Books, Film and TV

June 26, 2014 9:00 am

In today’s world the absence of the popularity of the written word, as compared to the prominence of the visual media, is striking. As an avid reader myself, upon recommending a book to my friends, I often receive the response of  “oh, I don’t read” or something similar to “I can’t be bothered with books”. I’m always confused when met with this response because, for me, books are by far superior to any visual adaptation of a story.Tv-vs-bucks

I think the reluctance of many to begin a book is due to the apparent chore of reading compared to the glitz and glamour of Hollywood movies. When faced with an 800 page novel many begin to assume that the book is a large and boring undertaking and instead flock to a 2-hour movie with its exciting explosions and car chases. Whilst it’s true that movies can indeed encapsulate an audience with interesting stories, phenomenal characters and unexpected, awe inspiring twists, many now are simply just relying on these visual effects to sell the film rather than genuine storytelling. This isn’t true for all movies, of course, many are beautifully written and wonderfully presented. However, the film industry is overpopulated with what can only be described as generic tat and this is bringing down the overall appearance of the industry. It’s true that there’s a fair share of bad books but something I’ve found is that even the bad books can be good. Unlike films, which aren’t usually open to the viewer’s imagination, books can be made personal and unique for every reader. Every reader will have a unique imagination and therefore a unique experience for a book. Films aren’t usually so open ended and personal and this is one of the key reasons why books take my preference over films.

read-books-or-noHowever, television makes a case for the value of the visual media industry. In recent times I’ve found myself deeply engrossed in programmes finding them similar to books with their ability to encapsulate my interest. I think this is because, like books, TV programmes don’t have to cram every element of a story into a few hours. They have multiple episodes and multiple seasons to introduce and develop characters and plots, something which I think sets TV and books aside from the film world. I feel that the problem with films is that they’re limited with content and what they can fit into the relatively small time frame of a movie whereas books and TV have a much larger limit (the limit of a book being the imagination of the author!).

Adaptations of books into the film or television format is an interesting topic to touch upon here as they are either done incredibly well or they totally ruin the book.  The Lord Of The Rings movies and Game Of Thrones are two I feel the need to mention as examples of when it is done well. The adaptation of George RR Martin’s fantastic series “A Song Of Ice And Fire” into the HBO series “Game Of Thrones” has been done almost perfectly (if possible). As a fan of the books and the show, I feel that the transition was phenomenal and the writers of the show have managed to excellently capture the feel that made the books so wonderful. I can say the same for the Peter Jackson adaptations of Tolkien’s “The Lord Of The Rings” into films (although Tom Bombadil was a disappointing cut!). This is an example of how the written text can translate well into visual media and although there is a large amount of terrible adaptations of books, I feel as if I’ve berated the industry enough. These two should be seen as shining examples of how the written and the film/TV worlds can work incredibly together and should be used as examples to inspire and motivate writers in both fields.

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