Monday, November 15, 2010
Why Books Are Better Than Movies
It is a simple statement we have all heard (and said) a million times. "The book is better than the movie."
It's not a case of 70/30 or even 80/20, not even 90/10
NO the percentage of movies better than the book is incalculable.
IF you could think of 10 movies better than the book, I would be amazed (and seriously question your tastes to boot) I can think of maybe three or four tops.
The first couple coming to mind are actually a pair of my favorite movies...
To Have and Have Not that's because William Faulkner rewrote Hemingway's hard luck piece about the Florida Keys, moved it to Martinique, involved WW2, Vichy French, etc, etc and it had Lauren Bacall~nuff said.
Apocalypse Now based on Conrad's Heart of Darkness. Not only was it a brilliant film with an outstanding cast-it was modified like To Have and Have Not, from ivory traders in darkest Africa to a currently (when released) more resonant conflict, in this case Vietnam - thus it speaks to the viewer of today stronger than the book.
But therein lies a part of the key for these two movies-they were dramatically changed from their source material-usually that is a death sentence for classic works-this time I didn't mind-normally it is my hundred and one curses and a voodoo doll for the filmmaker who changes original stories.
But what about all the rest? I still haven't addressed my heading.
Books are better than movies because we the reader are transported into another world of our co-creation with the writer. They give us descriptions but we fill in so much more than is ever splashed upon the page-and it is us we see.
A movie gives one view-we all see the same thing.
A book has infinite possibilities for interpretation, making it a universal sharing experience.
We pick up a book and we all see our own version, it can become so much more personal than the silver screen. Think about this-we all know who we would have cast for certain movies (much better than who they did use) ~ Why?
Because books trained our minds to do that. We fill in our own blanks using our own imaginations and life experience-it becomes our story.
I imagine this post will only really be understood by fellow voracious readers but I believe the principles apply to everyone-even if they don't know why.
Case in point, does anyone doubt a novel version of AVATARD or Transformers (without the media juggernaut behind them) would have fallen upon the hillside of boring unoriginal works? Those movies threw out the worst of plot holes you could never hope to get away with in a book-but the average viewer was awed by the spectacle, not the story.
IF they were books-no one would have said the book was better.
Now I'm really rambling...
So in your own writing ~ remember it's the story your sharing, and the better it is shared, the more people will feel it.