December 6, 2023


Arts Eternal

Are Movies Better Than Books?

We love movies. We love them so much we line up to pay high prices for movies which aren’t very good. Movies with above average entertainment will generate headlines. For questions of this nature one can often find an answer by following the money. The implication here might be that movies are better considering the great deal of revenue they generate.

Of course popularity does not often equal quality. Yes. I know. A blasphemous statement in the eyes of the Hollywood elite. To be fair there have been high quality movies which were also hugely popular. Perhaps you are recalling some of those titles. But what about great books? Not those “classics of literature” you were forced to report on in school. The great books today which fly off the shelves or strain bandwidth from downloading eBooks. If you are watching the movie and skipping the book, what are you missing?

It’s a common argument among book readers; was the movie better than the book? More often the most credit readers will grant via a question is, “was the movie equal to the book?”

If your idea of reading goes no further than a cereal box or tag line on a television sitcom, perhaps this is not a subject which interests you. If you’re an avid reader then likely you are formulating opinions about past books that later became a movie.

Movies capture our imaginations. Especially if they have great acting and even better directors. Can anything replace our own vast imagination? Certainly not.

Books do a great job of expanding our horizons and sometimes taking us beyond our comfort zone. Often there are hidden messages to interpret from some of the great authors. The really great books do something no other form of entertainment can accomplish. They allow us to lose ourselves for hours in a form of pure escape from reality. Perhaps a great movie provides the same for some, but surely not for the length and depth of a great novel.

Hollywood has tried, and will continue to do their very best, to capture the emotions of a great story. But their task in my opinion is near to impossible. It is often said imitation is the best form of flattery. Hollywood puts forth immense resources to imitate the entertainment from a book. This is perhaps evidence enough how much better a great book is compared to even the best movie.

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