Can we say the book is always better than the film?

In a lecture the other day, our lecturer asked why do you read the books you read? Other than recommendations from my parents, the one frustratingly obvious reason I choose to read lots of books is because I enjoy the film adaption and think the book will probably be even better. This got me thinking about book to film adaptations, why they are so popular and how adaptations place quite heavy constraints on both the book and film industry.

Let’s all just establish that right now – the book is usually better than the film. Call me biased because I’m a literature student, but I really do believe that books are one of the best ways to exercise your mind; they work your creativity, concentration and allow a wonderful escape from dreary daily life. I suppose you could say films do the same, but you can sort of passively absorb film in a way I don’t think books allow you to. By saying that I’m not trying to disregard films altogether as an entertainment/art form, I just value books that little bit more.

“I find it frustrating that ‘the film’ of a story is always so heavily advertised compared to ‘the book’”

I find it frustrating that ‘the film’ of a story is always so heavily advertised compared to ‘the book’. Yes, I understand that this is because the film industry is a larger more lucrative one, but perhaps this wouldn’t be the case if all books weren’t so accessible in film form. We’re a pretty lazy race a lot of the tine, and it’s easier for all of us to think “why would I read Gone Girl when I can just watch it? Perhaps people should be given this option less often. Perhaps we should be given this option less often? Perhaps if less fantastic books were turned into sub-par films then more people would feel encouraged to read.

It works both ways round, too. With the copious book to film adaptations, little room is left for original screenplays to be turned into films. I feel people are far less encouraged to write original screenplays because perhaps film production companies are likely to view a book adaptation as a safer bet.

“I can also remember many times when I have read a book and just thought, ‘this would make a much better film than it does book’”

I can also remember many times when I have read a book and just thought, “this would make a much better film than it does book” but perhaps the author has never considered screenplay writing as “their thing” because it allows for less originality.  Essentially, just as the book industry deserves to be shouted about a little bit more and amazing original works deserve to be advertised a bit better, the film industry deserves a shot of originality through its veins and lots of time and talent deserves to be thrown at something other than yet another teen dystopia trilogy book adaptation.

“the one frustratingly obvious reason I choose to read lots of books is because I enjoy the film adaption”

I’m not saying book to film adaptations are always awful. Just look at the popularity of Harry Potter – both the books and films are adored worldwide. I’m not calling for a total cull of adaptations, just for the two art forms to be recognised as separate entities and appreciated so. Something which is difficult to do when the two are so closely intertwined.

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