Opinion: Movies versus books, which is better?


The book “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens has the most movie adaptations. There are about 20 film versions. Photo by: Emily Nguyen

Isabella Fierros and Emily Nguyen

Better read than watched?

(For books by: Emily Nguyen)

While watching movies may be a popular opinion for many, I personally prefer books.They are usually the base and source material for movies, which means it is the original material without any changes or additions as movies might be. For example, movies are required to fit a lot of the plot within a short amount of time, meaning they will almost always end up cutting out some part of the book or significant details. 

One major example of cutting out important details is the book “IT” by Stephen King and one of the movie renditions (“IT: Part 2”). While the movie itself was fantastic and generally a good horror film, there are so many details within the book that are cut out from the movie. Throughout the movie, there are multiple parts that are brushed over or never explained but are all in the book. When reading the book, you’re able to get all of these details and scenes that were cut from the movie and enjoy the plot to the fullest. If you had read the book, you would know much more about Stanley Uris’s wife, Patty Uris, as a character and her relationship with Stanley. She was genuinely fleshed out and you could see her as a person rather than just a random character. In the movie, they brush over the wife completely and focus more on Stanley as a whole.

Another reason as to why I favor books is that books are able to convey feelings, thoughts and emotions much better than their movie counterparts. The author is able to describe the character’s internal thoughts and feelings, allowing the reader to feel what the character is feeling. In movies, you’re only able to watch the expressions and actions of the actors. Sometimes, movies just don’t quite hit the mark when it comes to emotion. A notable example of this would be “Of Mice and Men” by John Steinbeck with the book and its movie version. I feel that the ending in the book hit much harder than what was portrayed in the movie as it seems much more shallow. It didn’t have the same depth that the book did.

Freshman Kamilah Montes De Oca said, “It depends. Like if it’s a really good movie, then the movie. Sometimes books are just better. The book [‘Speak’] was better than the movie. In the book you could see the main characters’ thoughts or hear about them. The movie was just a really watered down version of the book.” 

While I agree there may be some outliers and movies that outdo the book, generally, the book is almost always better.

The main issue with movies is generalizing and simplifying the plot of a book too much, or as Oca said, “A watered down version of the book.” Reading can take more time and energy than watching a movie, but you’re also able to obtain a lot more from reading a book. Details, thoughts, feeling as well as more character depth and even more of the plot. Due to all of these reasons, it is much more enjoyable to read.

Some popular book to movie adaptations are the Harry Potter series, Romeo & Juliet and Divergent. Graphic by: Emily Nguyen

Better watched than read?

(For movies by: Isabella Fierros)

Let’s be honest, would anyone actually prefer to read a book for hours on end, when instead you can just watch the movie version in a fraction of the time? 

If you really think about it, the movies are so much more enjoyable. You can watch the action from your favorite books come to life. It is also so cool to see the different ways scenes are interpreted. Sometimes the vision you had in your head when reading a book can be vastly different from the corresponding scene, which is always interesting to see.

Also everything is so much more exciting when you get to watch it be brought to life. You can see the actors portray emotions with such talent that you forget it is just fiction. There is nothing more satisfying than watching a perfectly cast actor embody their character and make them feel real.

Sophomore Kinda Mehael said, “I prefer watching the movies. I haven’t really been reading much lately. I’ve distanced myself from reading, so I like movies better. Mehael gave the example of ‘The Hunger Games’ series by Suzanne Collins. ‘The Hunger Games’ movies [were] visually better,” said Mehael. 

There are also other elements that are added to movies that make them exciting. For example, the soundtracks to some movies match so perfectly and it takes the film to a whole new level. 

Junior Tomás Juarico prefers “watching the movie” over reading the book. “It’s easier for my brain to see it and picture more things,” said Juarico. He said, “[In movies] it seems like there is more action. You can kind of see it in the movie, instead of reading it.”

Now I’m not saying to just skip the book and go straight to the movie because sometimes it can be cool to see how the movie differs from what the author wrote. Sometimes parts of books can be taken out to shorten the length of the film, which can be frustrating, but overall it is just so much less time consuming to watch the movie. It also makes for great entertainment.