Books are Always Better than the Movies; It’s Inevitable

Eva Smedeby, Arts and Entertainmnet Editor

Once the film industry fails us, and a movie plummets in recollection of budget cuts and terrible acting, automatically, it seems as though it’s only the storyline to blame. However, despite how dreadful the movie may be, the story in itself — or the book it originates from — is never the culprit, but rather a masterpiece on paper succumbed to the horrors of a poorly made film.

When a book gets good reviews or amasses a fandom, both big or small, a movie is born. Now, this isn’t to speak on all films — some of which are derived directly from a script  — but in most cases, a paperback from Barnes & Noble is what starts it all.

In an effort to amass the same success in which the book did, or just please the fandom of it, novels ranging anywhere from 200, 600, and even 900 pages are forced into a mere 1-2 hour film  — which unarguably seems impossible considering the book averages out to a 6 hour read. 

The fact of the matter is that secluding a lengthy novel into a 2 hour long film is possible, considering its been done so many times, but the outcome is always more or less the same — a worse version of the book.

Percy Jackson, for example, is unarguably one of the greatest YA book series of all time, while the movies are… yeah, no. The first of the pentology, a 377 paged fantasy fiction novel, entitled Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief, was quickly adapted into a movie just 5 years post publication, following another film on the second novel 3 years later. The movies, of course, were a huge let down, missing multiple key plotlines and failing to live up to the imaginations of its readers. 

Even with a phenomenal castespecially notable actor Logan Lerman who took upon the role as Percy Jackson the movie couldn’t rise to the occasion, or rather meet the high standards with which the books achieved.

Film, however, gives the audience the perspective of sight, which unlike worded description, cannot be altered to one’s personal liking after having a complete visualization of the scene.”

Now, in these situations, there never really is anyone to blame. However much we oppose it, movies will always leave out scenes(some more important than others) because there simply is not enough time. No matter how high the budget or great the acting is, no 1-2 hour film could amount to the precision, detail, plot progression, and character development the same way in which an average sized novel does.

Imagination is also a huge contender in the film industries’ failure, as every book gives readers the possibility to work out the best scenario for every part of the novel. The nature, magic, characters – whomever or whatever it may be – can be changed or heightened to the appeal of the reader, which makes people’s attachments to these stories so much stronger.

Film, however, gives the audience the perspective of sight, which unlike worded description, cannot be altered to one’s personal liking after having a complete visualization of the scene.

The movie industry is also notorious for altering, or in some cases, taking out major plots and scenes entirely, which normally defeats the flow of the story, and rips the audience of a progressive plot. The pressure of fans adds to the potential flop of a film, which nonetheless rushes the movie process making it the worst version of itself. 

It’s unfortunate, to say the least, that the credibility and greatness of a novel is completely debunked after its movie adaptation plummeted. By the time a film is completed, you can certainly check off “rushed scenes,” “plot holes,” and “altered characters,” as that is the common reality of movie adaptations.

In short, next time you see a poorly made novel adaptation on the film screen, don’t be so quick to debunk the book, as more often than not, the novel isn’t the problem.