Books Vs. Movie: The Long And Short Of It


Ava Taylor, Staff Writer

Harry Potter, by J.K Rowling, is a seven-volume children’s fantasy series–each comprised of hundreds of pages that paint a detailed picture of the Hogwarts Wizarding World. And, each has also been magically transformed into a condensed movie version. But, if a person could only choose one way to encounter the story, which would it be: book or movie?

This is a question for not only the Harry Potter franchise but for any book made into movie. A lot of students at Elkhart High School quickly opt for movies. But, why? Movies just bring books to life. They are a lot more visually stimulating and require less imagination on the part of the reader. In short, they’re easier than books. Take for example the movie Avatar by James Cameron. Few would have ever been able to accurately depict the land or its iconic blue creatures without visual aids. The fantasy and excitement of seeing one’s favorite characters and scenes come to life is what makes movies so much more compelling to some, rather than trying to recreate the same images in their own minds when reading. Then, of course, there are also a lot of people who simply enjoy watching movies as opposed to reading books because it takes less time out of their already busy schedules.

These reasons, however, don’t stack up with Kassidy Short, a sophomore. “Yes, I like movies, but I think books make the readers use their imagination more; the readers get to make their own kind of movies in their minds [instead of being fed images].” Reading, she insists, builds a person’s ability to think creatively. It is an under-used area of the brain these days, she says. When reading a book, the reader is able to fabricate his or her own mental image of the story that is indelibly his or hers. No movie can do that.

There are also other things that sometimes movies cannot accomplish. In Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, for instance, Daniel Radcliffe–who has blue eyes–could not wear the green contact lenses that Rowling described Harry Potter as having. Thus, Harry is now seen as the blue-eyed boy. 

Want to put this question to the test? Holding Up the Universe by Jennifer Niven is just one popular book dying to get adapted into a movie. Try reading the book now. Then, when the movie comes out–and it undoubtedly will–see which version was more pleasing. Yes, books will always contain more information about the story, as their detail and description of the characters’ thoughts and feelings can be explored in depth. But, sometimes what a book takes pages upon pages to express takes one quick moment in a movie.

That still leaves the question of whether books or movies are better? The answer likely lies in the eyes–or mind–of the beholder.