I went to see Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters with the Spinebreakers. We all needed to write something on the film and our views on it. I did my research first. I re-read the book, made numerous notes, wrote down everything I wanted to see in the film and brought a notebook into the cinema with me, ready to jot down my thoughts as the film played out before me.
The film was amazing – seriously, it blew me away. It was so, so much better than its prequel, Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief, and stuck so much closer to the book – something that obviously made me exceptionally happy.
The people who worked on the film... they got a lot of things right. They got the characters, the world, the creatures, the feel all right. They changed the plot, of course, and missed various things out, adding others in their place. But this didn't matter – Percy Jackson and the Sea of Monsters was absolutely stunning.
So why am I so obsessed with the things they changed? Why am I so much more in love with the book than with the film?
The same thing happened with The Hunger Games. They got almost everything exactly right, but it still... it didn't have the same feel to it. The suspense and emotion just didn't project from page to the screen.
Films... they can do a lot of things. They can bring whole worlds to life before our eyes, make characters into living, breathing flesh and blood. They can have us on the edge of our seats as vicious battle scenes are fought right before us, have us sobbing over a death, a heartbreak or smiling with joy. Films can make us see a lot of things – sometimes things that even books cannot do so well. They are a pure escape – there's nothing like sitting in the cinema, devoid of any other distraction, focused completely on the story playing on the screen.
Films are great, but they just don't have the same...inclusion that books have. You're merely an observer: you aren't feeling everything the character feels, aren't reading every single one of their innermost thoughts, all of their doubts and fears and hopes. Films let you observe everything. Books? Books let you feel everything, know everything and LIVE everything. With a book, you can be the hero who kills the demon with one twirl of your blade. You can be the girl who battles cancer, along with all the pain and uncertainty that comes with it. You can be a demigod, you can be an alien, you can be an angel, a god, a villain, a hero. You can be in love, you can hate, you can triumph, you can lose. You can be anything and everything. There are no limits. No restrictions. Nothing is impossible, nothing is out of reach…
And that… that is why books are always better. When you read a book, nothing else exists and you can be a whole other person in this completely new and amazing world. You can live as someone else, free of your own troubles, even if only for two hundred pages.
Books are magic. Which is why I'm telling you all to forget about movie magic and get back to the pure magic that lives upon your bookshelves. Because while the movies are good… the books are ALWAYS better.
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The thing is... most days people prefer to have a day sitting in front of the television watching the latest films and TV shows; some people even just watch TV for the sake of watching TV and they're willing to watch any old junk. And it's more common to find people that prefer to sit in front of the television all day than it is to find someone that wants to sit at home reading all day. I love reading with a passion; I love letting my imagination run wild and imagining what all these characters look like and how they're feeling. Films don't do that for you but books do! Almost all books that become bestsellers get turned into films and sometimes the films really please you and sometimes it can be soul-destroying!
Two of my favourite series of books have both been turned into films - The Hunger Games and Twilight.
And after watching the first Hunger Games it totally ruined the book for me forever. I can't imagine the Hunger Games the way I used to when I re-read the book. The Hunger Games was somewhere to escape to on a good or bad day; it made you forget where you were and start being a different person, even if it only lasted the length of a book. It felt like it was my life and not Katniss's but now that I've seen the film I no longer imagine how the characters looked and reacted to everything. But watching and reading Twilight didn't feel quite like that, because when Twilight first came out in cinemas I was to young to watch it so I wasn't interested in it but as we all know Twilight is now one of the most popular teen books and movies ever! So once I got to the age of wanting to watch and read the books it was too late to think up my own imagination of the book because by then I had seen and read so many things about Twilight I already knew most of what happened. So films in some ways ruin books for children. And if the Hunger Games turns out like Twilight - all the people that are too young to watch it now but might when they are older will have already seen all the trailers and read all the articles in magazines - the experience of reading the book will be totally ruined for them.
And then you have people that just skip the book and go straight to the film. I understand that some people actually don't like reading so they probably won't read the book but they might watch the film, but to just skip the book completely because they're desperate to watch the film is disappointing. I like to read the books first to know where it all started and why they decided to make a film out of it. I didn't read all of The Host (Stephenie Meyer's other novel) before I saw the film but I did read some of it and it was a great book from what I read but also a great film. And of course sometimes films seem to be the same idea as the book had but are not actually based on the book. So it's a bit like Twilight for instance; Twilight's inspiration came mainly from the American TV show Buffy The Vampire Slayer but had its own little twist. And that's a bit like what films do to books. They make it seem like they've taken the idea from the book but switched it up so it's not actually anything to do with the book.
And for this reason that's why I prefer books to films. Films destroy really amazing books! And TV has changed books. Maybe some people only read books because they're the reason that the films exist and I think that reading a book because of TV and films is a bad way to read; I think people should read a book because they actually want to read the book and every book should be a new story. And of course there are films not related to books at all and books that films aren't based on, and sometimes that is exactly how it should be: sometimes it's best if the two things aren't connected.
Compare and Contrast: Movies vs. Books
When you ask people whether they prefer 'Movies or Books', you are likely to get a variety of replies. Some people will prefer reading books and other will prefer watching movies. There is another interesting phenomena and that is a section of the population that enjoy both equally.
For some people, reading a book is not the easiest activity in the world. We have all sometimes picked up a book and put it down after battling to read the first page. This is nothing to do with ability or concentration, it is to do with whether or not the book is of personal interest or whether the book actually meets our needs. In other words what is inside the covers of the book may not match the blurb on the outside which is very misleading and very disappointing. The same can be said for movies. How often have we all watched the trailers advertised on TV, thinking that the movie looks really interesting? Then follows the anticipation of going to the movies to watch it, or wait until its available to download and rent at home, only to watch the first ten minutes and realise that it is not going to get any better than 'boring'!
Sometimes it is easier to watch a movie rather than read the book. Some movies that are adaptations of books can enhance the setting, the scenery and dialogue. This is especially helpful for people who have experienced difficulty in learning to read, as watching the movie as well as reading the book can enhance the experience. A movie adaptation can enhance the experience of the book and can bring to life, and get transported into 'this other world'. Visual images are very powerful, but so is the experience of reading and development of our own images. It can also be argued that in order to use our imagination whilst reading we need to have some actual experience of the situation and that experience either comes through accurate and informative writing or visual images (movies).
There are several books that have been made into movies. The interpretation of a book into a movie is bound by resources and finance, and the visualisation of the director. Meanwhile reading the book, taps into the readers imagination, that does not have the same constraints and can be picked and put down at any convenient time.