Why Films Are Often Worse Than Books

With the advent of new technologies, the film adaptions of books are becoming more popular than ever. However, not all films based on the book are good adaptations. In fact, they are usually the worst. And why is that so?

If you are a curious book enthusiast like me, this article will definitely be a good read for your taste. It will explore some of the reasons why books are better than their film counterparts.

A Film Is an Abridged Version of the Book

Think about the time limitation of the film. Now compare it with that of a book. Of course, a book can be as long as it wants to be. But a film has to meet the requirement of two to three hours of screen time. Therefore, it is natural for films to cut loose of a large portion of the book in order to fit the fixed time frame.

In the academic course on film studies, students usually have to research film and its book as part of their coursework. If you are a film student and need help with book essay, then you will have to check out movie and book comparison essay examples as part of your lesson. These samples of essays will help you understand how films are largely different from their books.

It is very hard to confine a thousand-page long fantasy fiction into two hours long film. Therefore, many sidelines and plots are cut off from the scripts, making the story partially crippled. That is one of the biggest reasons why so many movies flop. Because since they remove a number of side hero from the story, the continuity breaks, and ambiguity enters. Books largely avoid that by explaining all side characters and plots in great detail.

Therefore, a film is more suitable for a novella or short story. And a book is suitable for TV series adaptations. 

Books Have No Limits to Imaginations

There is a proverb that a reader can live a thousand lives. One of the pros of reading books is that there is no restriction to your imagination. Every reader can imagine the same book in different ways. Therefore, each of us creates our own world with our own perceptions.

However, the film adaptation of that same book might yield a different world because the director visualizes the story in his own subjective way. So, when we read a book, we imagine the world in our own way. When we watch a film based on the same book, we see what the director imagined in his own way.

If you are a student, you will find a library of comparison books and films in every school, college, and university. They all demonstrate the same point. That is, a reader visualizes the book in the light of his own imagination. And when that reader watches the film variant, he sees it in the light of the director’s imagination.

Films Are Money Making Products Now

Most films are shot in hopes of making big bucks at the box office. They are nothing but cash cows now to most film industries. Hollywood is a good example of it. The directors do not care whether the story follows the book or not. As long as the film has actions, drama, and typical romance, it gets the green light to production.

Films nowadays are nothing but a product now. Very few go to great lengths to obey the details of the book. But for most others, the film has to be a top chart hit. And to reach that viral moment, the directors are willing to disregard the book. That is one of another reason why books appear better than films.

Words Can Never Be Fully Translated to Screens

There is a term called ‘Film Language’ in film education. A cinema is an entirely different experience than a book. Therefore, not everything that is written can be translated into films because both media are of different genres.

If you are reading a book, you are translating the words in your head. But those translations can never be recreated to screens with actors and actresses. It is because of the very nature of these two different media: film and book. And that is another reason why film adaptions are usually not on par with the books.

First Person in the Book, Third Person in the Film

When you are enjoying the story of a book, you picture yourself as the main character. You read the story in the first person. And that gives you an immersion deep into the story. You feel like you are in the story.

However, when you watch a film in the theatre, you look at it in the third person view. That takes away the immersive experience that you get from the books. So, there is a sense of detachment as well from the visual medium. That is why most film adaptations are worse than their book counterparts.


What is the key takeaway lesson from this article? You can say that the films suck while the book reigns. But that would be the wrong conclusion. The point of the article is not to diss one form of medium of creative expression in hopes of praising the other. The main point is that both media are unique in their own way. You can not translate the language of one medium into another.

Therefore, we should separate films from books. Obviously, the words of the books can never be adapted fully in the silver screens. So, these short two hours long motion pictures can never fully contain the plot of the book organically. There will all be limitations in films due to the very design. So, you should not be surprised if your favourite book doesn’t get the proper justice in its film.

So if you are a bookworm or a film critic, you must know the proper reasons mentioned above of why films are often worse than books. This article explains it all.