Read It First…or Not

Taekia considers herself to be sassy in all the right ways; she is the take-no-prisoners Managing Director of the Harry Potter Alliance and an avid television and movie watcher (movies, not films…).

So, I don’t really think you need to read a book before seeing the movie, and sometimes I prefer to see the movie first. WHAT?! I know, I know. To explain why, I need to back up to explain where I am right now.

The HPA is gearing up to launch it’s first HUGE specifically non-Harry Potter campaign as pat of the Imagine Better project. Now, a lot of people will probably ask how this is in any way different from things we’ve already done like Helping Haiti Heal or P4A 2010.

Well, we’re only focusing on one other text. We’re building a comprehensive and robust campaign, which works on an issue directly related to The Hunger Games, and uses clear parallels from the cannon.

Now back to why movies are better than books and no one should read…(no, no, that’s clearly crap – I’m joking – put DOWN the stones, guys). Talking about the Hunger Games so much currently has started to get me really excited for the movie this March. REALLY EXCITED.

But it also makes me think of all of the people who will be seeing the movies without having ever read the books. Books and movies each have strengths as a medium that the other doesn’t. I think problems arise when movies try to cover everything and be everything that books are; and likewise books suck when they don’t play to their point (ahem I Am Number Four ahem) as a medium.

But a strong adaptation shouldn’t pin book against movie, the strengths of film as a medium should shine through, and I know they get it wrong a lot of the time. I want to cry over most of the HP movies because they’re bad movies. But sometimes they get it oh-so-right. And I think we can help them get it right by shifting our perception of what we’re about to see. Sometimes the message truly is the medium.

We as readers, as viewers have the power to appreciate what we’re seeing and to acknowledge that books and movies are meant to tell different types of stories all held within the same text and that perhaps the film will not be as rich and detailed as the book… because it’s not meant to be. However, even the concept of “Read it First” creates an inherent link between the two simply because they’re based on the same text. Don’t read it first… or do… who cares? Just because something is first doesn’t mean it’s right or better. Just enjoy the medium, whichever you prefer.

I’m excited to see The Hunger Games, not because I think it will be a perfect cinematic actualization of the book, but because I think it’s going to be a good movie.

What do you think? Are books clearly the superior medium? Do movies get a bad rap? Do you want to hear more about our next campaign? Leave a comment!

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  1. Anna

    February 19, 2012 at 5:55 am

    I whole-heartedly agree with you! I’m glad someone finally expressed what I’ve been trying to say for a long time. To me, the concept of “The book was better!” is just plain wrong, because better at what? Better at being a film? I get that people mean that they perhaps were more emotionally involved in the book than the film, but that doesn’t mean it was better. Perhaps the media just wasn’t suited for that story. If there was a person, and then a painting of that person, then you wouldn’t say “The person is better!”, but you could say “I don’t think the artist captured the person’s true beauty, and that’s too bad.” (Now I’m not even sure if that’s a good comparison, but I repeat myself from above, I’m not really good at expressing what I’m really trying to say). And yes I want to know more about the campaign! Sounds awesome!

  2. February 24, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    I agree that books and movies should not be pitted against each other. They’re different mediums that inevitably will tell different types of stories. A book is a more intimate experience between the author and reader and is limited only by imagination, a film is visually and auditorily stimulating and can be shared simultaneously with friends, but is limited by time and budget..

    I prefer to read/view both if the tale has a counterpart, because each medium makes me look at the fictional world in a different light, but which one I enter into first doesn’t matter so much.

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