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Movies compared/contrasted to books

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Hey everyone, in the other thread I've been participating in (about movies being either enhancement or manipulation) this got me wondering how the rest of the world views movies in comparison to books.


To me, one is not better than the other, but they serve different purposes. When I watch movies, it's not a matter of thinking or reflection (as books are), but it's a matter of of experience. I'll think about a movie as I'm watching it at certain moments, but the good ones feel more like a roller coaster or visiting a national park with friends.


With books, what I like and don't like about them is it feels like the author has drilled a hole in my brain and is feeding my imagination more directly. They're great for thinking and contemplation, and the places I can go with books are never places where I can go with movies...and vice versa.



If I'm properly enjoying a movie or a book, it's like i'm going on an adventure, movies are more thoughtless and sensual. Both books and movies have lead to what feels like a "drug trip" or "enlightenment" for me Some people refer to movies as a form of "brain rot", but this is at best a simplification of what's going on.


In your own bodily experience, how do you compare and contrast movies and books?



In your own bodily experience, how do you compare and contrast movies and books?
Iíve probably read hundreds of books since I was a child. But - since the pandemic began I have leant much more towards movies & television. Especially before sleep.

No one is more surprised than me by this. If you look at the book thread here, itís been quite a while since I have read a book. Iím disturbed by this, but have now gotten into the habit of screen time before sleep because it is so relaxing.

I will see how this continues through this year & next.
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Books allow the reader to ply and use their imaginations. In films it's all spoon fed. Plus books can cover a lot more territory than can films.

A large portion of the public is now hooked on screens of all types, which makes them easier to manipulate.

Even in silent movies, one was able to use one's imagination more than in talkies. A good silent for the most part did not even need dialogue due to the skill of the actors and director.



Even in silent movies, one was able to use one's imagination more than in talkies. A good silent for the most part did not even need dialogue due to the skill of the actors and director.
Maybe, but, if thereís one thing I hate, itís a silent movie.



Movies and books are so different that, for me, it's a question of how much time I spend listing the differences.

Fundamentally, the most basic difference is text vs image and sound. There's oodles of evidence to show that human brains process audio-visual stimuli in a very different way from text. That's pretty obvious, but it interacts with our cultural disposition to think that text is automatically better because it has been preserved and copied for a long time. We have a couple of millennia's worth of text to work with but only a century of moving images and even less with moving images combined with sound. In all of those text millennia, people needed to supply their own images and sound, but now audiovisual media do that for us.

Maybe the question is whether we want people to "use their imagination", i.e., make up their own sound and image, or whether we want them to see it our way. It's comparable to whether we want to use words to describe Grand Canyon (a huge hole in the desert) or whether we want to stand at the edge and look into the abyss. I definitely prefer the real thing to the description.

Movies move us in the direction of direct experience, mediated by directors, producers, actors and technical limitations, but limit the duration or amount of detail we get in the story. I don't really think that one is inherently superior to the other, but it depends on what you are trying to transmit in the story. I've done the movie-novel comparison enough to just think of them as different stories, like, I don't want to sit in a theater long enough to have a movie version of The Lord of the Rings that covers every detail in real time.



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It would be interesting to consider a true multi-media artwork. That is, Chapter 1 presented as a short film. Chapter 2 presented as traditional book chapter. Chapter 3 presented as a black box stage production. Chapter 4 as an FPV video-game. What does a particular medium do best? Is there a way to take advantage of this in forming a composite artwork that takes advantage of these differences? Instead of asking "book or film" - could an artwork that is part book and part film be made? Surely, this experiment has already been attempted.



I recall a fad for multi-media presentations from way back. I saw events that had live music, live actors, video, scenery and lights combined, but honestly, aside from the novelty, I never thought that the people who did it really had a good idea HOW to do it. It seemed like making all of those elements work together in a way that wasn't randomly cobbled together was just beyond the vision of the people that did it.



I don't read books so the only thing I can add to this thread is: See the movie first, then read the book, not the other way around.

In the many years I've been here at MoFo I don't recall anyone saying they've read and loved a book, then watched and loved the movie it was based on. Except me I read Frank Herbert's Dune, then a few weeks later I seen Lynch's Dune when it first hit the theaters....I was like the only person who loved the book and the movie!



In the many years I've been here at MoFo I don't recall anyone saying they've read and loved a book, then watched and loved the movie it was based on.
Loved Gone with the Wind book & movie.

Ditto Far from the Madding Crowd.

Ditto Rebecca.

Ditto Women in Love.

Just to name four.



I kinda thought so but just wanted to check Was the novel Gone With The Wind similar to the movie? I love the movie.
Yes, but I read it many years ago so donít take this as face value. The book probably had a ton more material.

GWTW is one of the very few period movies Iíve enjoyed. And, since it is a period movie, it never looks dated. Again, the arc of a woman, which is usually my fave kind of movie.



Yes, but I read it many years ago so donít take this as face value. The book probably had a ton more material.

GWTW is one of the very few period movies Iíve enjoyed. And, since it is a period movie, it never looks dated. Again, the arc of a woman, which is usually my fave kind of movie.
That's often my favorite type of a movie too.



I recall a fad for multi-media presentations from way back. I saw events that had live music, live actors, video, scenery and lights combined, but honestly, aside from the novelty, I never thought that the people who did it really had a good idea HOW to do it. It seemed like making all of those elements work together in a way that wasn't randomly cobbled together was just beyond the vision of the people that did it.
Yeah, it's a concept that SEEMS as though it would work, but in reality most never do. The various art forms really don't mix, even though artists in each can be inspired by the other. The few that I've seen (or taken part in) were usually in the avant-garde. The artists all thought was wonderful, but only because they believed that it should be.



I don't read books so the only thing I can add to this thread is: See the movie first, then read the book, not the other way around.

In the many years I've been here at MoFo I don't recall anyone saying they've read and loved a book, then watched and loved the movie it was based on. Except me I read Frank Herbert's Dune, then a few weeks later I seen Lynch's Dune when it first hit the theaters....I was like the only person who loved the book and the movie!
In my case two books that I read and thought the movie was about as good were Zorba the Greek and The Godfather. I was enthralled by both books, and loved their subsequent movie treatments.

Books of course can go into much more detail, so it may be that people tend to like them better than the condensed movie versions.

TV series may make it more likely to get the whole book in, because they have 8, 10, or more hours to develop it. One peeve of mine is that if a series is done based upon an author's book, where he's written a whole string of them, then they tend to pick and choose parts from most of the books, rather than to stick to one novel. For example Bosch is all over Connelly's novels' map. But that's screen writing for ya.. Still, I like Bosch.



In my case two books that I read and thought the movie was about as good were Zorba the Greek and The Godfather. I was enthralled by both books, and loved their subsequent movie treatments.

Books of course can go into much more detail, so it may be that people tend to like them better than the condensed movie versions.

TV series may make it more likely to get the whole book in, because they have 8, 10, or more hours to develop it. One peeve of mine is that if a series is done based upon an author's book, where he's written a whole string of them, then they tend to pick and choose parts from most of the books, rather than to stick to one novel. For example Bosch is all over Connelly's novels' map. But that's screen writing for ya.. Still, I like Bosch.

I think in the end the movie versions are always going to be different and cut down, because they're always about keeping the audience from getting bored. With books, people pick them up and put them down at their own fancy, which is another aspect which perhaps makes them less troubling/manipulative...


but part of what i was going for in the topic, is that one of the major differences is that books are overall more intimate, which is why i love to read them: it's basically one person's thoughts being transmitted to you, whereas movies are all about a recreation or enhancement of reality, it's very expensive and requires the participation of a lot of different people.


One book which I've seen and watched the movie is "a scanner darkly". I like em' both but the novel has so much more content, to recreate the whole thing step by step (movie makers never seem to do this...) it would be 4-6 hours long. I recently watched it after reading the novel and i'm like "wait, that's it?!"



I think in the end the movie versions are always going to be different and cut down, because they're always about keeping the audience from getting bored. With books, people pick them up and put them down at their own fancy, which is another aspect which perhaps makes them less troubling/manipulative...
True, but movies & tv shows can also be ďpicked up & put downĒ. What I would do without my pause & rewind buttons is beyond me.



I think in the end the movie versions are always going to be different and cut down, because they're always about keeping the audience from getting bored...
I've said this before: when a film maker attempts to bring an epic (long) novel to the movie screen, they usually have two choices they can make: Cut out huge chunks of the novel and focus the movie on just a portion of the story...OR...they can try to shoot the entire novel's story in an abbreviated way which usually results in a less than interesting movie. David Lynch's Dune has too many scenes in the movie's short run time to accommodate enough narrative story for the first time viewer to make sense of what all is going on visually in the film.



I thought of another excellent book (by Ira Levin) that then became an excellent movie: Rosemaryís Baby.