Book Versus Movie Debate

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By Savannah Roberson | sroberson8@radford.edu

The long-standing debate of whether the book or the movie is better has divided book-lovers, movie-goers, and entertainment-seekers for years.

Those who lean toward books couldn’t imagine a movie adaptation ever being able to capture what is all contained inside the pages of a book. On the other hand, movie-lovers feel the opposite. They may know a story-line or even read the book first, but they often think the movie brings the true magic to the story.

I can see both sides of the argument. As an English major, a writer, and a person who reads regularly, I tend to lean a little more towards the book side of the debate.

With this in mind, I have also felt that some movie adaptations were as good as the book or even better than the book. Yes, there have even been a few times that I’ve read a book, not liked it, but ended up enjoying the movie adaptation.

I think it mostly depends on the type of story being told and the way in which it’s presented.

A lot of it isn’t preferenced; it’s just that some stories are better in print, while others look better played out on a movie screen. It takes a particular type of magic for both.

I always find it amusing when there are a book and a movie where I can compare the two and pick out the best parts from each. I love seeing the way a director envisions a story playing out and how he or she captures it on screen, even though it may be different than what I had in my head when I first read it the book.

With that being said, I’ve never gotten offended when a movie adaptation is not exactly what I’d imagined or even hoped it would be. Whether I’m surprised or disappointed, I try to appreciate that different people can read the same text and have so many different ideas that might be unique and different from anyone else’s.

To become upset when a movie isn’t exactly like the book, or to give up on the story because it’s not what we might have expected, doesn’t give credit to the artist’s vision. Even if it’s not our vision, it’s still a vision.

The book versus movie debate goes to show that the ways that each of us interpret the same story is unique and beautiful. Just because our interpretation doesn’t exactly match up with everyone else’s, doesn’t mean it isn’t right.

It’s easy sometimes to get caught up in the parts of a book that are missing in the movie or a character not looking exactly how you’d hoped. I believe it’s important to try to view books and their subsequent film as different pieces of art that should be seen in different ways.

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