While it is true that a good book can be brought to the big screen and the
film can be just as good as the book, it is also true that there are also people
that do not like to read at all. The cinema, as well as writing, plays all
kinds of genres, mostly in narrative form. Rather explaining their similarities,
I would like to emphasize their differences.
Books and films are portrayed in different
formats. Through a film, our brain sees the images and interprets them. While reading,
our imagination creates those images as we read the pages. In a movie, the director
chooses the physical form and the nuances within the characters. However, books
let you choose those forms. For example, in the saga of Harry Potter, when the books were brought to the big screen the
role of Hermione was played by a white actress, while in the book, her
character was never assigned a skin color and it was described with curly hair.
Some movies will change the ending of the stories to make more business or
expand their audience, such as the case of the Little mermaid, where in the film she has a happy ending and
marries the prince; but in the book, she launches herself into the sea and
turns into sea foam.
A film loses much in aspects of information due to its short duration, content
must be cut even if it could be essential to the plot of the story, or in the
level of information provided by the book. For example, in the DA Vinci Code, the author makes us doubt
about everything we know about the Catholic Church, giving us plenty of
information that cannot be seen in the film.
Sometimes, films lose the magic that tells the story in the book. Such
is the case of the film Tristan and
Isolde, where magical effects were removed from the film, for instance the
test of the Red Iron, where Isolde would prove her innocence by touching the
red iron without burning her hands, proving their cunning. Also, as is the case
where the lovers are victims of a magic potion that they took by mistake, and
not for being victims of their social commitments like the film show instead.
In a movie, even though the director uses the visual complements, our imagination
does not open as much as in a book or, they may change the historical
contribution of the book, as in the case of the film adaptation to the novel “The Jackal, where the movie concluded in
a conspiracy meant to kill the wife of the president of the United States, whereas
in the book, the conspiracy was meant to kill the president of France, part of
a real fact.
In conclusion, a movie is watched through the eyes of the director and in
a book through our own eyes. It is best to first read the book and then watch
the movie. Although, this is a subjective criterion, you can get a better
critique of a film by reading the book first.