Roger Wolfson – Why It Makes Sense To Read Books Before Seeing Movies
Many years ago I was watching an interview with the TV writer Roger Wolfson and he was discussing movies which had been made from books which had been previously written. Whilst Roger never said that he wouldn’t watch a movie which had been taken from a book, he did say that one should always read the book first, and it is something which really stuck with me. Over the years this has been something that I have always done and I will always ensure that I have read the book before watching a movie. This too me makes a great deal of sense and here is why it is something which I too would recommend.
The first thing to mention here is that the book, the original, is always going to be the purest form of the story. When someone makes a book into a movie they do get some level of creative license which means that they can tweak and change some aspects of it. In most cases these changes are made so that the story is presented better for the movie watching audience. If you read the book first you can sure that you will read the story as it was originally intended.
You could have 5 people who read the same story and they will picture the characters in different ways, no matter how precise the description is. The reason for this is of course that reading a story is about playing out the movie in your mind, and we all interpret things in a different way. A movie of course is the polar opposite of this, you are being prescribed to, told how the story will look at all times. There is nothing wrong with this of course but it is nice if you have your own idea first, and then go to see the movie to see what someone else made of it.
One Way Around
There are no doubt some people who could do this but for me there is no way that I could watch the movie first and then read the book, it would have to be the other way around. The reason for this is that when you watch the movie after reading the book you are looking at someone else’s interpretation, which you can then compare with your own. If however you watch the more first it can be hard to find your own interpretation because the movie will be dominant in your mind.
In all honesty there are very rarely movies which are actually better than the book is and this is why you should experience that first, with a clear mind, so that you can get the maximum enjoyment from it. There are some occasions whereby the movie is better than the book, but you are much better off hedging your bets on the book being better.
Next time you see a movie based on a book, be sure to get that hardback first.