Are books REALLY better than movies?

Are books REALLY better than movies?


I had an interesting thought the other day, which doesn’t happen often, so I made note of this one. Are movies and TV really a lower art form than novels? I’m not sure about whoever may be reading this, but I grew up hearing that books benefited the consumer in a way that movies did not. Books made you think harder because you had to imagine what was happening, as opposed to having images spoonfed to you. Now that I’ve grown a little since then (and have started reading less), I wonder if this assessment is correct. It’s true that movies can be made lazily, just as they can be watched lazily. But can’t the same be said for books? We’ve all read stories that look like they’ve been assembled by a robot in marketing, and we’ve all read books with our eyes half-open.

teh most boring book EVEEEERRRR
I don’t remember much of this book.

Yes, it’s probably not a good idea to grow up on nothing but summer action flicks, but it’s probably not a good idea to grow up on nothing but Nancy Drew (or at least the Nancy Drew I remember reading. Blech), either. Sure, I used to be an elitist snob and believe that cinema was SO LOWBROW ZOMG (and that attitude was heavily reinforced; see above), but lately I’ve become fascinated by movies and TV and how they convey story and emotion. They also interest me because they require the collaboration and expertise of a huge group of people. And if one of them screws up so much as a single stitch on a character’s clothes, someone is bound to notice it and complain on an obscure IMDB board.

The writer works alone. Or rather, the writer collaborates with the entire world, but without the world’s knowledge–there’s not a single book that came into being without the influence of others.

Is one method of creating art inherently more valuable than the other? Even now, I’m not so sure. Maybe we need both equally. Movies to prove that there’s more to life than words and books to prove that there’s more to life than images.

5 thoughts on “Are books REALLY better than movies?

  1. Interesting post. : ) I have always felt a need to judge movies and novels separately. To me saying one is better suited for storytelling than the other is like saying blackberries are tastier than fish, and sure, you can make some damn tasty stuff with both but the experience will always be difderent. One of movies’ shortcomings are duration, novels do not share that restriction in the same sense and perhaps that is why many feel novels are the better medium for storytelling. On the other hand, an exellent movie can show us a different kind of depth and abstract beauty that words cant really touch as effectively. They have their strengths and weaknesses, and I enjoy both in different ways but one cannot substitute the other. It is when they try that they often fail.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. If there’s one thing I hate, it’s when people complain about how the movie changed the storyline of the books. Of course they changed it; they only had two hours for three hundred pages of plot!
      Like you, I judge movies as their own artform. One movie that captured something words couldn’t was Unbroken, I think. Beautiful imagery and symbolism. I know a lot of people hated it, but I personally adored it.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I cry about this all the time but I get it. Books and movies cannot be compared as simply as people want to compare them. Books have length, language, imagery and are conveyed through a singular voice. Movies are collaborative and though short, have images, music, action and all the technological endowments that special effects has to offer. It is not so much a matter of which method tells stories better, but a matter of utilising each method to its full effect of telling a story.

    When a person says Book X was better than the movie adaptation of Book X, (let’s be real, this assessment is probably clouded with the strongest bias, we all become attached) they probably are protesting THE WAY the production team used the film genre to capture the story. Sometimes in film, having flash, explosions and effects is more important to the producers than conveying emotion, images and stories.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh, absolutely, and thanks for pointing this out. Yeah, there are movies that didn’t do justice to the book at all (changing plotlines for no reason, dumbing down the central message, simplifying the conflicts), and I get very dissatisfied with those. I was talking more about the people (and others like them) who complain because the Harry Potter movies don’t cover every single bit of dialogue (despite the Harry Potter movies remaining very true to the spirit of the books, IMO).
      With that said, I still like the Harry Potter books better, just because there’s no way a movie could ever cover that much material in detail. Maybe a miniseries? 😉

      On the other hand, there are some movies I actually like better than the books, such as Lord of the Rings, which probably makes me a heretic of some sort. Oops.


      1. YOU LIKED THE LOTR MOVIES MORE THAN THE BOOKS!!??? *throws rocks*, no, just kidding, no rock throwing. You aren’t a heretic, you can still sit with us 🙂 Because I read more than a lot of people I know, they expect me to think the book is always superior. A lot of the time I do, and though I love when dialogue from the books is used verbatim on screen, I get that movies and books work differently. Maybe the lovers of the books need to develop a bit of distance from the story, just a bit, so that they can experience it in different ways and appreciate those differences rather than cry about altered dialogue. I hate when movies fail to capture the spirit of the story, that is failure I think. And shitty casting.


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