A few days ago, Aleen and I were discussing how books are always better than movies. Last night, as I finished the last page of The Hunger Games (I read it in an entire day!) and Rachel poured over Mockingjay, we discussed The Hunger Games movie that will apparently come out in 2013, according to IMDB.
We were discussing why a movie would not do the book justice and I have officially decided that movies will never be better than books, but there’s a very specific reason.
Let’s go back to The Hunger Games as an example. A really quick (non-spoilery) synopsis of the book. Katniss lives in a time where The Capitol is punishing the Districts for their earlier rebellion against The Capitol . They do so by creating The Hunger Games, where one boy and one girl between the ages of 12-18 are randomly chosen from each district to enter into an arena and fight to the death, the televised viewing made mandatory, proving to the Districts that The Capitol has ultimate control over them. Katniss stands up to save her little sister and becomes the female tribute for her district.
So there you have it, all of the information I will give you regarding plot. The entire book is seen through Katniss’ eyes as everything happens. Because so much of this book is based on suspense and emotion, a lot of the quality that keeps the pages flipping very quickly is that you feel, in some sense, like you ARE Katniss. When she says “I,” you are suddenly the strong fourteen year old girl with a single braid of hair down her back. You relate to her innermost thoughts, you understand why she does everything.. not because of the situation, but because of the emotion and the logic that goes on in her head.
There is no way to create this kind of connection with someone watching a movie. This is not a discussion of movie vs book, because the two are entirely different beasts to tackle, so don’t get me wrong. But there is a lot that a movie cannot convey without using words or a visual of some sort, which even then could be interpreted differently than the author had intended because of that artists’ interpretation of the words. An actress could portray “I am angry” but how do they convey “I am as angry as the meteors that struck the earth and destroyed the dinosaurs”? One of them gives you a slightly deeper sense of the anger.
Which is not to limit our human understanding of emotions to words and descriptions, because how often have we quickly caught on to the emotion of a friend without any word? It’s different when the emotions are the thing that keeps you connected to a plot outside of yourself, something you’ve been pulled into and drug through without even realizing it.
So there you have it. That is why I believe the book will always be better than the movie.