Books vs Movies
Updated: Apr 16
"The book is a film that takes place in the mind of the reader." -Paulo Coelho
Image created by Renny Feinberg. Follower her on https://www.instagram.com/xkilira/
Which entertainment heavy weight reigns supreme? It's a loaded question based entirely on one's opinion. People have been turning literature into live action entertainment well before the golden age of William Shakespeare, Francis Beaumont, Thomas Kyd, Philip Massinger, and so on. Both mediums present realities on which audiences transfix themselves.
Yes, I'm a Stephen King fan and The Dark Half is my favorite. Berserk is my favorite manga; R.I.P Kentaro Miura.
The Magic Within
When we crack open a new book, our minds are a blank canvas. Maybe faint lines are sketched in it from the synopsis but nothing concrete. If the writer does their job, we use their words to paint a mural. The beautiful thing is, we can all read the same book and walk away with different pictures. Why?
We imagine characters the way we see them, attaching their failures and triumphs to our own life experiences, connecting to them on a deep and personal level. Details of the background are smatterings of what the author describes but mostly filled in with what we imagine.
Essentially, the author gives us the tools to imagine their world through our own eyes. The masters of the craft pull at our heartstrings with sad imagery or elicit a heart-warmed smile or a laugh at witty dialog. If you like scary genres, you look forward to the scenes which render gooseflesh or accelerate your heart.
In the world of fan fiction, either the person or persons liked your story so much they added to it, making it their own or they found it lackluster but saw potential. Everyone is a critic so, either way, you should be flattered because you're not going to impress everyone.
Words In Motion
Like everyone else, I love a good movie and movie trailers are synopses. They show us all the exciting bits to hook us, to entice us to spend our money upon release. Over the last few years, I've noticed movie trailers getting longer, spoiling plot twists, showing scenes which later get cut, and ruining climaxes.
Hollywood does not provide us an empty canvas to create our own murals. They hand us the picture they already painted, stripping us of any surprise. We don't get to imagine their world through our own eyes, but through theirs. We get excited over the latest CGI, sound effects, and stunts, all of which are flashy lights to distract us.
What about books converted into movies? You might think this is the same as the two paragraphs above but it's unique in its own way. Somebody wanted to share their painted interpretation with the world. This can be dangerous water. Not only are fans critiquing the movie but the author as well. A good example is The Shining. Stephen King hated Stanley Kubrick's representation of his story so much, Mr. King released it as a miniseries, correcting the many flaws with Kubrick's vision. One of the issues, the interpretation of Jack Torrance's character. The movie depicted him as a villain instead of a victim. In the book, Jack sacrifices himself to destroy the Overlook Hotel and to save Danny. This isn't to say Kubrick did a horrible job. Notable scenes are alluded to in other movies. Admit it, when you think of The Shining, you think about the elevator flooding the hall with blood or Jack's face in the door yelling 'Here's Johnny' or Danny riding his tricycle through the ominously long halls of the hotel.
The movie world keeps remaking the same movies. Is that because they ran out of ideas or because the movie did not live up to their expectations? Lets take the late Stan Lee's Hulk as an example. In 2003, world renowned director, Ang Lee released his vision of the movie staring Eric Bana. In 2008, French director Louis Leterrier released his creative version, The Incredible Hulk, staring Edward Norton. By all accounts, The Incredible Hulk was better. The Hulk looked less cartoony and the acting way better. But if you ask Marvel, both movies were flops and neither lived up to the creative minds of the Disney company. Marvel's cure to the solution, make a third Hulk movie. Production is set to take place in late 2022 and, yes, Mark Ruffalo will again star as the Hulk.
There's long been a debate on which is better: books or books turned into movies. Because the topic is subjective, there is no way to measure which reigns supreme. For me, I have an active imagination. When I read, I'm emerged in the fictional world, painting vivid scenes, picturing characters, hearing their voices, and connecting with them. Hollywood has yet to exceed my creative expectations. If I read a book, I rarely see the movie. If I see the movie, my mind is tainted and it's hard for me to paint my own picture.
I would love to hear your thoughts on which you think reigns supreme in the comments below.
Photos courteously drawn by my nieces. On the left, Renee Dring. On the right, Mady Dring.