If you’ve been on the internet lately, you probably have noticed that there are a lot of book-to-movie adaptations that have come out/are coming out in the near future. I myself am about to head off to go watch one of the recently popular movie adaptations Crazy Rich Asians for the first time in celebration of my birthday. I haven’t been to the movie theaters in a while, so this will be a treat!
Celebration aside, like a lot of avid readers, I’m a huge believer of reading the book before watching the movie, and so I don’t understand why some people just watch the movie before reading the book. With all the new exciting movies that are going to be released, I compiled a list of five reasons why everyone should read the book before the movie adaptation.
1. Experience the original before the adaptation.
I’m a huge believer of experiencing the original form of the story before the adaptation. I think it’s better to have a pure opinion of the content based on what the original author wanted the audience to feel before seeing someone else’s take on the story. It’s kind of like when you’re trying out a new food for the first time. You want to eat the food plain first to savor the original flavor before trying out different sauces.
(Are you hungry yet? Because I definitely am just looking at this gif. Frick. I’m going to go to the pantry to get something to eat. Brb.)
2. Create a movie in your head first.
Books are like movies in word format, and so reading the book helps create a movie inside your head. Once the cast is released and I watch the trailer, I can only see that actor as a certain character rather than the person I created in my mind. Also, the actors sometimes don’t look exactly like the character described in the story, which is fine and all. It’s not the fault of the actor, but it’s nice to envision what the author wants the reader to see before having that vision influenced by the casting of its movie.
I remember reading books like The Hunger Games and Divergent and having visions of what Katniss and Tris looked like but once the movies were released, I can only imagine them as Jennifer Lawrence and Shailene Woodley, respectively.
3. The book is always better.
Name me a movie adaptation that is better than its book counterpart. Yeah, I didn’t think so.
4. Adaptations often change/leave things out from the original story.
Movies can only be so long before the audience get’s tired and want to go home. Because of that time restriction, movies tend to change or leave things out from the story. Some of the things they leave out are minor, but sometimes the writers leave out/change something that is essential to the story. For example, I remember being shocked that the writers of the Hunger Games movie left out how Katniss got the mockingjay pin. As a reader, that part of the story was so important because it was the introduction of an important symbol that was used throughout the whole series. If you don’t read the book, you won’t know about the details that were left out.
5. If you don’t like the book, you probably won’t like the movie.
If you don’t like the book, it’s probably because of something about the story, whether it be the writing style, character, plot, world, etc. For the most part, if you don’t like the book, you won’t like the movie, so you won’t have to bother going to see it in the theaters. However, there are times where the book is fantastic, but the movie flopped. If you watch the movie first and hated it, you are less likely to read the book. Even if you decide to read it, you have the notion that it’s going to be bad because of your negative opinion towards its movie adaptation.
That’s why you should read the book first. You’ll have minimal opinions going into it and you’re more likely to love it before someone takes a stab at recreating it and misses.
Ironically enough, I’m going to go watch Crazy Rich Asians without reading the book first. I haven’t had the best luck with the contemporary romance-ish (chick-lit?) genre. It’s not that they’re bad books; it’s just that the genre doesn’t hold my interest. I’ve tried to read Me Before You since the movie was coming out at the time, and I just couldn’t make it through. I like action-packed fantasy/sci-fi novels. I like the live vicariously through the characters and what they do, and contemporary stories are generally slower paced than what I want.
That being said, I’m still a big believer of reading the book before watching the movie. However, the most important part is to just enjoy whatever medium you decide to experience the story on, whether it be paper or screen.
Until next time….