There has been this movement evolving since the advent of movies that basically claim that all books are better than the movies that reference said book.
This, my friend, is simply not the case.
I can’t tell you how many dating profiles I have read that reference this ugly myth. These people say this to sound so educated and erudite, that reading a book somehow makes you so smart yet watching a movie, or even worse TV, is for the idiocracy. Even worse, there are people who brag….yes actually brag…about not having a TV. This level of arrogance is so ignorant yet so ubiquitous in our pseudo-intellectual society that it needs to be quelled right now.
First off, if you don’t have a TV, you are a moron. TV (this includes internet or any sort of video watching) is a great way, possibly the best way, of keeping up with news and modern day social trends. If you want to live like Bobby Fisher and isolate yourself from the world, then go ahead. I prefer to be connected.
Secondly, and more importantly, the book is not ALWAYS better than the movie. Sometimes it is. Sometimes it isn’t. But definitely not always.
Three quick examples:
1. The Godfather
The book was a best seller, but more of a dime store read. The movie is epic and possibly the greatest set of movies ever made that did not include hobbits.
2. Brokeback Mountain
The book was a little short story which was quaint. The movie was an epic film that challenged the viewer about his/her feelings on sexuality and basic human love.
3. 2001: A Space Odyssey
Arthur C. Clarke is a creative mind, not a great write. 2001 the book was stale and had little impact. Stanley Kubrick, a man who loves to take stories and for better or worse twist them into his own, created the most profound and deep Sci-Fi movie ever. Even today, close to 50 years since its debut, critics still talk about it’s symbolism and references to mankind as a whole.
There are even more than these three: Shawshank Redemption, Jaws, Die Hard (yes that was a book), Forrest Gump, Silence of the Lambs, etc.
This is not even mentioning somewhat equivalent book/movie comparisons, such as Gone with the Wind, Grapes of Wrath, Blade Runner, Lord of the Rings (which I actually think the movies are better…that post will be coming soon), and Ben-Hur.
Yes, there are many books that are better than their movie adaptation. The Harry Potter series, Moby Dick, any book by Dickens or Austen, or really most classic novels are better than the movie. Wonder why is that? Maybe because those books are already considered ‘classics’ and making a movie or anything at a high level is hard? Hmm….
Anyway, don’t be one of those pretentious assholes that boast about books always being better. It is simply not so. Learning how to watch a movie is just as difficult as learning how to read a book. It is more than just watching images dance on the screen, or reading individual words on a page. It is about noticing the story arc, identifying key moments, understanding the depth the artist is going for, and seeing the beauty and quality of the work.
In other words, don’t be an ignorant shithead who thinks they are better than everyone.