Read the Book or See the Movie?
By Libby, age 14, Wisconsin
Sweet Designs Featured Writer
So they finally decided to make your favorite book into a movie. You pay up to twelve dollars just to see the first showing at the theater. Two hours later you walk out disappointed, the movie not being what you expected. It's happened to us all, me included. It happened with the Harry Potter series, and more recently, Twilight. So how do you avoid wasting your money?
I was planning on reviewing a movie for this article, but as I thought about the article, it got me thinking. One of the most frequent comments I hear when it comes to book-to-movie adaptations is, "I should read the book first." But then I was wondering if that's really true. Is it better to read the book or see the movie?
Overall, I think it depends on who you are. There are really good points to both views. If you read the book first, which many people do, going into the theater you already have the background to the story, and will know some of the basics of what will happen. If you haven't read the book, you may be confused at points. Also, the movie may help you understand some things you had a hard time visualizing in the book. But reading the book first may lead to disappointment if the movie doesn't live up to the book's standards. Whether it's, "that wasn't in the book," or "that actor doesn't look like the character at all," everyone has their own pictures running through their heads, and not everyone's will match with the movie.
Movies create another angle. Instead of getting the story in two weeks, you get it in two hours. But, like before, you may not understand everything that's going on. Seeing the movie gives you a visual, so if you do decide to read the book later, you already have some background and the picture in your head. Also, you don't have to go through hours of background story, or the boring stuff that never made it to the movie from the book.
One thing I've heard a lot of authors and teachers say is that the movie ruins the book. I don't think this is true. I think movies are supposed to be different. What entertainment would you get if the movie were everything the book was? I saw the Harry Potter movie before I even knew it was a book. I was too young to even try to read a book that big, although I would try. Now whenever I read Harry Potter, I see Daniel Radcliffe in my head. But that in no way hurts the experience I get when I read the books; in more than one way it helps. And the other way around, I read Twilight long before the movie was released. A lot of people will see Robert Pattinson in their head when they think of Edward. But even after the movie, I still see Edward the same way I pictured him the day I picked up the book.
So here's my advice to you: If you like to read, read the book first. But if you're more of a movie person, you don't have to read the book. No rule at the movie theater says you have to have read the book first, so if you don't want to, don't. Don't let the movie ruin anything that you don't want it to. It's your experience, so treat it how you want to.
Here's another tip ... treat movies and books as separate things. It's not Twilight the book, it's Twilight the movie. They're supposed to be separate things, so treat them like that. Don't let your money and your time be wasted because of your high expectations.