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After watching a film like Harry Potter or The Hunger Games, many audience members will say something like: "The book was better."
But is this always true?
Today, I'll be presenting arguments for both sides to dictate whether or not books are better than their movie adaptations. I'll be like a puppet master, pulling all the strings.
To start off, it is inherently difficult to adapt a text that is well over 300 pages because most films don't like to cross the two and a half hour mark (unless you're Peter Jackson). Even the first Harry Potter film was difficult to adapt because of it's denseness, and that was the shortest book of the series. Lots of stuff was left out, which brings up the first point I'll make for the book's point of view.
The books give much more detail than movies do.
Characters, dialogue, inner monologues, and scene detail can be expressed much more fluidly on the page of a book rather than in a movie. Granted, movies give us a great visual interpretation, but they don't always capture the essence of what the book entails in a character or a scene.
However, there is a counter to this point on the movie's side which is that the visual interpretation can be better expressed through the lens of a camera.
Spoiler warning for those of you who haven't read or seen Deathly Hallows (but spoilers are free game after seven years). One of the most confusing parts of the book was when Harry triumphed over Voldemort after using a disarming spell and then Voldemort just...fell over dead. I honestly had no idea how he died or when the book said he was killed by his rebounded killing curse.
In the movie, it visually managed to showcase an awesome climactic duel that demonstrated how Harry managed to defeat Voldemort without killing him himself. The killing curse was conducted through Voldemort's wand and then transferred into his hand, which then led to his death with a bit of dramatic flair.
But sometimes, the visual interpretation doesn't always work when it comes to a character's development or dialogue. While this may seem unimportant, sometimes it can have an impact on how a character ends up making decisions in the movie that varies from the book. In short, it could change what their character stands for.
Pointing again to Harry Potter (and I'm totally not biased...) a huge variation from the book involved Harry becoming an action hero rather than what he's really supposed to stand for: just an ordinary teenager. Harry is depicted in the books as not being physically fit or efficient at duels, but he is smart and uses his willful tenacity to solve problems and figure out how to beat someone. This characterization leads to Harry not physically beating Voldemort, but outsmarting him (which is much more satisfying).
In the movie, their climactic duel is merely a cinematic showdown with lots of special effects and intense wand pointing. There was no snappy dialogue between them and Harry wasn't constantly berating Voldemort for his constant repetition of failures, and there was no intellectual triumph for Harry at the end. He beat Voldemort with special effects, and that was the end.
I'm going to have to give the victory to books this time around.
By: Matthew Romeo
(Anything said on this blog does not represent the ideas or beliefs of the station of WHAN as a whole, all of these statements are held responsible by the writer alone)