Like Better?

  1. jdh5153 says:

    I tend to prefer the movie. I haven’t had a lot of time to dedicate to reading lately so I enjoy being able to take in a story over an hour or two. I also find characters to be more relatable and realistic when they’re on screen rather than being described in words. It might be odd for an English major to prefer movies, but that’s my view on the matter..haha

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