Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Five Ways Watching Movies is Better Than Reading Books


(#20 of 365) Movie Night
via Jennifer Finley
Last time we discussed why reading is better than watching movies—so now it’s only fair that I point out the reasons that watching movies is better than reading. The fact is, I watch a lot more TV than I read (as in, I’ve watched 55 movies this year and parts of 11 TV shows, versus 39 books), and I’m not going to let it go unappreciated.

And why do I enjoy it so much?

1. There’s Less of a Time Commitment

Unless you are reading a picture book, or unless you’re that girl that can read the Harry Potter books in a day, then you know that it takes a few hours to get through a book. Feature-length films tend to be between 1.5–3.5 hours—there are always exceptions, but in general, it takes less time to get through a movie than it does a book.

2. You Can Do It With Other People

It is one thing to write a blog post about your feels, or type the massive feels you feel on your phone or Facebook or whatever. It is another thing entirely to be sitting on the couch with Elizabeth watching the series finale of Leverage while she is SOBBING and you are SCREAMING and you are both EMOTIONALLY TRAUMATIZED A LA VEZ AND YOU ARE BOTH NOT OKAY TOGETHER AND IN REAL TIME. (It doesn’t sound like a benefit but it is.)

3. It’s Easier to Spot Visual Cues and Symbolism

Prior to watching said series finale, Elizabeth and I marathoned New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn, Part 1. New Moon has arguably the most symbolism of any of the movies. I noticed that Bella tends to wear brown and green around Jacob and blue around Edward—much in comparison to the russet liveliness of the werewolf and icy cold of the vampire. It’s actually a pattern that continues through the rest of the movies, as well. Writers put the same things into their writing, but you have to imagine the details yourself—you don’t have the option of simply picking them out from a screen.

4. Rewatching is a Feasible and Easy Thing to Do

A half-hour into New Moon, Edward breaks up with Bella—he hugs her and kisses her one last time before leaving her, for her own good. As he did that, I said, “Arms, take your last embrace. Thus, with a kiss… I die.” Elizabeth looked over at me and she was like, “Wow, you know your Shakespeare.” The fact is, I do not—Edward actually speaks those lines aloud in English class a few scenes earlier. Having seen the movie a few times, I not only know that scene very well, but I’m able to apply it somewhere else—familiarity helps me see into what I’m watching better.

5. Music

The Twilight movies have an epic soundtrack. So does Dead Poets Society. And if you have never heard any Lord of the Rings music, then you, my friend, are missing out. This seems like a very simple thing, and indeed it is, but believe it or not music helps to carry a story—to tell a story—and it is part of what makes a movie amazing. (Come on—you don’t think Darth Vader would be nearly as scary without the “Imperial March,” do you?)


Watching movies is one of my favorite pastimes, not only because of its social implications, or because of the music or the visual symbolism—although they’re all great. What I really love is the format. I’ve taken video classes, I’ve seen some amazing actors and actresses put a story to the screen, and in the end, I think movies are beautiful, beautiful works of art (when they’re done right).

Don’t get me wrong—books are amazing too. There’s just something magical about the cinema… Something I love to watch, again and again.

What about you? Why do you like to watch movies? (Or, are you of the ilk that does not like to watch movies?) What is one of your favorite movies, and why?

21 comments :

  1. I love how you showed both sides of the debate in these two posts. I prefer reading as I believe it enhances the emotional experiene in many ways and is a more brain active activity, but there is a time and place where a movie is a better option (much better for instant community building/socializing/conversation making).

    In the end, both experiences are so different, it is really hard to compare. Why not have our cake and eat it too?

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I do try! :) That's true; although I think it might depend on the person. I myself spend a lot more time thinking about movies than I do books, and depending on the book, are more emotional for me.

      But, you're right, they're not equal comparisons, and we might as well enjoy both. :)

      Delete
  2. I love watching movies and TV series! In part, because yes, it takes less time. And you can share it with others (except I usually watch movies with my mom, and she normally does not get emotionally involved or talk about the movies with me. . . she usually forgets what we watched a week ago, but after Age of Ultron, I think I've got her talking about it now ;) ).

    I think I like TV series better, because they last longer (a total contradiction to what I said above. . .). But I like them mostly because they can go more in depth with the characters and story because they have more time to do so. The character development can be more believable if there's a dramatic change because it doesn't have to happen with the span of 2 hours.

    Also more people watch movies than they do read books. So I'm more likely to meet and talk to people who have read similar movies than ones who've read the same books as I.

    Have you seen the most recent Pride and Prejudice? I love the camera work and movement in that movie. It's phenomenal! Every time I watch that scene with Mr. Darcy writing his letters, and Lizzy and Ms. Bean cross each other behind his back to return to their seats, I squeal inwardly. Somebody was a genius!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me as well! My mom isn't a movie watcher, either, but fortunately I have good friends to fill the gaps and discuss things for hours afterwards.

      That is totally true—in TV series the depth they can go is amazing (although it sucks when they get cancelled). It definitely can follow a more similar pace to real life, whereas a movie sort of has to cram everything right in there.

      That's very true as well! There are so many books out there that you can read a lot with very little overlap, whereas with movies, it's very easy to start a conversation!

      I haven't seen it! I will have to see it though, even though I haven't read the books. However, I've heard it's rather dull, so I don't mind. Thanks for the recommendation, Ashley!

      Delete
  3. Books and movies definitely both have their own good points...and I love both. But something I really appreciate about movies which you mentioned is that you can do it as a group. I'm a huge people person, and I prefer to have someone there to squeal with (and while I've tried the whole book club thing and it was awesome, it didn't really work out, long term).

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, a people person. Don't get a lot of those, but I'm glad it's something true for us all. There's something about being in an audience that's totally magical, even when it's in your house on an old TV. (And yeah, for some reason, book clubs are rarely successful, that I've heard.)

      Delete
  4. I agree, sometimes movies can be better than books. Movies tend to hold my attention more since I just have to simply watch and not concentrate on reading. I agree about music though, that's usually a must in most movies! Great post overall <3 Benish | Feminist Reflections

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Concentrating on reading can be totally hard sometimes; especially when you're not into a book at all. The music is also one of my favorites, and good for writing music later. :) Thanks for reading, Benish!

      Delete
  5. Oh I totally agree about the doing-it-with-other-people, thing!! It IS the best to fangirl with people...aaaand, you can do it more instantly, right?! I also find movies/tv shows are less on the brain. Like if I'm exhausted beyond anything then TV is awesome because I can watch and enjoy and not have to stab my brain with teeny tiny words and concentration. XD And I won't deny they're faster. heheheheee. ALSO THE SOUNDTRACKS FAJDKLASFD. Everything by Danny Elfman, basically.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Exactly! It's fun to do the squealing and the dying with other people who are squealing and dying as much as you are, instead of going back later to talk about how you were squealing and dying to another party. :P Agreed—there isn't as much mental power required in watching. DANNY ELFMAN IS GREAT that is all.

      Delete
  6. The time thing with books is something I struggle with. So much time. But also worth it? Movies are great in that you can do it with friends/family- it's not something I've stopped to appreciate before.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is a lot of time, although I'd say that it's only sometimes worth it. Some books suck, and you just don't want to deal with those. And yes, I've realized that watching movies with my dad has become something I really enjoy doing with him. :)

      Delete
  7. YES YES YES TO EVERYTHING!!

    I especially love that you pointed out the symbolism. I find it so much easier to pick up on visual symbolism in a movie. With a movie, it's also a lot easier to use symbolism in an organic way, whereas in a book it can often seem like it's just been pasted into the description (if that makes any sense).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. YAYAYAYAY

      Thank you! (No one else has mentioned it and I was beginning to wonder if I was alone.) It's definitely a lot easier for me to spot, and you're right, it can be done more organically. It's a lot harder to pull off in a book, and can really flop if an author doesn't know how to do it right. :P

      Delete
  8. Yes! I love picking up on symbolism in movies. I watched The Truman Show last year and there were so many visual cues that it took multiple re-watches to spot them all (even then I probably haven't spotted every last one). Characters are always wearing blue, white or red, kind of like your werewolf/vampire thing except this is an American flag thing. Also, have you seen the American flag in Avatar? I think it's on google if you haven't. Gah, I love this post, movies can be awesome too, not just books. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! Symbolism in movies is among my favorites. :) I need to rewatch The Truman Show again; I remember it seeming really good. :) The American flag spots are really cool; I googled Avatar and that one was pretty awesome! It makes me wonder what the filmmakers are saying about the United States! But yes, movies are an art all their own. :)

      Delete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. (Had to delete and repost last comment due to awful grammar :/ )

      I spend a lot more time reading books than watching movies and if I had to give up one of the two it would most definitely be the latter. But I absolutely agree with you. Watching movies does have its advantages over reading. Especially the doing it with other people thing.

      I don't have an absolute favorite movie, but I can name a few. I LOVE musicals, especially The Sound of Music and Into the Woods. And I will forever adore Pirates of the Caribbean, Harry Potter, and the Princess Bride(I could probably quote this entire movie).

      Delete
    2. (That's okay!)

      I don't know if I'd say the same, to be honest. Something I need to think about! Movies, however, do have a lot of power within community, so there's always that.

      Musicals are totally fun; I like Sound of Music, though I haven't seen Into the Woods yet. PotC, HP, and PB are all awesome, and I totally agree! :D

      Delete
  10. I love this post! It's interesting how you wrote about the other side because I don't see that often. I agree that there are advantages from BOTH sides. Personally, I don't like reading a book AFTER watching a movie because whatever I do first is my best impression.

    That being said, I hated the host movie so I'm like... let's not read the book. It sounds like a good idea, though because imagine how much time I saved by watching the movie first!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you did! I think that people in the book world definitely value reading books more, perhaps because it feels more exclusive. However, I do see your point—reading after watching a movie can lead to a little bit of bias that might be unfair to the author.

      Well, I'm glad you did! Movies do have their uses. :)

      Delete

Check it out, comments and stuff. I love to hear from readers, and I always respond to commenters! Here's the fun part—if you leave a link to your blog I'll show up and comment back. I have just one rule down here: Don't Be a Problem. This spans the entire umbrella of rudeness and crudeness, so I reiterate: Don't Be a Problem. Thanks for stopping by!