Compare and Contrast: Movies vs. Books
When you ask people whether they prefer 'Movies or Books', you are likely to get a variety of replies. Some people will prefer reading books and other will prefer watching movies. There is another interesting phenomena and that is a section of the population that enjoy both equally.
For some people, reading a book is not the easiest activity in the world. We have all sometimes picked up a book and put it down after battling to read the first page. This is nothing to do with ability or concentration, it is to do with whether or not the book is of personal interest or whether the book actually meets our needs. In other words what is inside the covers of the book may not match the blurb on the outside which is very misleading and very disappointing. The same can be said for movies. How often have we all watched the trailers advertised on TV, thinking that the movie looks really interesting? Then follows the anticipation of going to the movies to watch it, or wait until its available to download and rent at home, only to watch the first ten minutes and realise that it is not going to get any better than 'boring'!
Sometimes it is easier to watch a movie rather than read the book. Some movies that are adaptations of books can enhance the setting, the scenery and dialogue. This is especially helpful for people who have experienced difficulty in learning to read, as watching the movie as well as reading the book can enhance the experience. A movie adaptation can enhance the experience of the book and can bring to life, and get transported into 'this other world'. Visual images are very powerful, but so is the experience of reading and development of our own images. It can also be argued that in order to use our imagination whilst reading we need to have some actual experience of the situation and that experience either comes through accurate and informative writing or visual images (movies).
There are several books that have been made into movies. The interpretation of a book into a movie is bound by resources and finance, and the visualisation of the director. Meanwhile reading the book, taps into the readers imagination, that does not have the same constraints and can be picked and put down at any convenient time.
1. Books fuel imagination:
Yes, description of characters and places are almost always provided in books, however when such descriptions are obscure, piecemeal or delayed, one’s imagination can always roam free. Take for example Fitzgerald, who (wisely!) chose not to create literary portraits of Jay Gatsby, preferring instead to make passing references to his general appearance: ‘…I was looking at an elegant young roughneck, a year or two over thirty, whose elaborate formality of speech just missed being absurd.’ Combined with Fitzgerald’s technique of delayed character revelation, which gave Gatsby an aura of mystery and detachment, I always kind of imagined Gatsby as being Kevin Spacey… Then the movie came out and Leonardo Di Caprio crushed my imagination. That’s not how I pictured it!
2. Movie adaptations of books are almost never accurate:
I remember watching the 2005 adaptation of Pride and Prejudice and thinking to myself: Wait a second… this isn’t what happens in the book! Before you get me wrong, allow me to clarify a few thing. First, I fully comprehend the meaning of the word ‘adaptation’ and realize that as a modification, the movie is bound to be different; second I’m a swimfan of Keira Knightley and lastly, I definitely love a good kissing scene in a movie, but hold on! Darcy and Elizabeth don’t actually kiss in the novel, not until they are married that is, and this is because such a thing was not allowed in their courteous society during that period of time! And the wedding scene, oh my God, the wedding scene. In the Hollywood adaptation, the wedding scene is a rushed, rainy scene (reminiscent of The Notebook kissing scene) where Mr. Darcy (Matthew Macfadyen) proposes by saying: ‘I love you… most ardently, please do me the honor of accepting my hand’ (??) Which is definitely NOT what happens in Chapter 34 of the book, where Mr. Darcy utters the most noble and yet passionate proposal: “In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” Landmark scenes such as these can only be ‘felt’ when reading the novel!
3. Movies romanticize everything!
Which leads me to my third point. Now, I do realize that romance is a theme flowing through most novels, but the way I see it, romance is merely a vehicle employed by the author to stress more essential themes and prove a point and not the whole point of the story! In Pride and Prejudice, Austen uses the different kind of love stories to reveal a bigger problem about the morals and mores of the class system in early Georgian England.
4. Movies don’t provide the whole picture:
Turning a 600-page novel into a 90-minute movie, is obviously no walk in the park and thorough information will almost always be lacking. I, for once, would have never known why Gale calls Katniss, Catnip if I hadn’t read the novel after watching the movie. (I know I could’ve googled it, but you get the point.)
5. The book stays with you (and smells great!):
After you’re done reading a book, you can put it away in your bookshelf and it will always be there for you. By preferring books to movies, I stand up for all my old worn-in friends with the rusty bindings that live on my bedroom shelf (in an alphabetical order).
Apparently, according to the Sense of Smell Institute (yes, there really is an institute for the sense of smell!), we recall smell with a 65% accuracy after a year, which is pretty substantial when compared to a 50% visual recall of photos or movies after only three months. And as much as I love photography, nothing beats turning a page, covering your face with the book, and inhaling deeply!