Inspiration is the key!
One of the most common things one hears from a book lover when you mention the release of a big blockbuster movie is: “I’ve read the book, the movie is not quite as enjoyable“. That is when you discover that there actually was a book from which the movie is based on. The thing is, the release of a movie is often backed by a commercially successful campaign, clips being released, pictures available online, posters on magazines and newspapers, radio advertisements and more.
As a fervent reader, the process of loving a book is quite slow and ever-growing. Just like the best wine, it takes a while to gather the pleasure of learning more about characters, see the plot unfolding, feel love for the hero and hate for the villain and we find ourselves projecting into a world the author has set for us. It is through the words and the lines that we unpack the emotions the author has carefully and willingly left in there for us to open and taste. It’s a process, that’s what it is.
A movie, on the other hand, offers instant gratification. First and foremost, it all starts and ends in a couple of hours: pleasure comes with the actors and actresses’ acting, the soundtrack, the colours, the lights, the scenery and after all it’s just a personal perspective. The director’s. With a book, the elaboration does take place in the reader’s mind, and despite the whole plot being set in paper, there’s still some sort of active participation, and a full involvement in the process of enjoying a book.
As one watches a movie, a more passive approach is required. It’s a take on something we had already pictured in our minds. This is probably why the reader never fully accepts to have their book turned into a movie! They might even enjoy it, but why would they ever give up a world that has been created through their mind and favour it over someone else’s interpretation?
Moreover, there’s also a business related reason. The reader often feels that their favourite novel has been exploited, depleted, exploited, sponsored, torn, reversed, adapted to the great machine of commerce. Sometimes, certain books are difficult to understand, and they require the reader to establish a special empathy with the author. None of this occurs for the movie, which in its attempts to be accessible to all, looks for and finds a language that in many occasions turns away from the sophisticated words of the original novel to become a visible disposable plot.
On the other hand, when a book is made into a movie, a renewed interest is taken towards the original book, sometimes turning it into a best-seller. It’s a shame some books are underrated or overlooked until they hit the big screen, but at least they’re discovered and brought back under the spotlight for the book lovers to enjoy.
At the cost of looking snob, the reader always defends their favourite novel when it’s turned into a movie. There’s always curiosity to see how a director sees the novel and how the world reacts to it, but never ask the reader to choose a movie over a book, as it’s quite rare to find someone saying “I liked the movie more than the book“. It really is.