Book versus Movies: The Debate

The debate of book vs movie is eternal. Lina Sepulveda Gonzalez takes a deeper look at one of entertainment’s biggest talking points of the century.

Some argue that confronting books and movies is like comparing bananas with plantain; they both come from the same family but have completely different flavours.

Bookworms would argue that movies are for those with lazy eyes, that the uniqueness of a book cannot be conveyed through a movie. Regardless, movies are perceived to be a public favourite and often considered the more sensible choice. 

“The movie did not do  any justice to the story and development of the book’s characters”

Above are the most common arguments that each side tends to pick. But is one more valid than the other?  To understand the root of these arguments, we need to put ourselves in the perspective of the audience; the readers and the viewers.

It is undeniable that reading allows one to create a more intimate and personalized world based on the story of the book. . The portrayal of characters is subject to who is reading the book, and how the reader can develop the characters, the surroundings or any other elements through their own imagination. The convenience is also a huge plus for books. There is no need for a charger, Wi-Fi or data to access your book. All you need is the book itself; you can read or re-read anywhere, at any point in time. A book is also a journey of self-discovery where you can picture yourself in someone else’s life, letting you delve deep into the shadows and emotions of another world, allowing you to experience what the author prepared for you. How you react to situations is up to you, building expectations for the outcome of the book or any character, in particular, is part of your journey. Books are so unforgettable, that the readers create their own motion picture films through the fantasy constructed by the book. How can one forget or ignore the details? because the most memorable movies are either based on novels and comics (which are also books) or at least inspired by one!

Movies play a huge role in society, you can easily share a movie with someone else: a friend, your family, allowing one to build a bond with people, which books are less capable of doing.  Reading books is a more individualistic activity. Furthermore, movies let us interact with anybody regardless of their age.  You can easily share movies with a child and the experience will be rewarded with happiness. It is also more accessible for those who cannot hear or see – not many books are written in Braille. Besides, they do not require extreme concentration as books do. 

“How can I go through a book with  2000 pages that only involves the description of a character?”

No one really talks about how rough and common reading slumps are. The inability to read is quite demotivating, and to an extent watching movies is a complement of that, often providing more pleasurable feeling. A movie director can use creativity and imagination in making movies the same way a writer does in their books. The use of colour and photography is an essential element for movies, Wong Kar-Wai’s movies and Quentin Tarantino’s movies are good examples of this, similar to the contribution of remarkable quotes and stories from Charles Dickens in books.. The recent developments of the cinema industry allowed us to see all types of movies, in different forms and languages, now easily accessible through our smartphones with the current streaming services. There is no need to go to the cinema for a movie, nowadays you can also buy or rent a movie online from the comfort of your own home. It is also a bridge for other countries to share their culture, using media such as movies.  Movies are also a powerful tool for the younger generations to explore different countries from the filmmaker’s perspective. Having said that, we cannot forget that the movie industry generates more jobs and more monetary support for our society in comparison with the book industry that only generates a tiny portion of what the big movie industries contribute.

Up till this point, it may seem that I have been mentioning how they both differ. However, I have just explained that they are both complements of each other. Books were the original source material that movies were born out of to enhance the experience They complement each other as they are themselves related.

I would like to invite any and everyone to join the Bookish society in the ‘Book vs Movie’ debate this Sunday, the 22nd of November. You can find us on Instagram, where you will find all details for the event and how to join the society.

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