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“Is it better to watch the movie or read the book?” This is one question that people have wrestled with for years. Film buffs say that movies are better because they are easy for a variety of people to understand. Reading aficionados argue that books broaden minds while movies turn them to mush. With such strong defenders on each side, it is somewhat surprising to discover that they have any similarities. Despite their many differences, films and novels both tell the same story in an entertaining way.
As forms of entertainment, both movies and books use the same general components. They each have main and minor characters, arcing plots, stunning settings, and subtle or obvious themes. However, they have to convey these things through different mediums. Movies rely mostly on visual effects. Viewers can see the characters and setting and watch the plot unfold before their eyes. On the other hand, books require vivid language and strong descriptive words. If utilized properly, the wording of the novel will allow readers to “see” the story just as easily as the moviegoers.
From characters to themes to the ability to see the action, films and novels have the same general parts.
Using these similar components, movies based on novels try to tell the same story as the novels but do not always succeed. Hollywood often dumbs down the story to make it understandable for a wider audience. In the interest of time, directors may also pull out characters or scenes or change them from the author’s original depiction.
For example, a director may demote a sidekick from helpful assistant to merely comedic relief because he does not believe that people consider minor characters very important. However, by reading the novel, readers know that they are absorbing the original story. Also, since books have no time limit, the author can write deeper character development and powerful descriptions. As opposed to films, which can sometimes seem generic, novels are discernibly more genuine.
Watching a movie is also not as significant a time investment as reading a book. Most movies are one and a half to two hours maximum. In that two hours or less, viewers will have vegetated in front of a moving picture screen and will not come away with any more knowledge than the basic plot. Instead, reading a book may take days or weeks, but it provides greater benefits. Reading fills the reader’s mind with a deeper understanding of the story and possibly some new vocabulary words. For instance, authors can add introductions, prologues, or epilogues to explain their stories more clearly and completely. Books are also portable and can be read almost anywhere, which adds convenience. Though it takes much longer to read a novel, the investment will prove more profitable since reading is mind-broadening, rather than mind- numbing.
Next, the amount of money spent on a movie or book can directly affect the level of entertainment. A ticket to a movie theater is usually around ten dollars, which not only saves a seat in the theater but also pays for the classic movie theater experience. Viewers who especially enjoy the movie and want to see it multiple times may decide to rent it or buy it. Readers may decide to buy their books as well. Prices vary from five to eight dollars used or ten to twenty dollars new. Instead of buying them, however, they have the option of checking out the novel for free at their local library. Libraries may carry movies as well, but only a few of these are new releases or quality movies worth watching. While books can be acquired and read free of charge, seeing a current movie almost always requires payment, which may make it less enjoyable for some.
Depending on the money spent, movies and books offer a variety of unique experiences. Popcorn, drinks, or candy can be purchased at a severely inflated price to enhance the movie theater experience. When watching movies at home, viewers can make their own popcorn and get their own drinks for much less money. On the other hand, reading a book does not provide the reader with much of an experience except through his or her imagination. Books can transport readers to mythical places that cannot be seen in real life. They can also experience the people and places of the world without ever leaving the comfort of their recliners. Films and novels each have different but equally enjoyable qualities.
Ultimately, although books and movies have their differences, both are exciting forms of entertainment. Movies are usually more expensive and do not provide much mental stimulation. They may also have been altered from the author’s original words. Novels, on the other hand, take a longer time to read but offer greater benefits. They help people exercise their imaginations and encourage a wider vocabulary. Nevertheless, both watching movies and reading books deliver unique experiences that appeal to different people. While novels actually better their audiences, movie going is still a great American pastime that should be practiced in moderation, not disregarded.
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