Which First? The Book or the Movie?

1210313935_210420770_121299238_books_movies_xlarge_xlarge_xlargeI recently spoke with someone who walked out of The Fellowship of the Ring when it was in theaters and never bothered with the other two Lord of the Rings movies. His reason: Because Arwen had speaking parts and wasn’t just sitting on a throne like she does in the book.

I thought this was a little over the top, and quite frankly, I pity the guy for missing out on some of the greatest movies ever made. I tried to convince him to give them another try, but alas, some fish just won’t bite.

It’s said that the books are usually better than the movies, and generally that’s true. But in the case of Lord of the Rings and Forest Gump, I’d have to disagree. (Yeah… bet you didn’t know Forest Gump was a book — and I couldn’t finish it. It also has a sequel.)

However, when a book and the movie come out almost hand-in-hand, sometimes it’s hard to decide  what version of the story you’re going to expose yourself to first.

To me, if you watch the movie first, it’s kind of like reading the Cliff Notes. But on the flip side, if you read the book first, then you’re likely to be disappointed by the movie.

So I want to open up a discussion about this. Let’s hear your thoughts. What do you do, story-lovers, when you’re presented with both options. Share you’re ideas, pros, and cons.

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About adoptingjames
My lovely wife and I are foster parents, dog owners, home owners, and Christians. I am a blogger, book editor, and author. On my blog you'll read about adoption, faith topics, inspirational thoughts, and a whole lotta Disney/Pixar lovin'! For the most exciting read ever, check out my suspense/adventure novel, The Man in the Box. You. Will. Love it.

92 Responses to Which First? The Book or the Movie?

  1. Angela Death says:

    I think you should see the movie first if there is a choice in the matter. Better to read the cliff notes than to constantly compare the movie to the book, in my opinion.

  2. speedodoyle says:

    That’s a good question. I read the first couple of Harry Potter books, and when I seen the first movie, in the opening scene when Harry wakes up under the stairs and you can literally see the lipstick and blusher on him, it just threw me off straight away, and I have never been able to take the films seriously since, despite change of directors etc. Then with Twilight, I think the books are great, but the movies seem to miss the point, or miss something anyway. As a reader I would prefer the book in every instance. I can’t recall one movie which made an improvement on a book, and sparse few that even nearly matched them.

  3. Sonya says:

    I think it was the case for Harry Potter where I saw several of the movies before reading the equivalent book. I have to say, in a genre like fantasy fiction, it CAN help to see the movie beforehand. Seeing the movie beforehand allowed me to have important scenery, such as Hogwarts, and the epic fights visualized in my head, enhancing the experience of reading the book.

    • I agree with that. And I know exactly what you mean. Before I saw Disney’s Narnia for the first time, my vision of Lewis’s Narnia was very small, but Disney expanded that world for me and I have enjoyed the books even more since then.

  4. Lukraakvars says:

    I think I agree with Angela, The Hobbit is one of my favorite books and when I watched the movie I was a liiittle disappointed, not to the point of refusing to watch the next one when it is released. I think because our minds and imaginations are so strong we should see the movie first cos it doesn’t require out imagination to draw a picture for us… So when we read the book we are blown away (and can then sit and critique Hollywood on their crappy movie-making/or excellent movie-making skills hehe)

  5. Meghna N says:

    For me, watching a movie before reading the book it is based on is next to taboo. I don’t like it, when I’m reading, that scenes from the movie (no matter how exceptional) pop-up in my head with every corresponding chapter. It just ruins the whole losing-oneself-among-the-pages-of-a-book concept for me.
    And so, I am never reading a book after watching the movie… or rather, never watching a movie before reading the book!

    Here is a link to a similar post that I thought you’ll enjoy:
    http://vincentmars.com/2013/10/16/would-you-rather-read-the-book-or-watch-the-film-2/

    Cheers! :)

    • I’m glad I read Life of Pi before watching the movie, because I was then able to be more critical of the director and his steroid-filled vision of the book. I was able to call his bluff and say, “You could have made it so much better if you had focussed more on this and this, and less on your special effects.”

  6. It’s a fun question, but I almost always have to say “book first.” Movies are about visuals, action, color, the senses. Books are about words and language and meaning. LOTR is a perfect example: the fascination of the films comes with seeing the vast, indomitable forces of Mordor; feeling the wind rush by your face as Arwen flees the Dark Riders; hearing Gollum’s despair; basking in the glow of Rivendell. When you read the words, however, the story grows roots so much more deeply into your imagination, your psyche, your soul, than the movie could ever attempt. A picture may say a thousand words, but a thousand words well-written will erupt in a thousand pictures, flashing through the mind, digging deeply, soaring high above, touching you in ways a visual representation can never manage.

    Shakespeare is the grand exception because his works were written specifically for the stage, * to be seen.* Of course, when you read the plays, you can appreciate the language just as much, if not more, because the language is archaic and we need time to digest it.

    That’s my two cents :)

  7. bromickey says:

    If I do get the choice, I’ll try and read the book first. But it depends how long I’ve got before the film comes out, because I don’t like rushing books. I can see where you’re coming from with the ‘being disappointed by the film’ thing, but I like to see how they interpret it and think about what (if anything) I would change if I was making the film.

  8. Adam Shields says:

    I just finished writing a very geeky comparison of different versions of Ender’s Game (not including the movie which comes out this weekend). In general I liked to see how different people handle the same story in different ways. So I like to see remakes of movie (or songs). I am less concerned about every little scene than about how the differences affect the story.

    So I was pretty disturbed by the way the Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince handled the very big event at the end of the movie. Not because it was different, but because in the book Harry was paralyzed and couldn’t do anything. And in the movie Harry was told not to do anything but was perfectly free to have done something. In one, Harry’s guilt makes sense. But in the other his guilt doesn’t make sense because there wasn’t something that he could have done.

    So whether Arwen speaks or not doesn’t fundamentally change the story and I think it should be left up to the discretion of the the screenwriter/director. But other cases the story is changed, sometimes for the better, sometimes not.

    • You should watch the commentary for Lord of the Rings – Jackson gives very good reasons for the decisions that he made, and my wife I love the movies even more because of them.

  9. Halim says:

    I quite understand your friend about Arwen. I was very surprised how little she was actually featured in the books, and rolled my eyes at the movie industry’s insistence for squeezing in a romantic subplot. But thank goodness I’m not as passionate about LOTR, as yeah I wouldn’t want to miss such great movies.

    I would go for the book first. I like visualizing the characters, sometimes putting faces of actors to the voices of the dialogue. And seeing locations and scenery spread out in my mind as how I interpret the author’s description. I think it would be interesting to juxtapose this with what the director had put in the film.

  10. thomasjford says:

    I liked LOTR but never got into the books. But then there are probably books I’ve read and been disappointed with the movie. To be honest, if I read the book AFTER the film I tend to get a bit bored because I already know most of what is going to happen, but if I read the book first, the film still offers something fresh.

    The WORST thing is, if you have wanted to read a book for ages, and then suddenly they do a movie of it and you have to buy the book with the MOVIE COVER as it’s cover. Then it looks like you only heard of the book because of the movie! That happened to me with Life of Pi! Rubbish!

    • I can’t agree with this post more! I love being in suspense. I love being able to draw it out over days at a time with a book, closing it after each chapter, going about my day wondering what’s going to happen. You can’t really do that with a movie unless you just watch it in ten or twenty minute segments.

      And my wife and I are the same way about book covers. If it’s avoidable, we will insist on getting the original book cover. Because then it makes us look like we were fans even before Hollywood discovered it :)

  11. thesoulspath says:

    The book first! However, I have had in some cases where I’ve seen the movie and read the book after. As much as it is great to see the characters and the story shown in a movie, I prefer watching the story play out in my head.

  12. I used to think that the book is better than the movie, until I watched the BBC 1995 mini series of Pride and Prejudice and Lord of the rings.
    For Pride and Prejudice, I fell in love with the book when I first read it and then found the film and fell in love with the story all over again. Things like seeing the gorgeous scenes of British country side and ball rooms just enhanced the imagery in my thoughts and added to reading the book (re-read it several times).
    For Lord of the rings, I first saw a little bit of the second film, and I was a little confused. This made me stop watching the movie and wave it off as a confusing story until years later when I picked up the book to read it… and fell in love with the story. After I read the book I wanted to give the film a second try and this time, started watching from the first film and now that I actually understood the story, I LOVED it. Lord of the rings remains still as one of the best films and stories I’ve been lucky enough to enjoy ^^

  13. bookbakeblog says:

    To me, it’s whichever came first, and that’s the book, in almost all cases. I want to read the original story from the original source (the author) before I see or read anything that’s related to it. Watching the film first kind of feels to me like reading the second book in a series before reading the first one. Of course I’ve seen a film or two before I read the book it was based on, but if I can, I prefer to read the book first.

  14. Diana says:

    Indeed, the book is the best choice, especially when it comes first. And that’s a usual thing. I can’t wait for the Fifty Shades of Grey-First Part of the movie to appear in august, and that’s just beacuse i red the entire trilogy.
    There are special books deserving special movies, but I alwasys read the book, not see the movie.

  15. joecruzmn says:

    book first then movie that way you can criticize what they missed when they should have put it in the movies. My wife likes the books better than the movies.

  16. lilmountain says:

    The book, always :)

  17. Aussa Lorens says:

    I have to go with book first– you gain so much more from the written word that cannot be captured on screen. Once you’ve had that experience you can go watch a shiny synopsis at the theatre. I’ll admit that some movies are better than books though– I read “The Notebook” by Nicholas Sparks and I’m pretty sure I threw it across the room and then had to purge or something. Worst book I’ve ever read. But I allowed someone to make me watch the movie and it was decent for a chick flick.

    PS I’m really embarrassed that I just talked about The Notebook. I promise I do have a brain.

  18. missgiven says:

    I read most of Peter Benchley and Michael Crichtons books, however I still love the movies. I rarely read a book after the movie. I prefer to read the book first and if disappointed by the movie I still love the book. Someone needs to make “The Poisonwood Bible” and “Deception Point” into movies.

  19. Right now I’m heavily on the side of watching the movie first. I recently read City of Bones before watching the movie, and I was really disappointed because major plot points were changed. I’m talking irredeemably-changing-the-entire-story-going-forward kind of changed. Usually, I keep a pretty open mind about the movies too. I grew up reading The Hobbit and LOTR, and I still loved the movies. I feel like they kept the spirit of the books even with the changes that were made. Yeah, Arwen got a speaking part and they played up the love interest, but it wasn’t like she carried Frodo up the mountain. On the other side, I watched The Hunger Games first, and I would never have read the book if it hadn’t been for a friend buying it for me. She gave it a glowing recommendation, and I ended up more pleased with the book than the movie.

    • Thats’ how my wife was with Hunger Games. I made her watch it before reading the books, and the movie basically made her have to know what happens. So she read all three books in a week.

      “It’s not like she carried Frodo up the mountain.” – that was funny!

  20. bwbyars says:

    Books and movies are two completely different medium for storytelling. They both have to be appreciated for their own qualities.
    A couple others you might not have known:
    Blade Runner – “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” (novel) by Philip K. Dick
    Total Recall – “We Can Remember It for You Wholesale” (short story) by Philip K. Dick

  21. opinions66 says:

    Book first! The movie helps us with some elements we need to visualize the story we read in our mind.

    Perhaps that sounded a bit weird but what can I say, I’m a heavy dreamer on my spare time lol

    And i rarely disappointed, because i never expect a lot from movie, they only have approximatelly 1,5 hours to describe and to tell the story.

  22. adriana says:

    I agree with bwbyars. It depends. You always hope that a movie will accurately portray the details in a book but sometimes a screenwriter or a director has to make a choice for the sake of fluidity and the experience of the story on the screen. I loved the visual journey the movie Life of Pi took me on but the book, which I read years earlier, allowed for deeper introspection.

  23. Mary says:

    In the classics, for me is book first! Then I may or may not enjoy the movie version, but at least I read the book and know the true version of what the author had in mind. One classic that I thoroughly enjoyed both was “Jane Eyre” by Charlotte Brontë, as well as the 1944 black and white film starring Orson Welles and Jane Fontaine. Another that quickly comes to mind is also Of Mice and Men. I thought the 1994 film with John Malkovich, and Gary Sinise were well done too.

  24. Anneli says:

    I usually love the books more and I am disappointed by the movie. As an example, I have read all of Diana Gabaldon’s books on the “Jamie” character and it is currently being made into a movie or a mini series. I loved the books and I really hope the show doesn’t disappoint. The books were so fun to read, so, on the other hand I’m looking forward to putting faces to those names.

  25. The Book Always. yes.
    But I am a reader. I don’t want those movie characters crowding out how I picture it (or them) in my mind.
    I hate that Legolas is now forever pictured in my mind as what’s his name the actor…Even though he was handsome, now I have no choice… Sigh.

  26. rmariowright says:

    I tend to read the book first, provided it isn’t a sloughfest. Movies by their nature must take liberties. Done well the movie will entertain and convey the basic story. I can’t ask for more than that in a 90 minute escape.

  27. My husband had read the lord of the rings book, I did not. After my husband and I walked out of “Lord of the Rings” movie, I said, “Wow, that was quite a movie! There was so much in it.”
    My husband who did read the book said, “What? But they left so much out!”

  28. coman722 says:

    I think it doesn’t matter once you realize the difference in mediums. Sure, as an audience member I’d like to be selfish and have the fun of using my own imagination without actors popping in my head, so I might read the book first. But, you have to realize, a book is one author painting their soul in the canvas of imagination. The worlds, characters, plots, they’re all one person’s goals and ideas.
    A movie is a collection of people, each as complex as a single author, coming together to attempt one message.
    If you think, “hey, the movie is different than the book!” then you’re right. That’s just how the mediums work. Apples and Oranges. Compare the movies to other movies, and the books to other books, not to each other.

  29. WTF Pancakes says:

    My gut feeling is that you can’t go wrong by starting with the book. Or, at least, you’re less likely to do so. You cite some good examples of books that you find inferior to the film (and I’d add Jaws to that list), but those are the exception. The other side of the coin is a film like Watchmen, which slavishly follows the source material to such a degree that I can’t imagine it making any sense unless you’d read the books. In most cases, though, if it’s a good book and a good film, it doesn’t matter. You’ll enjoy ‘em both.

    • Jaws, yes. And I also just thought of Jurassic Park. I think the movie is much better. Maybe Spielberg and Jackson are the only two who should be allowed to adapt movies from books…

  30. rabbitsponge says:

    I didn’t like The Lord of the Ring books either. The plot moved too slowly, and frankly there was a lot more talking than action. I got all the way up to 20 pages before I finished the trilogy and just gave up. That being said, I still prefer to read the book before I see the movie. I’d like to be able to create an image of the characters in my mind while I read, and not some actor or actress.

  31. Cheri L. says:

    I think you have to treat them as two separate entities/experiences and try not to compare. Judge each on its own merits or you are sure to disappointed in one, or both.

  32. Honestly, I almost always read the book before seeing the movie. With that being said, I always go into the theatre expecting the movie to differ from the movie. It is almost impossible to make a movie EXACTLY like the book: sometimes you simply can’t come up with a right way to work in the imaginative elements, and other times the movie would end up being six hours long! You just have to go into it separating the movie from the book, that way you can enjoy both equally! :)

  33. dmuckblog says:

    I try to read the books before viewing the movies. I did this with the Harry Potter series, each had its own aspect that set it apart from the novels – numbers four and six skipped out on the Dursley’s or other parts in general – Hermione and Ron being prefects in book six, Hermione taking a stand on house-elf treatment. I read Dracula by Bram Stoker before viewing the movie (both 1935 and the version with Wynona Ryder) and its sequel written by his great-grand nephew. While I found some similarities to both books incorporated in each, I wasn’t too disappointed. I enjoy picking out what set them apart and try to figure out why – was the part necessary? Would it have made a difference if it had, in fact, been in the movie? However, one book I found that lived up to its movie was The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty. Each part was laid out in the movie, nothing left out, none that I could catch anyways. The book, however, terrified me and gave me the most horrific nightmares imaginable. And for those who haven’t watched the movie, the book describes Regan in her possession in a way I don’t think the movie could touch. She looked creepy, but what I pictured in my mind was nothing compared to what I saw on screen. The movie didn’t scare me, which I didn’t understand. I read the Twilight series before watching the movies, and to put it mildly, the movies didn’t do near enough. I felt the acting could have been better and they were rushed, just a money soaker. If the producers took their time and pushed the deadline for production, they may have been made better. But we’ll never know. I’ve also read the Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series by Rick Riordan (good for any fan of Greek Myths, even if they are meant for those still in grade school, nearing middle). The first movie left pivotal points from the novel out, nothing about the prophecy of seven, no prophet, Dionysus, or Mr. D in the books, was nowhere to be found. The Sea of Monsters (the second in a series of five) could’ve been better, but followed the book much better. That being said, it all depends on the person. I watched Frankenstein before reading the book. Somehow, I didn’t think the book would hold my interest. Upon seeing the movie, though, I had to read the book.

  34. I think it is up to each reader/movie goer. I am an avid fan of the Lord of the Rings Trilogy and the Hobbit (books.) So when the first three movies were coming into the theater my father and I talked about them almost every night, both re-reading the books. We got to see all three movies together in the theaters and there was only one or two parts we were disappointed with. Alas he passed before the Hobbit came out, but he would have been please with them. This is the man that picked my name (boy or girl he had a Tolkien name for both) out of the Silmarillion, which even he struggled to finish reading! I read the hunger game books before watching the movie, and mostly I look at it this way. The book is entertainment for the mind where the movie is visual entertainment, but either way it is entertaining. I am a huge fan of the Giver and I fear they are not going to do it justice when it becomes a movie, but the jury is still out, until after I’ve seen it and it’s still in pre-production! If you go into the movie expecting it to be as good or better than the book then you are most likely going to be disappointed. But if you look at the movie as an artistic interpretation of the book then you are more likely to enjoy it.

  35. Basil says:

    I’m currently reading The Godfather. I think it’s nice I get to imagine Marlon Brando or Al Pacino as their characters in the book, it kind of makes the illusion of fiction easier. On the other hand, other characters in the movie don’t match their descriptions in the book and it makes me think that that cannot be helped. Plus a lot of scenes and character dynamics are absent in the movie.Finally I’ve concluded that maybe it’s better to watch the movie AND read the book, preferably in that order, so when you like the movie it would be difficult not to love the book. And if you don’t like the movie, maybe the book will save itself. The movie first so you can anticipate it’s short-comings.

  36. If I have already read the book, I am usually disappointed with the movie because I have pictured the scenes and the characters already in my mind, and of course the movie never matches my imagination. But the Lord of the Rings Trilogy was actually better than my imagination! I loved the hills and mountains of New Zealand (or wherever they filmed it) and the characters seemed to match Tolkien’s descriptions really well. One thing I didn’t like was the huge battles that seemed to go on forever.

  37. bethwarstadt says:

    Tolkien hoped that his Middle earth epics would become part of the English culture like other well established mythologies, primarily Norse which was his expertise. He said that he hoped his stories would be told and retold and take on lives of their own, being interpreted and re-imagined so that everyone would have access to them. In this way movies serve their stories, because they give them new life and expose them to a new audience, even one that doesn’t read. Consider it a continuation of the oral tradition. As the audience, we get to choose the way the story most speaks to us, the important thing being the common cultural knowledge of the tale. For me, I tend to enjoy both the books and the movies, as long as they both serve the purpose of the original author.

  38. James Buysen says:

    The problem I find is when people expect a movie to be the visual retelling of the written story.
    Do people realize how hard it is to fit a 70,000 word novel (or there abouts) into 2 hours of film? It is extremely complicated and as a result most movies go through numerous screen writes before they are deemed worthy of being made into a film. What works great on paper doesn’t always work best on the big screen.
    A movie series like The Lord of The Rings needs to cut down a lot of the dialogue from the books because they bog down the momentum (they are incredibly long as it is). For the most part people want an exciting story they don’t have to over think, and the more time characters spend talking the more they have to think. [How often does a person leave the movies talking about how good the dialogue was? Sure they'll talk about it if its horrible... but most people will be talking about the visuals and the action and the 2 hour roller-coaster ride of emotions.]
    As far as I am concerned; at best a movie based on a novel can only ever be that – BASED on a novel. I try to go into a movie and see it as another dimension to the books rather than anything else.
    There will always be movies that are better than the book (and visa-versa) but they should never been seen in that light or you are guaranteed to have an un-enjoyable experience.

    just my 2 cents…

    • zero2fiction says:

      I always have to read the book first. The chances for the movie to be better are slim.

      But I usually end up picturing the movie characters as I am reading a sequel book after the movie for the first book has come out!

  39. rhchatlien says:

    I’m not sure it matters much to me. I don’t expect them to be the same, and I don’t expect to ever like the movie better. It’s like watching two different movie versions of the same novel. It’s better just to take each one on its on merits.

  40. I like the idea of watching the movie first and having that cinematic experience; allowing yourself to read the clifnotes. But for me, I think I would be scared that seeing the movie first would take away from the amazing world my mind can create on its own. I love being able to visualize scenery or characters in my head and watch them come alive there. If I watch the movie first, what will that take away from the creative freedom I’ve allowed myself to experience in my head? At the same time, seeing the movie first could also enhance that moment in your mind. Thoughts?

  41. lisaloparo says:

    It’s interesting you mention Lord of the Rings. The movies were released when I was young, eleven or twelve and I enjoyed them without understanding anything about the plot or characters. Then I read the books in college and I have to say, I could no longer sit through the movies. They’re remarkably vacant compared to the beauty and detail of the books. And believe me, the Ents look a lot less cheesy in your imagination.

  42. Imaan Bux says:

    The book deff… rather read and let your imagination dictate the scenes , then watch the movie and lament on how much better it would have been had you directed it…WIN WIN…thanks for the follow btw

  43. salpal1 says:

    I’m a book first kind of person. The book is nearly always better, and especially if there are plot twists, I don’t want to ruin a good book by seeing an abridged version of it first. And, as others have said, once those images are in my head, there is no replacing them with my own imagination. Also, if the movie is GOOD, then I go through it loving the fact that the director did such a good job interpreting the book. When I saw The Help, I just kept marveling at the great casting. When I saw Lincoln, I loved the way the movie brought some of the dry characters to life, but I thought the ending poor. It should have ended when he dropped his gloves on the table and walked out to join Mary in the carraige for the trip to Ford’s Theater. Also, in books, you won’t imagine what you can’t bear – so a scary book isn’t QUITE as scary as a scary movie. With Harry P, some of the special effects were worse than I had pictured, and now I am stuck with them.

  44. Ethan says:

    I would have to say that for me, it depends on the particular book(s)/movie(s) in question. Last summer was the first time I read and watched the whole Harry Potter series. I made myself read each book before I watched the movies because I felt my movie experience was enhanced by all the extra information in the books. I don’t know how many times I understood particular references or things mentioned in passing in the movie when my family had no idea what they were talking about, and I found myself having to explain many of these things because they didn’t have all the background information available in the books. On the other hand, I wish I had watched “Les Miserable” before reading the book because I have gotten lost on more than one occasion. For me, the movie would have helped give me a general feel for the story line and the way different characters are related: two things which in the book are very drawn out and hard to follow sometimes. Ultimately, I would have to say it depends on the book/movie.

  45. I would normally go for movie first, alas this is due to my poor knowledge of how to navigate the library .. And love of popcorn, a book and popcorn’s just not the same ! But movies are most often the reason i read the book, if i love it that much i just cant get enough such as ‘the hobbit’ and ‘game of thrones’.. I just had to know what happened ! At least now i can sit there during the next two movies or seasons all smug and say to my friends ‘i know.. I know what’s going to happen eheheh’

  46. D.L. Kamstra says:

    For myself personally, I like to approach each as their own entity. I love books, and I love movies nearly as much. So to compare one to the other would inevitably ruin one or the other (let’s face it, the movies would probably always lose this battle). But, if I go to see a movie I try to forget that I read the book. I just try to enjoy the experience, and it is rare that I don’t enjoy a movie where I have already read the book.

    Sometimes though, there are some movies that you can compare to the books and they will come out just as well. Hunger Games is a great example of this. The book has a depth to it that the movie can’t touch (but this is true of most of these situations). Movies can show us the “how” of something. Yes, we can use our imaginations, but sometimes we struggle to suspend reality to fully understand how something work. But where movies often fail, is the “why” factor. Books can’t delve into this with no end, because they don’t really have to deal with being too long (although I’m sure there is a point of being too long–at least to be publishable).

  47. I think the entire book vs movie debate rests squarely on the individual. When I read the Lord of the Rings, I was immersed into a world that was so complete and vivid in imagery, that it was like seeing a movie in itself.
    Not all people may see it that way. I agree that the movie did justice to the book. However, like you put it yourself, having read the book, the movie, felt like well written cliff notes. Nothing more, nothing less.

  48. motherwho says:

    Always the book first! Then you are using your own mind to create a vivid picture of the people and places within the book, rather than someone handing it to you. Apparently this is also why you should tell children verbal stories and not just read them picture books all the time, as it requires them to conjur up their own pictures. Anyway, a book lasts so much longer than a movie!

  49. mspikaface says:

    I personally prefer to read the book first. I like not knowing what’s going to happen next as I read. If I see the movie before reading the book I’m thinking what is the point in spending all that time reading the book. The books are always better because there are more details.

  50. mrsgillies says:

    I think it depends on the book, the movie and your attitude :) For example after reading Sense and Sensibility, i watched the movie again and i appreciated it a lot more because i knew the characters so well already. They were very clever in adding certain phrases that easily would pass over the heads of a lot of people however they were little tidbits that made you giggle because you knew the back story. It didn’t ruin it for those who hadn’t read the book and it enriched it for those who had.
    Another example is The First Wives Club. It is my favourite movie. I used to watch it every weekend. My husband bought me the book it was based on last year for my birthday and i enjoyed it but it is so different and actually a little bit depressing. If they had had stuck exactly to the book, it would definitely NOT be my favourite movie.
    I think people need to realise that sometimes you can’t just transfer something straight from a book into a movie. Also most movies say “based on” not “the visual version of”. I think what sucks is when take a really great book and make it into a terrible movie – as in the movie is terrible in itself whether it is true to the book or not.

  51. Zoe Dune says:

    Lett me first thank you for the add. Second, I know people like that. They’re purists of the worst kind and take things like that way too seriously. Tolkien would have blown smoke in his face, slamed his highland peat scotch and said, ‘good day’ in disgust. As much as this guy might hold Tolkien in such high esteem, he knows nothing about editing and would probably not admit that the Lord of the Rings was in heavy need of it. I mean, how many pages describing ‘the doors of Durin’ do we have to read about before we get into Moria!?

    Tolkien would likely admit to this since it reads like a well planned first draft; I mean — read the Hobbit again and tell me he wasn’t ‘winging it’ along the way.

    People like that dude are idiots who should be locked away in the nearest Renfaire dungeon in the county.

    • You know, I always thought of the Hobbit as binging winged, hence the whole climax – or lack thereof – turned me off from the book. I mean, he gets knocked out during a battle scene and wakes up afterwards? I just hope Jackson doesn’t do that with the final movie…

  52. shecando says:

    Thanks for the follow! I always do the book first! it just seems wrong to watch the movie before the book, my imagination gets left out.

  53. This is a very interesting debate, for me if i could read the book then no need to watch the movie, the movie is how the director imagined it, he skips details that seem unimportant to him when they are important to you. Why watch another’s person “view” if you can dream the book and imagine it your own way! I don’t mind watching the movie later on, but after I have seen it my own way in my imagination.

  54. I almost always read the book first. And seems to be the book is always better.

  55. stefanieemae says:

    Personally, I am a fan of reading the books first. I truly like knowing the FULL story while watching a movie. For me, my favorite series book and movie is the Harry Potter series. In the books, my favorite part is where Dumbledore sits with Harry afterwards and talks to him, explaining things. The movies completely miss that mark and I think they are so essential to the series. I think they did a great job with the movies, but the books just go above and beyond. I thought they captured the characters perfectly and I can’t even remember what I used to think Hogwarts looked like before seeing the first film. Honestly, I’m such a reader books always win out for me.

  56. sothislife says:

    I either watch the movie or read the book…just can’t do both

  57. I have a friend who won’t watch “Rizzoli and isles”, the TV series because she said in the book the characters had different hair color; and even though the show captures the essence of the characters the hair color makes them seem all wrong.
    Personally, I’ve not run into the problem yet; but I might do like sothislife and only do one or the other, not both.

  58. Toi Thomas says:

    I enjoy reading and watching movies equally and independently. I learned a long time ago to stop comparing movies to their books too critically. Sure, I wish movies could capture every aspect of a good book, but that would usually make for a really long movie. I appreciate the fact the visual media combined with music, actors, and special effects are completely different artistic interpretations of stories than literary media.
    If I am truly interested in the story, I will read the book first and then compare it to the movie for my own curiosity. Otherwise, I’ll watch the movie. If the movies left me wanting more or left me asking questions, then I might pursue the book.

  59. I don’t know if you’ve pulled the trigger on either one yet, but Tge Lord of the Rings is my favorite book (trilogy), and I thought the movies did the story poor justice.

    I think the movies are loyal to the plot while subverting the central themes, if that makes sense. And Peter Jackson has indulged his own fantasies in the movies’ execution, making it more about a traditional hero-journey, clumsily aided by dramatic-but-clearly-green-screened shots and spiced up with ecmxcuting but unnecessary action scenes. Good, but not the masterpiece that is Tolkien’s story.

    The book(s) are rich, narrated in language that is fantastically descriptive and emotive while spare on words and adjectives, a skill reserved for great authors and not common among fantasy writers. The characters are drawn by this language so clearly, so intuitively, that you intrinsically understand them–their goodness, nobility, strength, frustration, doubt, and the working of Grace that each perceives (happy or sad) during the story.

    The book is a story of struggle and hopelessness, tragedy and redemption, good friends who sacrifice for each other and take joy in each other, and the many faces of evil. It will transport you the new places, and immerse you in new characters, in a way that even the beautifully edited, spare-no-expense movies can’t.

    The movie’s changes may have been slight, but they significantly alter the whole theme of the story. I recommend you read, then take your chance with the movie.

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