7 Reasons Why You Should Not Judge A Book By Its Movie - How Film Adaptations Fail To Deliver

Two of the most common mediums for storytelling are books and movies.

Two of the most common mediums for storytelling are books and movies. The first ever book that was adapted into a movie was Sherlock Holmes Baffled, in 1900. And the amount of movies that are basing their scripts off of best-selling books has only increased since then. Now, of course, there are a lot of reasons behind this. A film adaption of a best-selling book guarantees a huge audience in the theatres. It basically gets a ready-made audience, even if the film adaptations truncate the much-loved story and morph it into something different.

Film adaptations rarely stay loyal to the books. We have recently witnessed a plethora of film adaptations that have gotten the math all wrong. Examples include Fifty Shades of Grey, London Fields, a lot of the Harry Potter movies, The Notebook- the list is endless, but this article isn’t. As an ardent reader, I personally feel that books are almost always better than their film adaptations. And there are also a number of reasons for that.

Here’s Why Books are Better:

1. The Details

Harry Potter film adaptations

Harry Potter

Apart from narrating the plot in a comprehensive and precise manner, books also give us an in-depth idea of the situations the characters are going through. This is certainly why the reader connects with the character. Films, on the other hand, fail to do so due to various reasons, which is why the connection with the characters, although formed, is comparatively short-lived.

2. Actors Don’t Ruin Characters in Books

Bella Swan film adaptations

Bella Swan in Twillight franchise

In film adaptations, it’s often observed that a character is completely ruined due to the actor’s bad acting. This is a major reason why most of the film adaptations fail the books. This does not happen in books. In books, you see characters just the way they are written to be.

3. The Pacing

The pace of a book is slow. Books allow you to truly enjoy the story. They allow you to take your own time and explore, enjoy and understand the story. In movies, however, the runtime is roughly an hour and a half to two hours. It is very rushed compared to the books. Film adaptations usually don’t allow you to enjoy the story in in its true essence.

4. Three Dimensional Characters

Percy Jackson film adaptations

The cast of Percy Jackson

Books allow the readers to be a part of the plot as a whole. As readers, we get insight into all aspects of the situations, the reader’s thoughts, and many other parts of the book. This makes the characters in a book three-dimensional. But that hardly ever happens in film adaptations. Due to the limited time, Movies, more often then not, disappoint the audiences during the book to movie transition.

5. The Impact

Ferdia Shaw is Artemis Fowl in Disney’s ARTEMIS FOWL

We all know that the pen is mightier than the sword. In this case, though, the pen is mightier than the camera. You cannot finish a 50,000-90,000 word book in two hours. But you can finish a movie in two hours- sometimes even less. This is why the impact the two leave on you differs drastically.

6. Quality Differences

A lot of movies usually aim for commercial benefits. The same can be assumed for film adaptations. They ususally face a lot of criticism in the box office. Even the Harry Potter films have, at times, faced criticism for a lot of things including ill-explained plot. Because it is based on a book, the film’s need to stay parallel to the book’s plot is crucial.

7. Background Information

Neville-Longbottom-film adaptaions- harry potter

Neville Longbottom in Harry Potter was a great character in the books. In the movies though…

Books give background information about almost any character or situation- irrespective of whether it is crucial to the plot or not. This increases the readers’ engagement with the book’s characters and plots. This is also what film adaptations usually lack.

All of this is not to say that film adaptations are not good. Even they have their fair share of advantages. They provide us with music and visual designs, both of which the book cannot provide. It helps a lot in visualising some aspects of the book, and that’s a huge plus. Additionally, film adaptations summarise the books in a mere two hours. This is great for anyone and everyone who hates reading books. In short, both, the books and their film adaptations have their fair share of positive and negative points.

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