Movies and books; just one little reason

I like to watch a good movie.  A great adventure movie, such as The Lord of the Rings, or How to Train Your Dragon, is a pleasure to watch.   But no movie ever compares to a good book.

MABJOLRI’m not going to give you a long rant today.  It’s too nice out for that and, besides, Hunter is calling my name.  I need to go write.  Instead of a rant, here’s one reason I think books are better than movies;  writing that moves you to great heights of emotion are rare.  Movies that do the same thing are more common.

Why?  I think it’s because a movie lets you see everything.  It’s a visual, emotional medium of information.  It leaves nothing to your imagination and thus shows you exactly what you need to feel.  And you do it.  It’s easy.

But a book… is the product of reason.  You use the rational side of your mind to read, studying, analyzing, converting information from text to idea to full meaning.  That’s not to say you don’t enjoy a book emotionally, just that you use more mind-power to read it.  You can tell when the author doesn’t mean something, or just couldn’t quite get that ’emotional’ passage right.

When the writer does manage it, though, you have something far more impressive than any movie.  The author, through the weak, pitiful medium of wood pulp, ink, and hard work, creates a world.  He doesn’t do it using pictures or films.

He does it with a few words and lets your imagination turn his words into something truly beautiful.  When a writer punches through that layer of thought, right to the heart of emotion, it’s greater than any image.

Two of the most incredible passages are from the same author; Tolkien.

 First Lines of “The Lament for Eorl the Young”

“Where now are the horse and the rider? Where is the horn that was blowing?
Where is the helm and the hauberk, and the bright hair flowing?
Where is the harp on the harpstring, and the red fire glowing?
Where is the spring and the harvest and the tall corn growing?
They have passed like rain on the mountain, like a wind in the meadow;
The days have gone down in the West behind the hills into shadow.
Who shall gather the smoke of the deadwood burning,
Or behold the flowing years from the Sea returning?”

Bilbo’s Quote to Boromir

“All that is gold does not glitter, not all those who wander are lost; the old that is strong does not wither, deep roots are not reached by the frost. From the ashes a fire shall be woken, a light from the shadows shall spring; renewed shall be blade that was broken, the crownless again shall be king.”

7 thoughts on “Movies and books; just one little reason

  1. Tolkien was a great writer!!

    If only we could all as writers be able to portray such beautiful and emotionally inspiring words!

  2. I think this is the same reason it’s hard to make a good movie based on a book (hard, not impossible). HP Lovecraft just does not translate to pictures. You have to see it in your mind.

    • Exactly! Well put. 😉 It’s also why I’m always so impressed when someone manages to make a really good movie out of a book. It shows they really put effort into getting it like the author presented it.

      *thanks for commenting, btw*

  3. The second Tolkien quote is by far my favorite. Arwen didn’t do it justice in the movie! Though I enjoyed Peter Jackson’s take on LOTR, I’ll always love Tolkien’s story in its original medium.

    • Indeed. I prefer the first quote; King Theoden was a great character, if sad. 😉

      And yes… Jackson did a marvelous job with LOTR… but there is no substitute for the wordcraft of a certain professor…

  4. Mad

    Excellent post!

  5. Mad

    Well, well come on Michael get crackin’ we need a new post!

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