Are really books better than movies for storytelling?

«The wonder grows with the growth of the vehicle»

I don’t remember the author of this sentence but is the best that we can use in the contest of storytelling means.

One of the most epic battles between art lover is movies versus their own books.

Which one is better for storytelling?

Pro movie part:

Let’s try to give a bilateral answer: Could be really easy to say that books are better because in movies they cut half of the story.

No, my dears. In the cinematographic version, there is a group of experts which read the original story and decide that most of the parts are not suitable for a movie script.

A movie or tv series has its own grammar rules and you can understand how can be destructive for a movie to be filled in details like a book, it simply won’t work.

Now! In general, we can assume that the book is more complete than a movie because it allows you to stop for a moment a bit longer than a movie can do.

But, on the other side, a movie has the advantage of visuality with the power to describe a place better than written words.

A good director could enter the mind of a man and a good writer can easily describe a place.

However we know that the art environment is not only filled with Tolkien and Spielberg but at some level, storytelling can be amazing from indies too.

There is even another spear to break in favor of movies. Let’s think about a movie like Arrival.

This movie is born from a short story called The story of your life by Ted Chiang.

Do you know how is difficult to create a 2 hours script from a few pages story?

Or even The Hobbit trilogy. Peter Jackson has transformed small children book into a 9 hours trilogy.

Yes! If you are a Tolkien fan you know that he added several parts from a bigger book but the main plot was the There and back again story.


We can otherwise say that in general is better the original opera because the creator filled it with his time, research and passion and is pretty difficult to replicate.

There are movies that are awful if compared with his original version and I’m pretty aware and agree with this.

In the other side, I discovered a lot of books only because they made a movie about.

Remember: This shouldn’t absolutely be an excuse for the awful missing of ideas in the actual cinema that seems to be unable to create its own operas but lets some author the amazing to see its opera on the big screen.

Pro book part: Do we really need them?

In his video essay about how to get into comic books, Patrick Willems said this sentence:

«A Captain America movie is cool, but a Captain America story with a new installment every month that build into a giant multiyear saga is cooler»

Captain America is not my favorite character of all times but this sentence will help us with our argument: The casting problem.

Now let’s speak about a beloved franchise I don’t like much, is called Star Wars, do you know it?

In one of the last movies, (that for instance, I enjoyed) Rogue One a Star Wars story, we clashed with the upsetting concept of entropy.

Entropy, for who doesn’t know, is a though concept that sum the concept of life and death.

People die, this is the only reasonable truth of life and, if you use 50 years to make a prequel, you have to understand that some character maybe could be not available anymore.

With the high quantity of ways to solve the problem, CGI is not the best one.

This is the aforesaid casting problem, in a book or comic, you can keep your canon without even care about the faces who will drive the plot.

My personal opinion is that in some way, an adaptation should have the purpose to complete the opera somehow.

For example, the Harry Potter movies are pretty much useless because not only they don’t help the original opera to get somehow improved but they even cut a lot.

The Martian on the other side did a great job because in some part helps the spectator with an astonishing recreation of Mars and even if you can’t say I thought that some scenes are much better in the cinematography version.


Suggested media:
Patrick (H) Willem

Related posts:
Are books and blogs so different?
Books vs eBooks – Choose your side
Cinematic universes – How to approach
Whitewashing and problems related

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