Films & TV

Book or Movie: Would You Rather Read or Watch It?

Would You Rather Read it or Watch it?

Sanjay ShankarFilms & TV,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

“Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruit, but taste completely different.”

– Stephen King

“I loved the book’s version of the battle between Harry and Voldemort that took place in the Great Hall rather than the movie version.” 

“Meh.. I prefer the fight scene of the movie in the Entrance Courtyard after which Voldemort disintegrates.”

This argument took place between me and my brother right after we watched Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows : Part 2, which brings us to the subject of this article: What would you pick?  Films or Books, motion picture or the written word. It is a relentless debate that book enthusiasts and movie lovers have been engaged in as far as one can remember. Over the years, more and more films are based off books and a majority of the highest grossing films by the end of the year happen to be big screen film adaptations of novels.

Fight Club, one of the very few cases in which the movie was better than the book.
Fight Club, one of the very few cases in which the movie was better than the book.

Many successful film adaptations of popular books are now among what we consider ‘Hollywood Classics.’ These include ‘To Kill a Mockingbird,’ ‘The Harry Potter Series,’ ‘The Shining,’ ‘The Lord of the Rings Series,’ ‘Schindler’s List,’ ‘Pride and Prejudice’ etc. At the same time, many classic novels have been arguably butchered by big screen film adaptations such as ‘The Da Vinci Code,’ ‘The Beach,’ ‘Gulliver’s Travels,’ ‘Eat Pray Love’ and many more, which brings us back to the question:

Which of the 2 mediums makes for more stimulating narration?

The movie:

On a weekend evening when you would doze off if you read a single world off a page [because you would do that for school/university/work anyway] and you want minimum effort, films win. [Except of course, if the movie is Inception] Films gain an advantage because of ‘the sociable factor.’For those of you who are looking forward to the movie Interstellar, nothing beats the experience of eagerly planning the day out with friends. “Let’s get tickets for the 8pm show, with popcorn, then head to Chilli’s… “. Films are also easier to understand by the masses as they bring the book to life visually, as you can watch the character’s imagination of the scene on screen. And lastly, films are definitely more accessible to the general population, especially the ones who flinch at the sight of a book.

Clever ad displays importance of books over movies.
Clever ad displays importance of books over movies.

The book:

Books, on the other hand, are irreplaceable artefacts of human talent.It is still fascinating to me that 26 letters arranged in different ways on a page can evoke such lively images in the human mind. Literature is significant in the augmentation of our vocabulary. Especially considering today’s scenario, where we tend to use words that are shortened for convenience, commonly termed as “text-language” may place limits on our expressions. I fear the day when people will think ‘dat’ is the actual spelling of ‘that.’

I fear the beautiful English language morphing into abbreviations that place us closer to our evolutionary ancestors. Books also incorporate all the feelings and emotions of the character and let you live the tale. For example, you’re inside Harry’s head. You know exactly what Voldemort is thinking when he’s angry. You can tell Robert Langdon is appreciating the churches even as he zooms past them on a high speed chase.

These are things implied in movies, but we don’t get an in-depth look. But the most important reason as to why people prefer books over films is because books may win the debate when it comes to freedom of our imagination as you’re the director while reading a book. Books don’t have big, appealing or colorful pictures in them as in the case of films, we get to set the scene for ourselves by using our imagination to its farthest extent.

Both films and books have their own advantages and disadvantages and all in all, as for which medium is more effective in eliciting a response, there may be no good answer.

However, for arguments’ sake, comment on your choice of medium down below.