Books Versus Movies???

Les mis

So, I finally did it this week. I crumbled under the pressure and went to see Les Miserables, the supposed “movie of the year”. I don’t know what compelled me to go, because I absolutely hated the book when I studied it in literature next year. But my best friend was ranting and raving about how it was quite possibly the greatest movie of all time and how she owned the soundtrack in the London Symphonic, American Broadway, and film versions, so I figured I’d better see what all the hype was about.

Turns out, the movie was absolutely fantastic and absolutely blew the book out of the water. In my opinion, at least. Everything that had seemed creepy (like Marius stalking Cosette) or overly dramatic (like just about any death scene) in the book was nothing but heart-wrenchingly beautiful and touching on the big screen. Maybe it had something to do with the stunning musical arrangements and overly-talented actors? Or maybe (if we’re being truthful) it had something to do with the utter attractiveness of Eddie Redmayne (who, in the words of Hannah, we would watch eating cereal for two and a half hours). But, the more I thought about it, maybe there are some advantages to watching a story develop on a big screen versus between the covers of a book.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be a book junkie to the end. I refuse to ever break down and buy a Kindle or a Nook (although, hey, if you’re planning on buying one of my books on an electronic reader, you go right ahead–I’d never refuse that sale, haha) and I hoard classic hardback literature titles like a miser. For reals.

HOWEVER, I’m also a huge fan of cinematography and the art of the film. If you were to quiz me, you’d probably find out that I know an unhealthy amount about movies, especially classic old Hollywood films. I’m a visual person, believe it or not, and I identify with the beauty of a well-shot scene or the tears rolling down the cheeks of an amazing actor. I think we all do. There’s just something about seeing drama unfold before our eyes that has the ability to captivate and move us like nothing else. Don’t even pretend like you don’t know what I’m talking about. However snobbish you may be about your books, you have to admit that at some point in your past you’ve seen a movie that has impacted you like no book ever could.

But then again, it works both ways. Like my absolute favorite book ever, Gone with the Wind, has a terrible movie. Well, not terrible, but pretty awful compared to Margaret Mitchell’s literary masterpiece. Whoever made that film failed to incorporate the terrible beauty and deep sentimental threads that made up the book. The same goes for Ella Enchanted which, let’s face it, was every girl’s favorite book when she was about ten years old. I mean, that book rocked my world and made me almost cry. And the movie was totally lame.

So, at the end of the day, I can’t really take a side in the battle of books versus movies. Some movies are incomparably better than their books. Have any of you ever read Phantom of the Opera? Worst. book. ever. But the movie made me cry the first ten times I saw it. Sooooo….. I guess it’s a never-ending flip-flop. I’ll probably continue seeing all the books-turned-into-movies. And I’ll probably be way more lenient with the books I disliked, like The Hobbit. And then I’ll be crossing my fingers that my favorite books, like The Great Gatsby, will be reasonably clean and absolutely amazing.

Time will only tell!

So, what are your thoughts on books versus movies? Did Les Mis and The Hobbit fail to meet up with your standards of the book, or were they even better?



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  1. * Hannah says:

    Haha, oh, I’m the same way, I’ll NEVER give in and buy a Kindle or an E-Reader! There’s just nothing like holding a physical book in your hand!
    Haven’t seen Les Mis (I’m only 14, so my Mom wants to preview it first), and I’ve never read the book, so I can’t contribute with that.

    But I DO have something to say about the Hobbit. First of all, did I really read it right that you HATED the Hobbit, Rachel? Because if that’s true, I may have a hard time reading your blog anymore… (Just Kidding! 🙂 ) I am a HUGE Tolkien fan. The Hobbit failed miserably to bring the storyline of the book on screen. They changed the storyline around a lot, which was very disappointing to me. (Other people may not notice, but it bugged me, being the Tolkien geek that I am. 🙂 ) But they did do a really good job in keeping the spirit of the dwarves and the quest for the Lonely Mountain throughout the movie. Thorin Oakenshield was AMAZING.

    I have mixed feelings for the Hobbit, but I still really enjoyed watching it. Hope you’re able to see it soon! 🙂

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 6 months ago
    • * RachelC says:

      Yeah, I would be careful about Les Mis until after your mom checks it out! Both the book and movie definitely deal with some mature content matter, but if your mom thinks you can handle it, it’s a great film! 🙂
      No, I didn’t say I HATED the Hobbit! I said I “disliked” it. It’s a pretty good book, but I prefer the LOTR trilogy. I LOVE those movies!!! I heard from some friends that they took a lot of liberties with the Hobbit plotline, and that disappointed me, too, and made me not want to see the movie as much. Of course I’ll still watch it, though! It might not be my FAVORITE book, but Tolkien is a genius and I read all the LOTR books growing up. 🙂 I much prefer them to the Narnia series…

      | Reply Posted 5 years, 6 months ago
      • * Hannah says:

        Ok, phew, glad you cleared that up! 😉 I think I like the Hobbit better every time I read it. But the LOTR trilogy is definitely my favorite! The Hobbit movie still is VERY enjoyable, even with the liberties they took with the plotline. I’m tempted to tell my favorite parts…but I don’t want to spoil it for you. 🙂 Let us know what you think when you see it! 🙂

        Posted 5 years, 6 months ago
  2. * Alyson says:

    One thing bugs me is that I LOVE the Chronicles of Narnia books and one movie sticks the the book and is really good, one strays a little, and one completely changes everything. I could read, reread, and reread the books over and over again, but the last two movies are forgettable compared to the books.

    I watched the Hobbit without reading the book and I wasn’t as impressed as I was expecting. I felt it way to drawn out and some parts I felt were over dramatized. I checked with my brother later and sure enough some of those over dramatized parts weren’t in the book.

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 6 months ago
  3. * cait says:

    I’m a relaxed book junkie and a BIG fan of movies. When reading, there’s something awfully special about creating worlds yourself. A movie does that for you. But, being very visual myself, it’s an blissful feast. I loved The Hobbit! I can’t stand to read the books, but I’m a big fan of the LOTR trilogy too. My little sister is dying to see Les Mis (I can’t even pronounce it!) 😉

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 6 months ago
  4. * Heather says:

    Sorry I apparently pressed enter too soon. I loved Les Miserables! I have all those versions that your friend does. It is much better than the book in my opinion. Phantom if the Opera was also better than the book!

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 6 months ago
  5. * Emii says:

    Haven’t seen Les Miserables, but you’ve just talked me into it! Mostly by that cereal line. It cracked me up. Reminds me of me and my sister watching movies. 😀

    BTW so we can buy your book now?!?!

    The Hobbit went for a very.long.time. Me and my sister forgot we were at the movies during one particularly long fight-scene and started talking a little too loud. 😛 Are you and your sister talkers-during-movies? Whenever we’re watching with people outside our family, they get so annoyed and are constantly shushing us. Our family talks through movies, is all. 😉

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 6 months ago
  6. * Jenna C. says:

    Ahhh! Now I’m really dying to see Les Mis…
    Books vs. Movies….hmmm…I’ve had my fill of the horror of reading a good book and watching the movie and it totally messed things up for me. For example…the Love Comes Softly series by Janette Oke…that was a big disappointment when it came to the movies…they killed off characters that weren’t suppose to be killed off! It was really annoying…

    But then there are movies that actually had scenes in them that were a lot better than in the book…like there were some scenes in the Tv series “Little Dorrit” that I liked better than they were in the book….sooo…I don’t know…I can’t wholly say the books are ALWAYS better than the movie…though usually that is the case… 😀

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 6 months ago
  7. * Grace says:

    No, no, no. The Hobbit was amazing. The average American just can’t appreciate the detail. It wasn’t too long in my opinion. And that was what real men used to be like! I absolutely loved it. Plus, it had a story line of honor and duty. (Something the average teenager can’t understand at all.) Anyway- that’s my opinion! :p

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 6 months ago
  8. * Sydney says:

    I could watch Eddie Redmayne eating cereal for 2 and a half hours, too!! 😀

    | Reply Posted 5 years, 2 months ago

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