The Reasons Why the Book is ALWAYS Better Than the Movie {Discussion}

OK as a reader it’s a no-brainer. the book that a movie was based on is always so much better, so much so that I almost refuse to see movies of books I have read as I am almost  always so disappointed. So here are the reasons why I think that a book is always better than their film adaptations.

1 Casting and the difficulty portraying a character we have already imagined

Writers use their skills and create people using words that we as a reader interpret using JackReacherMovie@2xour imagination to make images of people in our heads.  There lies the problem because the actor is always different from the character imagined first by the writer and then by the plethora (I like that word) of readers (who will all imagine the characters slightly differently from each other).

Sometimes they succeed as in Julie Walters as Mrs Weasley or Judy Dench in Notes from a Scandal (from the zoe heller book)  but sometimes the HPhalfbloodprinceposter@2xstudios feel like they need a star so they cast one at the expense of accuracy.

Sometimes however even the physicality of the character and the actor are at odds, for example in the books by Lee Child Jack Reacher is described as blond blue eyed and very tall at 6ft 5in, Tom Cruise who was cast for the part is a short arsed brunette however.

2 Changing the Plot

So annoying, OK sometimes I know that it is difficult to fit everything that happens in a 500 page book into a movie but sometimes it takes the piss. For example in the US adaptation/remake of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo they totally change the ending.  Even the wonderful Harry Potter movies GWDTus@2xwhich are, I think written for the lovers of the books in mind change details all the time, for example the fate of to the elder wand is utterly different in the movies (destroyed) than the book (entombed  with Dumbledore again) and completely omit backstory for the marauders map.

Some screenwriters completely change everything, The Running Man book (Stephen King) is so completely different from the 80’s Arnie movie of the same name that there is only the idea of a man being hunted, the title and couple of names the same, everything else is rewritten.  I read the book years after first watching the movie so it didn’t matter to me but the book has a far deeper story-line.

3 Books allow for a longer time to tell AmericanGods@2xthe story

Often TV or serialized dramatization works much better than movies, mainly due to the timescale that this involves.  Many of the plot and detail cuts come from a lack of screen time.  American Gods by Neil Gaiman is currently showing in America and the first season only takes us partway into the book with the whole book likely to take several seasons and they will probably expand and change things as they go, which I guess gives something more to the person who has already read the book.

4 Whilst reading books we get into the characters heads, in movies we watch other people doing stuff.

HPhbpbook@2xEven if we are told the thoughts and feelings of the characters in a movie it still does not replicate the phenomena of seeing out of somebody else eyes that happens when we are reading a book.  This allows for greater empathy with the characters both good and bad when their inner worlds are revealed.   In movies the best we can get is hearing the thoughts of another, but as its not in our voice, its not as compelling.

5 Some movies are great

That is not to say that there are not great movies based on books, there are. Literature and genre fiction is a huge feeder into Hollywood and it has always been that way.  I can only appreciate the movies fully, if I hadn’t read the book before.  Shawshank Redemption and Bladerunnner are two of my favourite movies based on the Stephen King novella in the collection Different Seasons and the Philip K Dick novella Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, neither of which I have read, yet, but both these are fairly short books and therefore the filmmakers had more scope to add content whilst still staying true to the original. But as I haven’t read them myself I would be very interested if any of you have, what do you think?

Well that’s enough of me waffling on with my opinions, my 8 year old disagrees with me and some of you might, but that’s the point of a discussion post, let rip..


8 thoughts on “The Reasons Why the Book is ALWAYS Better Than the Movie {Discussion}

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  1. I totally agree with everything you mentioned!
    The most annoying thing for me is the changes in the plot line. For instance, “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” movie was not that good, but all those changes that are happening at the moment in the Shadowhunters series have started getting on my nerves. Then again, I didn’t really like the TMI book series so I may be biased to some extend.

    Have a great week!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do agree with everything you said in this post. Though I’m not one to “run” from those movies. I simply make sure there’s been quite a while between reading the book and watching the movie, haha. I’ve noticed that it helps me put aside the idea of the characters I had in my mind and, in turn, my expectations aren’t as high as they normally would’ve been.
    That doesn’t change the fact that plot details often get on my nerves. A lot.
    But it is what it is. I just have to sacrifice some of my sanity once in a while since my boyfriend doesn’t really read books and loves movies, haha.


  3. I think that some adaptations as movies are great! But adaptations as ADAPTATIONS? They can be REALLY bad. I definitely agree that on screen, you definitely don’t have a lot of time to show the plot and everything! And it is SOOOOO annoying when the whole plot has been changed agh. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Great points! #1 and #3 are significant ones for me especially. I think a book gives you room to imagine in your own way, and to pause when necessary. Movies command you to pay attention to their interpretation without giving a lot of room for thought while the story is playing out.

    Liked by 1 person

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