Movies vs. books: Which version is better

MOVIES DOMINATE the mass majority of pop culture. All movies tell a story and much like literature, they follow the same story telling pattern with plot, climax, falling action and resolution. So while movies are great and I enjoy watching most of them, there is one type of movie I cannot stand watching and that is books to movies.

Books to movies are pretty obvious, but these are stories or novels that were previously written and then due to popularity or falling into the right hands, they are rewritten and turned into movies.

For most people when two of their favorite things are combined, they love it, but for me this is not one combination I particularly enjoy. I read for enjoyment. It lets my imagination run away, even if it’s just a few minutes to experience things as the narrator does, not because I am watching him, but because, in a way, I am him or her.

When a novel is written in the first person, where the narrator is using “I” or “me,” as the readers, we are inside his or her head. We hear the thoughts and insecurities. We hear the human qualities and imagine what the narrator looks like. We fall in love with these characters and care for them, which sounds crazy, but it’s true. We do and when they are happy, we are happy, when they cry or worse die, we fight back the tears.

When the antagonist rears its ugly head, we snarl right along with them. Through their eyes, we see their world and learn their stories – past, future and present.

In movies, we, as viewers don’t get to see the narrators’ thoughts, well, in this case, main characters’ thoughts, we only see the actions of the characters. I feel cheated in a way that I don’t see the thoughts and get to know the character. Their backstory is sometimes unknown. I cannot fall for these characters, and I will admit I may be sad when they die, but it is not the same.

When I read, I always have an idea of what the protagonist looks like, whether it is male or female. But then when these pieces of lit are turned into movies, I am always slightly disappointed with the casting. Sometimes the actor or actress that was cast for the part was not who I envisioned.

Then, of course, there is the case that has so recently plagued movie screens. A book becomes really popular, and it is a story that would not translate very well to film.

For example, “Fifty Shades of Grey.” I have read this series mostly because everyone was talking about it and how great it was. It was good for a quick junk food read, but I cannot see how this will translate to the silver screen properly, especially with some of those scenes. Plus the main character, Ana, is so in her head for majority of the book, how will these thoughts come across in the movie?

I do have to admit that one of my favorite movies, “Fight Club,” was a book to movie kind of thing, though in this case I did watch the movie first when it came out in 1999 and did not know it was a book until 2009.

When I did discover it was in fact a book, I debated about reading it, but being that my favorite author, Chuck Palahniuk, wrote it, I gave it a shot. Turns out this was one of the better books to movies I have found. It’s a weird case where the movie was actually better.

There are a lot of books, such as “The Lord of the Rings” which I have not read, and I’m not sure if I plan on reading this series.

Van Dyne can be reached at