10 Reasons Why Movies Are Better Than Books

November 26, 2009 at 5:11 am (Other) (, , , , )

So last week I shared my thoughts on why books are better than movies. The post was mostly in response to people who ask me why I bother to read since you can just wait for the movie watch the story faster and with less effort.  I had ten very good reasons and in the comments left there were probably another ten mentioned. That said, I love movies as well.  Not enough that I would ever give up books, but enough that I realise that some stories are better told on the screen than on the pages.

And that is really the whole point.  Juliet Boyd did a follow up to my post asking why we would expect books to make good movies and she raises some excellent points.  With that said I would like to jump into my ten reasons why movies are better than books (sometimes).

1.  Visually movies are more appealing.  To many people a page of text is daunting and dull and they are automatically locked out from accessing the story.  Stories are more accessible to a larger number of people in movie form than as books.

2.  Leif Motifs – you know the music that plays as one particular character comes on screen.  It tells us the bad guy is coming or that the hero is entering the fray and whether we like it or not it gives us a slight emotional charge that just isn’t there when you read it in a book.  If you want the perfect example of this, watch Star Wars.  Luke Skywalker comes on screen, cue either the wistful music or the hero music.  Darth Vadar appears and we have the strong military beat.  Han Solo and we get a sense of whimsy and so on.

3.  Time is of the essence – I read a lot and I read fast but if I were to spend my entire weekend doing nothing but reading I’d be pushing to finish three novels (admittedly I read fantasy and they tend to be huge but still).  If I spend the entire weekend watching movies (unless I’m watching Lord of the Rings or something equally epic) I can probably knock over about twelve movies.  Movies skip out a lot of detail that appears in books, plus they don’t need to describe scenes to you, they just flash a picture and move on.  They are quicker in conveying the story.

4.  Special Effects – Now it has been pointed out that our imagination has no limitations and special effects do so things that sound really good in books sometimes look quite ridiculous in movies.  However, my imagination is limited by my sense of reality and so when a book has a car crash I see a little ding and a bit of broken glass, where as a movie will usually just blow the car up in a spectacular show of carnage.  Logically I know the car probably wouldn’t blow up but watching it on the screen I can go with it.  Reading about it, I will usually tone it down.

5.  The social aspect – You can go to the movies with your friends (and if you don’t mind the evil glares you can talk while watching).  More importantly, you can watch a movie at home with everyone gathered in the one room chatting and eating and it is a very social experience.  I don’t know about you, but when I read, I read.  I’ve had people steal the book out of my hands, throw water at me and clap their hands over my eyes to get my attention while I’m reading.  It isn’t a social event.

6.  Okay I waited until number six for this one and that was very restrained of me.  Orlando Bloom, Johnny Depp, Antonio Banderes, etc, etc, etc.   Don’t tell me you’ve never chosen a movie just because you thought the main actor was cute.  Technically this is part of the visual appeal but I felt it needed to be separate.

7.  Action sequences – yes you can read action sequences but I find them quite dull.  Particularly sword fights.  Please do not describe everything single thrust and parry to me if you expect me to still be reading by the time the battle is over.  However, in movies… they define the show don’t tell theory.  It is a lot more exciting to watch a sword fight than to read a blow by blow commentary on a sword fight.

8.  Previews – I hope I’m not the only person who does this, but I love previews.  Half the fun of going to the movies, or renting a movie, is to watch previews and to find out about other movies.  Sometimes books have other books by the same author or publisher listed, but they aren’t quite as exciting as movies.  I was wondering if now with ebooks and readers whether they could start putting book trailers with books and that would be almost the same but maybe they can’t. I don’t know.

9.  Jaws.  Read the book.  Watch the movie.  Toss the book.  That is kind of cruel given it is beautifully written but the love triangle is dull and all of the character development takes away from the thrills.  The movie focused entirely on the suspense and the thrill and nailed it.  The book, for once, was too cluttered.  Sorry to anyone who loved reading the book.

10.  I kind of ran out at nine so ten is going to frozen coke which I always drink at the movies.  I don’t drink it when reading because the condensation leaves water marks on the pages of the book.  If you can think of a tenth, be sure to add it.

Tell me your reasons why movies are better.



  1. ryan4143 said,

    I’d have to say I agree with you on most of those reasons. People often go to movies when they’re in the mood for quick entertainment with a story that is conveyed quickly and easily understood. But people’s moods change; often people read when they’re in the mood to take time to get involved in a deep story with deeper characters and a deeper plot. Thanks for sharing this.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Thanks for your visit, and you are right in that whether a person enjoys reading a book or watching a movie will very much depend on their mood at the time of the reading/viewing.

  2. kyuun said,

    I definitely agree with your reasons, except, yeah, don’t give me the funny stare, point six. I’ve never been attracted to a person in my entire life, amazingly enough, so that’s kinda void for me. But I bet lots of other people have.

    Also, I totally agree with the previews. I love them. You can see some really awesome things on those, and that’s usually how me and my friends decide what film we should go to see next.

    Only thing with the movies is that all the food and drink is ridiculously oversized and has a price that’s higher than a sky scraper. This is why I (shh!) tend to smuggle my own food in and pretend that, yeah, I so bought that from the snack bar… heh.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      So with you on food smuggling. And how do you decide to watch another movie without seeing a preview. You can give me the plot outline but it will sound like seven hundred other movies so without actually seeing how this one is going to play out I can’t make an informed decision. Though if the trend of giving the entire plot away in a trailer continues I may give up on watching them as what is the point of watching something where you have already seen the climax. Thanks for the visit and the comment.

      • kyuun said,

        Hmm. Well, I’m not a huge movie-goer, admittedly, but I haven’t seen too many that have given the whole plot away, or too many that look exactly the same as one another, except the apocalypse movies, which always look similar. Just curiosity, but what was your favourite movie this year? Mine would have been a mix between District 9 and Coraline.

        But yes, on the whole, I think that giving away the climax in the preview is terrible. I haven’t come across that for a movie I want to see yet, but for those who do want to see those sorts of movies, it must be disappointing thinking all along, “I knew this was going to happen because of the preview”.

      • Cassandra Jade said,

        I think the best movie I saw this year would have to be The Imaginarium of Dr Parnasis, mostly because it was completely different from any expectation I may have had and the story was very different from anything I had seen before. That said, there hasn’t been a lot of competition this year as most movies have been fairly dull. I did love District 9, again because it was that little bit different from the expected. Thanks for visiiting and your comment.

  3. Johanna said,

    I agree with all points especially nos. 6 & 7. Sometimes we get to skip the nitty gritties of sword-fighting in a book. And we need a face behind that character. So what better way to get these but in a movie.

    LOL at no. 9 as well. You are so right there. Jaws is definitely better seen and heard ( dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun-dun).

    Thanks for dropping by my blog. You’ve got interesting posts here.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Movies defnitely provide a different perspective on a story, sometimes it is a good perspective, sometimes not. Thanks for visiting.

  4. Corra McFeydon said,

    I’m a visual person and would love to be a director. Being a writer is more likely and leaves me feeling fulfilled; a writer is a director.

    The music in a movie can create so much emotion. (Or make it absolutely cheesy.)

    I think it depends on the story and how it’s captured in book or film which medium excels. Some books are better; some movies are better. For me, the one that wins is the one that keeps me glued to the screen/page and stirs me emotionally.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Good points – particularly about the music. Thanks for the comment.

  5. butchie34 said,

    I have to say that I love the previews. For some reason, if I see a good preview, my mind always tries to fill in the missing pieces so my imagination gets a good workout.

  6. Juliet Boyd said,

    Ooh are we playing post tag? Thanks for the link.

    Lots of good reasons for watching movies here. When it comes down to it, a good movie will capture your imagination and transport you to another world just as well as a good book, although the experience itself is completely different.

    • Cassandra Jade said,

      Well you did make some excellent points. Thanks for visiting.

  7. Maribeth said,

    I think you hit the nail on the head when you mentioned the music. Music can bring a scene to life in a way our own imaginations cannot.
    I often find myself questioning what music would go good with the story I am writing. I think that is why so many writer’s listen to music for inspiration.

    Great post, thanks for stopping by my blog.


  8. Claudia Al Rammahy said,

    I many way you are right Cassandra,sometimes I rather watch the movie than read the book but I have to say that many times the movie fails the book entirely.Most movies are about 1 hour and some minutes and it’s impossible to write a script that does the book it’s made after,full justice.
    But then again some book are just so boring and the movie so exciting.For example the movie “The Duchess” with Keira Knightly …i liked that movie but the book was a difficult read.Although informative,it had way to many political details which bored me to tears and was written like a biography rather than a novel.
    So I guess my opinion will remain divided.I can’t say I prefer movies to a novel or vice versa.Depends on the novel and depends on the movie.

  9. Weekly Recap | Outside the Box said,

    […] 10 Reasons Why Movies Are Better Than Books […]

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