Book to Movie: Can the Excellence be Captured?

by Dania

Abstract: Many people debate whether a book can properly be transformed into a movie. I believe a book can’t for many reasons. For example, in a book, you have the chance to imagine what the scenes, characters, etc. are like, but in a movie, you can’t. Also, to make a movie more interesting, the director may take out a few scenes that seem unimportant but turn out to be part of a bigger picture later on. For example, in the movie “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Part 1)”, they take out the part when Hermione takes the picture of Phineas Nigellus with her. This seems harmless at first, but then how is it that Professor Snape knew where the trio was when he had to lure them with the silver doe? Those are just some of the reasons why I believe that a book can never really be changed into a movie perfectly.

When a transition from book to movie occurs I don’t believe that the exact essence can be transmitted. Books, in my opinion, are much more creative and also just make more sense.

The reason I believe books make more sense is that they can explain something using words but no scene or dialogue. For example, in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix the movie, they don’t necessarily explain what the Order of The Phoenix is, but the book gives a whole chapter to explain what it is and what they do. In books, they demonstrate the thoughts and feelings of a character or scene without making it seem unrealistic, but in movies, the character must speak or their thinking must be narrated, which takes away from the mood of the scene.

Also, word choice is greatly important. In books, word choice can change the meaning of a whole book immensely. It can make something seem sophisticated or it can make something seem childish, it can draw you to the book or it can push you away from it, but in a movie most of the amazing adjectives are taken out from a film, leaving a movie to usually be blander than a book.

Imagination is also a big factor. Fiction books are made for your imagination and creativity to grow. When reading you can make the book personalized for your liking by imagining the characters and scenes in your mind. In movies, everything is already laid down for you and you have no choice but to accept it.

And finally, you also need to accept the fact that the director of the movie may change the author’s description of a scene. For example, in Harry Potter and The Philosophers Stone, chapter sixteen, when Harry, Ron, and Hermione try to get the stone, there are quite a few differences. First, in the book, there are seven obstacles (the most magical number), while in the movie they leave out Professor Severus Snape’s obstacle and it is suspected that he was the one who wanted the stone. Also, they leave out Professor Quirinus Quirrell’s obstacle, and he was the one who actually wanted the stone. Second, Rubeus Hagrid created a challenge and you could only pass if you put Fluffy to sleep by playing music. In the book, Harry and Hermione play the flute Hagrid gave them but in the movie Quirrell bewitched a harp to continuously play.

Third, when they come across the second challenge created by Professor Pomona Sprout, they are supposed to defeat it by creating a source of heat. In the book, Hermione creates a fire, but in the movie, she creates faux sunlight. Fourth, in the third challenge made by Professor Filius Flitwick, it is quite similar between the book and the movie other than the fact that in the book Harry, Ron, and Hermione all catch the key rather than just Harry, showing teamwork and equality in my opinion.

That is why I believe that movies can never completely capture the brilliance of books. Finally, I would just like to state that although I prefer the books, that does not mean that I do not like the movies.