This doesn’t mean that the movie is bad, only that it can’t portray the story well enough to suit the avid reader. Unfortunately, movies will never be able to portray a book with any sort of competence or inspire the same sort of devotion in the reader. A good book can capture the attention and keep the reader flipping pages long into the night. It can speed up the clock until suddenly the end of a chapter jolts the reader back to reality and she looks ever her shoulder to see that it is five hours since she started reading at nine o’clock.
There is a reason they split Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows into two parts. A five hour long movie would lose most people’s attention before the movie was half done. Isn’t it funny, then, that the book takes longer to read than both Part 1 and Part 2 take to watch, yet it captures the attention of millions of readers worldwide and they stay with it until the very end? A good book has an aura that surrounds it, drawing voracious readers like a mother s drawn to a toy shop around Christmas time.
Each word is a hand that grabs the reader and a mouth that says “read on. ” The imagination is what keeps a book alive. When we can’t see the characters and scenery, when we can only take the words and use those to set the basic structure, our imagination fills in the empty spaces and the story becomes whatever we need or want it to be. We feel so much closer to the characters and understand so much better the trials they go through, when we can take what the author writes and turn it into a world of our own.
In this beautiful world, a co-creation of the author and ourselves, we are the characters, we go through everything they do, we shape our lives accordingly, and we add our little something to the story. A movie grasps this world in one hand and drags out the imagination in the other. It stamps its own set version of the characters and scenery in the empty spaces and displays its aberration where all can see. A movie’s world is a dictatorship and, once lived, it is the only thing a reader is allowed to live.
It is the only world the imagination can summon when reading that particular kook again. Movies are more about the action than the thoughts and, often, books are more about the thoughts than the action. In movies, it is impossible to tell what the characters are thinking. Unless the director chooses to insert a disembodied voice when the actor isn’t speaking that tells the viewer exactly what the character is supposed to be thinking, the actor had better be good at body language and the viewer had better be good at reading it.
In books, often what the book is really about is the internal conflict f the main character and the characters he or she interacts with. If the reader was unable to hear the thoughts of the characters most of the story would be lost. Movies will never win the struggle to capture a book in picture and sound, no matter how sophisticated our pictures and sound become. We could make the movie so realistic the movie-goers believed they were in the world with the characters, but we would never be able to completely portray the book.
We could invent a three dimensional television that surrounds us as t plays the movie, but we could never come close to the beauty and personality of our own imagination. We could discover telepathy and use it in movies to show the internal conflict of the characters, but the actors could never truly think only as the characters do. Movies will never be able to portray a book as it should be or inspire the same undying attention, unfettered imagination, and persistent contemplations that books inspire in their readers, but just like our determination in the quest to learn to fly, we will never give up.