• Valerie

The Debate: Books vs. Movies


In the last couple weeks, I've told you about my favorite movies (LINK), and if you didn’t notice many of my favorite movies are based on my favorite books. (see the Stories the Stuck here)


Which brings us to my favorite ‘party question’, which is better books or movies?


Nine times out of ten, people say the book is better than the movie. Unless you don’t like to read, and then, who are you people and how do I know you?


But why do movies struggle to match up to their books. They’re telling the same story, right?

Many times, the core and essence of a book is lost in translation. With a limited screen time a movie must boil a book down to its main message. But readers are not all the same, and can take away different thoughts and conclusions based on the book’s theme. I would have never guessed that J.K. Rowling’s goal in the Harry Potter series was about dealing with death. But I still love the books and movies.


Then the director/producer has to choose what are the key elements of the story and how to trim the fat of the book. But just like a good steak the fat is what makes the meal savory and delectable. The details give the story its flavor, and details can often be brushed off in the effort to communicate the main ideas and themes of a movie.


There is also something about a tangible relationship with books. Something you hold in your hands and go on a journey with, there is a connection there that is hard to explain. Which is why I have a hard time pairing down my book collection. While buying a DVD or downloading the digital copy of a movie can be done. Going to see a movie is about the experience and the people you are with, the meal before or after.



The one exception I have to the books are better than movies rule is “The Three Musketeers” (1993). This was such a great rendition of Alexander Dumas’ classic novel, that when I was in my classical reading phase, I picked up the book and set to read it all. I can say that I’ve read The Three Musketeers, but was sorely disappointed. I guess I look for more depth than a fictional political commentary, and maybe the romantic element of the 1993 movie is what fed my teenage heart (Chris Donnell Crush for sure) But that was my experience.




What favorite book of yours made an exceptional movie?