Books vs Movies

The age-old question of which is better, reading a book or watching a movie, is a difficult one to answer. Personally, I think that it depends on the book/movie and is impacted by whether you watch the movie or read the book first. A classic example of a movie based on a book is Harry Potter. In the case of this book/movie series, I think that the books are better than the movies. However, I should mention that I have only seen one of the movies so I may change my opinion after seeing the full movie series. I have only just recently finished reading the Harry Potter books and the things I enjoyed the most about them were the character development, the banter between different characters, and being able to experience a different world, similar but distinctly different from our own. J. K. Rowling is a very talented author and she did an excellent job of making it possible for readers to really imagine the world of Harry Potter, and to get to know many of the different characters. I don’t think this level of character development and feeling like you have really entered a different world can be achieved in a movie. I think a big reason for this is that movies are much shorter than books, so many side stories, characters and banter have to be cut out. Some scenes that are great to read may be dull or tedious in a movie as what the audience expects from a book is quiet different from what they expect from a movie. When I watched ‘Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone’ the whole movie felt somewhat rushed to me, as I had just recently read the book, so I was used to the slower pace of the book. Also, when I watched the movie, some things were different to how I had imagined them when I was reading so this was a little disappointing and off-putting. For example, when I was reading the Harry Potter books, I didn’t form a clear image of the ghosts in my mind – they remained as somewhat unclear vague figures. However, when I watched the movie, they had a very clear form, in fact one of them was an actor I was very familiar with from a different TV show. This was really different from how I had imagined them in my mind so it made me feel a little uncomfortable.

Another example of movies that are based on books is the Hunger Games series. In the case of this series, I think that both the books and movies are pretty close to being equally as good as each other. In fact, the Hunger Games books are my favorite books and the movies are some of my favorite movies, especially the first and second movie. Once again it is the character development and relationships that I really enjoy about this series. Suzanne Collins is another very talented author and her books are so absorbing. I have read the Hunger Games books and listened to the audio books and I can recommend both experiences. I find that audio books are even more absorbing than paper books and they have the added benefit of enabling you to do something while listening (I often hang out my washing or something like that). The books are fantastic and you can enjoy some extra characters, events and details that do not appear in the movies. The movies are also fantastic! They are very faithful to the books and the cast was very well selected so there is very little disconnect between how you might imagine a character and how they appear in the movie.

Overall, while I think the question of whether a book or movie is better depends on the particular book/movie, I think that books do enable you to become more involved in the story and get to know the characters better. I also think that, in general, it is better to watch a movie first in order to avoid the disappointment of the characters not looking like you expected them to.

Belinda




Vocabulary

age-old (adjective) – having existed for a very long time
banter (noun) – the playful and friendly exchange of teasing remarks
tedious (adjective) – too long, slow, or dull; tiresome or monotonous
familiar (adjective) – well known from long or close association; having good knowledge of
absorbing (adjective) – intensely interesting; engrossing
avoid (verb) – keep away from or stop oneself from doing (something)

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