Books and films both tell stories, but what we want from a book can be different from what we want from a movie. Is this true for you? If so, what’s the difference between a book and a movie?
Superfastreader suggested this one, and I must say really like the question. The short answer is, yes I do look for something different when I’m reading verses when I watch a film (even if the material is the same – book adaptation). And now for the longer answer.
I enjoy movies almost as much, maybe a little more, than I like books but each medium has something different to offer the public. Sadly movies have a larger audience than any book has which is a huge comment on our society. The comment becomes even greater when we realize that many of the largest grossing films, and in fact many of the films in general, are based on previously written material. Look at the three largest series that have made their way to blockbuster fame; Lord of the Rings, Narnia (the new kid on the block), and finally the one that keeps blowing everyone out of the water Harry Potter.
Now, I don’t want to rag on these films because these three in particular have helped to bring reading back in style. Because of their success, or in the case of Potter, books are again becoming a popular form of entertainment. So, I think it begs to the question why do we want to see on film the books we have read or vise versa?
For me there are several reasons I like movies. First movies was over me more than a book. When I read a book I am an active participant in the novel, and sometimes feel as thought I’m a character of the novel. The novel absorbs me, it transports me into a new realm and I experience that realm using many of my senses. In the film version of any book I tend to only use sight and I don’t recall the events as well than when I’ve read the book.
I also want to see the vision of a book that others have. Unfortunately, if it’s not the same as my vision of the book they have failed miserably (hahaha). This is where dialogue often comes into a filmed version. Comments like, “That wasn’t in the book” or “that’s not the way I pictured” him become regular fair after watching a movie adaptation of a book.
But this question doesn’t deal specifically with adaptations, rather it’s a question of general book reading and movie viewing. So here is what I look for in a book versus what I look for in a movie. A book must grab me from the very beginning for me to be truly interested. It must involve me, I haven’t encountered this is a long time but I recall reading some books that just didn’t spark dialogue or thought at all and that is a huge turn off when it comes to reading. Books must also involve all my senses, the writer must make me smell the world I’m in and hear the ambient sounds, I want to touch and interact with the world in which I’m reading. A book for me is very interactive and sensual, it is active.
Movies on the other hand are images that fly across the screen and it’s momentary. Too often I watch a movie and don’t recall it like I do a novel I’ve read. Movies are passive, I don’t interact and participate with a movie as much as I book. I like to find movies that spark some kind of dialogue about a social issue but there really aren’t as many of those out there as I’d like. As a result movies become a form of entertainment used to merely pass the time. I don’t need to be drawn in as much as I do a book because once I sit down to watch a film I’m not likely to turn it off unless the story is horrendous or the acting is well below par.
It’s really difficult to pin point what it is I love about books and movies. I think both have a lot to offer and I love both. One just seems to be more active than the other. Both are important for a society, and the only thing that is better than both books and movies is live theatre.
Happy Thursday everyone!