A few weeks ago, I wrote a post concerning one of the greatest debates of our age: e-reader vs. physical book. People have some very firm opinions on which they believe is better, which made me think of another great debate which has been around for decades. Which is better, the book or the movie?
I feel like the general consensus you always hear is that the book is usually better than the movie. Oddly enough, although I am a book lover through and through, I’ve found that I tend to like the movies better than the books. In fact, I oftentimes like to see the movie first, so that when I finally get around to reading the book I can have a clearer picture in my mind of what is actually happening. Below are a few examples of when I found the movie to be vastly superior to the written word.
1. The Shawshank Redemption
What a movie! This is one of those films that when I’m flipping through the channels and it’s on, I can never turn away. Sure, I’ve seen it about 50 times, but each time is as captivating an experience as the time before. Maybe it’s the soothing tone of Morgan Freeman’s voice that I simply can’t turn away from. Anyway, I remember how excited I was when I finally downloaded the book to my Kindle, thinking I’d be able to enjoy the wonderfulness from the movie in written form. What a freakin’ disappointment! I think it’s Stephen King’s writing style that I just can’t stand. It’s so simplistic. With short sentences. And little description. As though a third grader wrote it. In this instance, my vote goes to the movie being better than the book.
2. The Princess Bride
A classic for anyone from my generation. Whenever I meet someone who is my age, and they haven’t seen this movie my mouth drops open in general horror and confusion. I also tend to question the parenting skills of said person’s parental units. I watched this movie all throughout my childhood, and when I finally discovered it was a book I purchased it right away, only to be bored at the endless description of irrelvant activities, and the lack of dry humour present in the film. Once again, the movie wins in my opinion.
3. Forrest Gump
I used to hate this movie when I was younger, but I’ve discovered a newfound apprecition for it as an adult. Tom Hanks is a chameleon of wonderfulness. I never knew it was based on a book, and it was another one I jumped at the chance to read. The result? Hands down one of the worst books I’ve ever read in my life. I don’t even know how they managed to adapt the drivel that was that piece of crap into an award winning film, but they did. I mean, did you know that in the book, Forrest saves Mao Zedong from drowning in a river, goes into space with a monkey, then crash lands in the middle of Africa, having to escape from cannibals? What in the actual f*ck? Life certainly is a box of chocolates, because you never know when you’re gonna come across a book that makes absolutely no sense. Even if you aren’t a fan of the movie, I have a feeling you’ll think of it as a golden piece of art after reading the book.
4. The Notebook
Before I saw this movie, all I heard from everyone was how amazing the book was, and that the movie didn’t come close to it’s awesomeness. I’m sorry, but in the film you get to see Ryan Gosling strip naked, and have sex with Rachel McAdams up against a wall. In the book all you get is a sex scene between two 80 year-olds with wrinkly skin. No question, movie wins. Moving on.
So those are the movies which come to my mind first when advocating in this epic debate that movies can in fact be better than the books on which they are based. That being said, there are exceptions to every rule.
1. Gone with the Wind
The movie is amazing. The book is amazing. In my mind, it’s a tie.
2. The Hunger Games
When I tried to think back on all the books I’ve read which have been adapted into a film, this was the only one I could think of where I liked the book better than the movie. However! That doesn’t mean I hated the movie. Far from it! I love me some Josh Hutcherson any day of the week. I just think it was difficult to adapt all of Katniss’s inner thoughts on screen. Let’s face it, the first book itself doesn’t have a whole ton of dialogue, which can be hard to make into an interesting movie, yet still stay true to the book.
Ah, now we have a variation on this debate! Before, it was always about the book versus the movie. Now we have the TV series to consider. I feel like one of the more common reasons that people prefer the books over the movies is because there is so much more detail contained in the written version than in a 2 hour film. Adapting the book into a TV show with multiple episodes in one season is a clever way to workaround that previous restriction. When it comes to this series in particular, I personally enjoy the TV series just as much as the book. Looks like another tie!
Well there you go! From personal experience it looks like I tend to side with the movie over the book version. I’m sure you all have some examples of when you preferred the one over the other, and I’d love to hear them! Feel free to share in the comment section. Let the debate begin!!