I think that movies are way better than books. I have this argument all the time with people. This is coming not only from someone who is a writer, but someone who believes in that old cliché; everyone has a book in them. In a survey reported by the NY TImes, 81% of Americans believe they have a book in them and that they should write it.
In my research I haven’t found a report on what percentage of people think that books are better than the movie, but if I gave my best guess based on those arguments I have had over the years I would suggest that 99% would disagree with me. Yes, in this debate, I am the 1%. But maybe when you see my reasons you might agree with me.
Those who read my blog regularly know that I do a little research on my stories. Most of it is sitting down at the computer using my old mate Google, and when looking for opinions, other people’s blogs, online media outlets, news aggregators and reblogging sites plus the comments left by their readers give a great insight into popular opinion.
When I googled “book is better than the movie” the Google results were in the millions. The search results showed copious amounts of websites with those “10 reasons why books are better than the movie” opinion pieces and plenty of “50 movies that are better than the book” which based on popular opinion makes sense.
When I googled “movie is better than the book” the Google results pretty much showed the same ones as the search above – Google having assumed I stuffed up with my question no doubt – and amongst them were a few “10 movies that are better than the book” and only one result actually showing me someone who has taken the time to consider reasons why the movie might be better. This writer however played Devil’s Advocate with her article because it came off the back of her previous blog post which was another one of the “10 reasons why books are better than the movie” opinion pieces.
But that makes her either a fence sitter or someone who is just trying to cover all bases because, well, people like me do random Google searches and yes, I found her blog. I normally do quite a bit of research into posts written by other bloggers because I don’t want to write the same thing that other people have written. And luckily for me, her list of reasons differs from mine (although some are the same) so here goes…
1. Movies Require Less Time
A book can take forever to read, especially when you’ve got children. Actually, everything takes more time when you have kids. Even if watching a 90 minute movie takes 30 minutes a night over three nights (not necessarily consecutive nights at that) at least I get to finish the story in a relatively short time. And with all the other things I could be reading like my fellow bloggers’ blogs, and my friends’ and families’ Facebook updates, when it comes to books, ain’t nobody got time for dat…
2. Movies Are Great Babysitters and Child Minders
Because I have kids, and because this is a dad blog first and foremost, yes these will have a parenting influence to them; well, maybe not all of them (but you’ll have to keep reading to know what I mean)…
Working from home I need to have peace and quite and I prefer to not have a small child or toddler sitting on my lap, or even in my home office bugging me when I’m trying to close a deal or promote my products and services.
If I was to give either child a book knowing all too well that the older one would read some of the words but soon struggle, and the toddler getting bored with books all too easy, sticking on a DVD with a 90 minute movie can look after them.
3. Musicals Make For Great Films, But Crappy Books.
Have you ever been to the theatre? I’m talking about London’s West End or New York’s Broadway? Off Broadway maybe? Any theatre within one of the fine casinos within the major capital cities of Australia?
I have been to a few and have purchased a couple of those oversized programs, many of which are picture books mainly, but many that have the story accompanying them. But forget about the program. Imagine that musical as a book, and with so many musicals being based on classic books, it’s not all that hard to do.
Now think of the songs. Think of the lyrics to those songs. Sing them in your head. You can do that can’t you? But can you quote lines from a book? 48 consecutive lines? You know, the amount of lines that the lyrics make when written down.
I wasn’t going to use individual examples but how can you go past Les Misérables for the masterpiece that it was when turned into a movie version of the musical? You know, that musical based on a book. A very long and tedious book.
4. And Even If The Movies Isn’t a Muscial… Music
From the incidental music (often referred to as the film’s score) to the soundtrack that contains the popular songs or film’s score on it which you can buy after seeing the movie, music is one of the most exciting bits of a movie to me.
Sure some can argue that the music is horror and suspense movies is basically telling you how to feel or react, but when the music can be used with an ironic twist as part of a plot device in those genres, it is quite a cool addition to the story itself.
But a book could have a soundtrack too, couldn’t it? It could be a collection of songs mentioned in the story, right? Yes, but in my research I uncovered some concept albums by bands that have been inspired by books, but the list is minimal.
And try reading a book with music on. You can’t concentrate on the story with you favourite song’s lyrics running through you head. But when that music is used in a scene in the movie it doesn’t distract from the movie. And the added bonus is, in the future, when you hear that song on the radio or on your own music device, you can be whisked back to that scene in the movie.
5. Movies Employ More People.
Ever sat through the closing credits to a movie and read the name of everyone who helped make it? No? Too long? How ironic.
Books take one person to write it. Books can take one other person to edit it. A book that is written on a computer and edited on one too can be converted straight away to a printable version ready for press, or turned into an ebook.
With the machines that print books being so automated these days, it can take only one person to take that manuscript and turn it into a finished book. Machines can package the books into cartons. Human hands do not need to touch the book until it reaches a book store or online distributor.
And if ebook readers do become the only means of reading one day, the writing, editing and publishing of an ebook could be done by just one person.
Of course if that book gets turned into a movie then many people will be employed. And it doesn’t stop with the production of the movie, but the distributor of the film into cinemas and the people who work in the picture theatres.
Even if people stopped going to the theatre to see movies and they were only available by digital download, it will still take many people to make a movie therefore employing more people.
6. Movies Allow You To Escape And Be Entertained.
Amongst every top 10 reasons why books are better than movies list on other people’s blogs, and within every debate I have ever had in person or online, the same argument is always put on top of the list; books allow you to use your own imagination and picture the people or places.
Sweet. I agree. But that involves thinking, and when I want to be entertained I don’t want to have to think. I need to think really hard at work. In fact, even once my day is done I am often thinking about work still.
When I am writing I need to think (yes, I’m thinking about the seventh point to add to my list as I write this sixth one).
But I don’t want to think when I am taking in a story. Why? Because in many stories you need to suspend your beliefs. You need forget about those myths that Myths Busters with bust. If I was reading a book and something was described that sounded unrealistic I would more than likely put the book down and whip out my smart-phone and Google whether that would be possible.
But not when I’m watching a movie. When I’m watching a movie I am glued to the screen because the silver screen and television sets are designed to put us in a zombie like trance. And that’s fine with me. Because if I was allowing my brain to function properly when watching a movie it would wander and I would end up thinking about work.
7. Reading Pornographic Stories Versus Watching Pornos.
Visually naked people. #FTW.
So what do you think? Do I make a good argument? Do you have any other reasons to add as to why movies are better than books?