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How often have you heard others say, ‘Don’t watch the movie, until you’ve read the book’, or ‘The movie was not anywhere near as good as the book’. Of course, most of us agree with these statements and their many variants.

Maybe we should agree, because there must be a measure of truth in each of these statements.

Recently, I posted an article on a book that someone suggested I write a review. My policy is, that if I’m offered a book, I read it, unless of course it depresses me, then I stop reading (I’m emotional, so protection from this is important to me). Otherwise I carry on with the idea that there must be a reason why I was asked to read the book. There are times when I climb out of a book, delighted. There are times when I was not so delighted, but there was something in the experience that worked to my advantage.

In this case, I had already seen the movie and frankly, it delighted me. So, why not read the book?

In comparison to the movie, I felt the book was a letdown. I suppose my reason for feeling this way was the fact that the movie had a good ending and the book not.

Okay, okay, I confess that I am a confirmed sucker for good endings and the fact that good must triumph over bad, but what would have been the result if I had read the book first and then seen the movie?

Would I have said, on reading the book; this is passable, then on seeing the movie; this is much better?

Considering the above stuff, I felt that I should look a little further into the two aspects:

  • When I read a book, I am personally in control of everything written. I can decide what the characters look like, what I presume their motives to be and even put myself into their place. I am like an actor on the stage of my mind, doing what I please with someone else’s work.
  • I have the option to decide, how I personally am able to change the plot in the book, even if the book does not agree.
  • In a movie, I have no option to change anything. A movie usually has a 60-90m time frame that shows who the characters are and what they look like, and then subtly endeavors to explain their motives.
  • Watching a movie for me, is subliminal in a sense, especially the genre of the fast moving, action packed, heart pumping thrillers, from which scene I surface, punch drunk.

My personal assessment of the for’s and against’s in this discussion then, is this; the experience of reading the book and seeing the movie, are two different one’s and I won’t allow the one to effect the other in my mind.

At best, comparison is odious and if I have any doubts about this statement, I only have to look at my universe. The shark is a lethal predator and the dolphin a very human-like fish (in terms of relating to humankind). There is no comparison, only different purposes for existence. Lofty mountain ranges are awe inspiring, deserts, we see with different eyes, yet we cannot compare them, only accept that they serve different purposes.

So you decide.

Is it a matter of book or movie, or both?

Whatever you decide, I would love to hear your views. Let me know, I look forward to hearing from you.

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