Books vs. Films


I saw The Hunger Games this weekend like most of you, and thought it was a great adaptation of the book. I heard some mixed reviews following the film however, and thought that as an aspiring author and avid reader, my opinion on books vs. films might match some of yours.

Novels, films, art, poetry - are all mediums through which we as humans convey our own messages and tell our own stories. I constantly hear the sentence, "The movie wasn't nearly as good as the book," which bothers me, since you can't really compare one medium to another. Just because you prefer reading to watching, does not mean one was necessarily better than the other, just better to you. Realistically, a film could never contain the same descriptions and anecdotes and language contained in a book. Because books are my preferred form of medium, I understand why people say, "The movie wasn't nearly as good as the book," but only because to me, I did not feel the same things in the film that I felt in the book. Although the reverse could be true also. "I did not feel the same things in the book that I felt in the film."

I once heard Gail Carson Levine speak at a lecture. She spoke passionately about writing, her characters and their stories before opening up the lecture up for questions. Someone asked her quite rudely, "Were you embarrassed by the film adaptation of Ella Enchanted?" She paused for a moment and replied something to the extent of, "Of course not. The film is so different than the  book that it is hard to compare them." Levine understood mediums.

I have also heard the argument that a truly great author would never let their books become films. My response to that, is that an author is primarily a storyteller. Is not a screenwriter also a storyteller? By choosing just one medium, the story and audience is limited.  Of course the film is different from the book - but that is okay. I usually test various mediums by how they make me feel, and I felt something spark inside me both when I read The Hunger Games and when I watched the film.

I cried real tears when Katniss volunteered herself in Prim's place. Kevin told me it was because I have sisters I love that much and he is probably right. I couldn't breathe the whole movie because of anticipation and for 2 solid hours forgot about my current stresses.

Say what you will about the movie, but something that makes you feel so good afterwards has got to be positive - even if it isn't your preferred medium.


emilymcb said...

I completely agree! I just wrote a 10 page research paper on film adaptations, arguing that they should be viewed as their own art form and medium.

Joelle :: Something Charming said...

Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you! I am getting really tired of all of the negative reviews of the movie {which I loved} because of these things. People just don't understand! You can't make a movie that matched the book exactly. It's impossible. And once people realize that, they will enjoy movies so much more. Thank you for writing this. I agree 100%.


Life is Good said...

I've never thought about viewing them as different mediums (even though that should have been obvious to me) so I'm glad you pointed out that they shouldn't compared as if they were the same. And I also cried when Katniss volunteers.

Catherine said...

so glad you wrote this!!! i feel the same way!! i love the book and movie for different reasons. yes there were things that the movie missed, but there were things that the movie portrayed spot on. love this post!

Brittany said...

I wish that you'd write something I totally disagreed with one time, just to switch things up. I feel like I'm always telling you how much I agree and how really really brilliant you are--which of course isn't a bad thing at all :)

I almost changed my major, twice, to Humanities. I too love all the good words in the world, but I love good films, good paintings, good songs, good anything art just as much. I can't get enough of it all, and I'm afraid I won't get to read, see, watch all of it.

Great post. Right on, of course.

{Just} Sara said...

amen to that!! it was so great! and yes...i too did cry when katniss volunteered! it was such a great movie and i love that you thought so too! p.s. i lava your blog! its press:)

{just} sara

Priscila ° said...

Completely agree! I love films, I love books, and I love communication -- this post is completely relevant to my interests. (:
I haven't kept up with blogs in a while, so it's good to be back and see you've been well!

Lovely Little Nest said...

Love this! I saw the Hunger Games at the IMAX this past weekend and felt the same way. I had heard a few slightly negative comments beforehand and was a bit nervous. However, I thought they did a great job of including each important event, and the it was perfectly well-cast. Thanks for your thoughts! :)

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