People who read the books almost always prefer them; and for a number of reasons, too – fantasy books activate the imagination and instill wonder within readers, while movies just entertain for a short period of time. Some even say movies ruin the books, focusing on aspects like romance and action where it’s really unnecessary to. And the actual story is often detracted from by conventionally beautiful actors who look nothing like their actual character and special effects that are completely out of context. Another reason is that books delve deeper into the characters’ thoughts, so you understand and relate to them better, whereas in movies, logic can be lost entirely amidst scenes. Take for example Bella, from Twilight. Many of her strange actions in the book, however irrational, made some sort of sense and showed you more of her character, but in the movies, the baffling decisions she makes are just that – baffling.
That being said, movies are equally sided with. They are more aesthetically pleasing, easier to understand, and a far more sociable activity as opposed to reading. Fantasy movies nowadays have incredible graphics too, and stunning visuals which can activate and extend the imagination as well, just in a different way. Another reason is that movies stay very much to the point, and endless paragraphs that are intended to describe something or ‘create ambiance’ are replaced with self-explanatory sets, lights, sounds, and shorter, sharper dialogue. In the movies based on the books The Hunger Games or Divergent, long conversations from the book lasted seconds and were often depicted merely through actions.
In conclusion, I believe that fantasy movies based on books (and the reverse) have too little in common to be successfully compared; everyone imagines what they read differently, and movies are only one representation of the story. Personally? I read the book first, just so my perspective of the characters is my own, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love movies. Bad writing can be just as bad as bad directing or acting, and fantasy stories, when envisioned and expressed well, can truly be, in the most literal sense of the world, magic.
– Pia Bhatia,
Shri Ram School