Ever since producers decided to turn books into movies, the audience argues about which one is more enjoyable. This turned into some ongoing arguments of books vs movies.There are hard-liners on both sides of the discussion as it’s mostly a matter of taste.
The Differences Between Books and Movies
Why are the movies often so different from the books? Isn’t it possible to just write the screenplay exactly like the book describes it? Well, no, it isn’t!
One of the most important reasons why books and movies aren’t similar is the length. Books can have over 500 pages but almost nobody would watch a movie that takes 5 hours. That means the most relevant parts of the plot must be selected and then presented in less than two hours. Less important scenes get cut out which can be a good or bad decision.
Considering the costs, making movies is usually a lot more expensive than publishing books. While reading books, you have to imagine how the characters and their surrounding look which isn’t the case in movies. Actors, sets, special effects, everything comes with a price to pay. In contrast, you don’t have to pay for your imagination.
However, this can lead to some serious discussions when readers imagined the characters differently than the actors look in the movie. On the other hand, this makes movies more enjoyable for some people who struggle with imagining what they are reading. Watching a movie is a more passive experiences than reading a book.
There are many examples of movies that turned out worse than the books or vice versa. However, it’s often a matter of taste in the discussion of books vs movies. Here are three examples that cover the different possibilities. Keep in mind that this is purely my opinion. Feel free to discuss these and other examples in the comments or on the ShanniiWrites Forums!
Often, the book is said to be better than the movie. This happens when some important scenes get cut out or the actors don’t fit into their role. However, here’s an extreme example of book and movie being totally different. The Duff by Kody Keplinger is one of my favourite books. Needless to say that I was really looking forward to the movie which was released in 2015. However, the movie was nothing like you would expect it. The book has an original plot whereas the movie portrays many cliches. While the book discusses some serious topics, the movie is more like a romantic comedy. The movie itself isn’t that bad, but compared to the book it’s a disappointment. I tend to say the only two similarities between the book and the movie are the title and the names of the characters.
There’s also the possibility of the movie being better than the book. For me, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Mockingjay Part 1 and Part 2 are good examples here. The books were great, but I couldn’t imagine the surroundings for some reason. I also got names mixed up, especially while reading Catching Fire. The movies managed to get the most important parts of the story and even added new aspects. While reading Mockingjay, I stopped feeling connected to the main characters, which normally makes me stop reading. The movies kept me interested and connected to the characters. However, in my opinion the first book (The Hunger Games) is better than the movie because it offers background information that is missing in the movie.
The book and the movie can also be really similar when it comes to quality! An example for this rather rare possibility is Pride and Prejudice. The novel by Jane Austen is on the list of most loved books of all time. The movie with the same name was released in 2005. Although admirers of the original novel were sceptical, the movie turned out to be a great success. The producers managed to keep the important scenes, but left out some less important characters to make the story less complicated. The key sentences and feelings are the same as in the book. For everyone who’s not into drama and romance movies, there’s also Pride and Prejudice and Zombies which is quite good as well.
In the end, it’s up to you if you prefer the books or the movies. Maybe you like both equally but for different reasons. The discussions of books vs movies will probably never end. I’d suggest reading the book before watching the movie, so your imagination doesn’t get limited by what you’ve seen in the movie.