I often hear, “That movie sucked! The book was so much better!” or “The actors were terrible, I imagined the characters to be more like _____.” Usually, I just roll my eyes and sigh internally. Of course one’s imagination differs from what one director or another feels appropriate! That’s one of the many beauties of reading an actual book; the writer leaves a certain amount to the reader’s imagination. Readers often fall prey to the idea that more people agree with them than actually do (just because you, your grandma, and your next-door neighbor think that the new Dumbledore sucks doesn’t mean that everyone thinks so.)
Another reason that readers are so dissatisfied with their favorite books’ silver screen portrayals is that they fail to realize that the recipe for books and movies are much different. Movies have many physical advantages that books don’t, such as music and tangible imagery. Books, on the other hand, can contain mass amounts of information that movies can’t quite match. There is no possible way that movies can contain the same information in the same order that books do. I often ask myself, “Would I have cared that this particular detail was left out had I not read the book first?” The answer is generally no.
Many authors attempt to create literary works that have the same effect that world famous film makers achieve in films. This goal is actually impossible. Film and literature are of different universes. They have different components and different purposes. Readers aiming to kick back, relax, and read a masterfully written piece may be disappointed with a novel modeled after an action packed, instantly gratifying blockbuster. Books like this can often be confusing. This reminds me of an article that Limebird Writers wrote, called “Keeping Secrets From Your Readers.” Random flashes of story and information at odd times do not always please the reader by coming together at the end. It’s about what’s best for the story, not about how much whiplash you can possibly give a reader in one sitting.
The point is, both books and films need to be judged at their own level, not by comparison of each other. People that do this will never be satisfied with a book or a movie as it stands on its own. Books and movies will always be different and always should be. Just as two positively or two negatively charged magnets cannot be attracted to each other, the world of literature and film can never perfectly mesh.