7 Reasons Why The Movie Is Better Than The Book

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…

reading 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?

20 thoughts on “7 Reasons Why The Movie Is Better Than The Book

  1. You make some valid points – including number 7.
    I’m a high school English teacher. So, read the book or I’m going to have to speak to your parents.
    Really, for those who enjoy reading – there is nothing like it. I personally love movies as well as books.

  2. You have some valid points, especially number five. However the first reason you list? That’s one of the major reasons I’m usually disappointed by the movie version. When I read a book and love it, I’m not in a hurry to leave those characters, their environment. Movies generally leave me with a rushed ‘that was fun, now leave’ feeling that’s well, disappointing. And as far as the argument that books aren’t great for musicals? Neither are movies. There are only a handful (in my opinion) of successful musical-movie (and vice versa) translations.
    Consider my reply a success, though. I’ve conceded that you do present some fair points…high praise coming from the kid that was grounded from reading, not TV. 😉

  3. I admit it – I love movies but if it is a choice between the movie or the book the book wins hands down everytime. The reason is simple the book when read is vividly visualised by me, the movie is seen through another persons eyes.

  4. I agree with all the reasons except number 7. Being a female, yawn….it’s all the same. However, as much as I love movies, you still can’t tear me away from excellent books.

  5. Number 6 has always been my go-to argument. THANK YOU! My book-nerd friends look down on me for preferring television and movies to reading works of fiction. I read to learn, not to escape. I watch General Hospital and The Walking Dead, but I also read books about neuroscience and sociology. Give me Oliver Sacks over J.K. Rowling any day! And then let me watch This Is The End again.

  6. I used to actually say the movie was better. Now I realize there is something else going on. Which ever one you get to first is what you are emotionally attached to. I saw the cartoon Hobbit movie when I was a kid, and I loved it. When I was older I read the book, and I was like, “meh”.
    But most of the time when people see a movie they don’t plan on reading the book. On the other hand when a book lover sees their book is being made into a movie, then they rush out and see it. Of course then they complain, “the book was better than the movie”. Well they’re more attached to the book, because they read it first. Everyone who didn’t read the book went to that same movie and had nothing to complain about.

  7. It’s a matter of preference. If you can only be entertained without thinking it’s your preference.
    I disagree with all, except number 5, and movies are always going to be around (although most great movies comes from exceptional books) so those people are not going to be unemployed.
    And I agree with johngordon321 who said ” Which ever one you get to first is what you are emotionally attached to”
    People who read the books go to the movies and complains about it, but the people who didn’t read the books, watched the movies and did’t complain never get to read the book and form the opinion. People watch more movies because they’re lazy.

  8. As a person with both a film degree and a creative writing degree, I feel like I’m the only person who can speak expertly on this matter. And I have to say that you’re wrong. But you’re also right.
    Books and movies are very different things. It’s like comparing apples to motor oil. Books typically want to make you think and movies typically want to make you escape. There are exceptions of course, and my 68 All-time Best Movies list is riddled with thinkers on there, but still, Step Brothers would be a shitty book, no matter how you slice it.
    What I don’t like is grouping all books and movies together. There are some crappy movies out there. Granted, wasting your time on a crappy movie only ruins the better part of an evening, whereas a bad book could take weeks. But this isn’t always the case. Ever read The Lorax? I just read it to my daughter tonight. Took 7 minutes. The movie is over 10 times that long. (Ed note: This is one of only three books of which I’ve also seen the movie)
    Anyway, I largely agree that I’d rather watch the movie, but I hesitate to use the word “better.” What I really hate are the people who just say that books are better than movies to sound educated. They really just sound pretentious. They’re almost as bad as the people who say movies are better than books just to be contrarian (aw snap!).

  9. Interesting, very interesting, we are not alike at all, you and i, Darrell. Your very different than i, really – very different – “i came looking for those cold hard meta-statistics for the same question: books or movies: what %?”.

    Very nice prose, i finished with a well-swept wind at my back – thank you for taking the time to compose so lovely a journal entry – i am grateful to have met so unusual a personality; truly, thank you for sharing – Stuart

  10. Honestly, almostly everyone thinks books are better than movies. These were very good reasons of ‘movies are better than books’.

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