Which comes first, the film or the book?
Books are wonderful. As soon as you open the cover, you’re sucked into an immersive and exciting new world. Films, a relatively new concept in comparison, are also excellent; to many, they offer a similar escape. These days, film adaptations are incredibly popular and many literary works find their ways to the big screens. But if you want to read the book and watch the film, which should come first?
Whether you should read the book or watch the film first is dependent on a variety of factors, the first of these being how imaginative you are. Reading the book first is recommended if you have the ability to get lost in your imagination, because the descriptions in the book can really bring the story to life in your mind. However, if you’re the kind of person that has a hard time visualising things in your head, then it may be an idea to watch the film first – this will give you a basis for what the scenery and characters look like when you come to read the story. Having said that, it can be a little annoying if the film has changed some of the details from the original book because you may find yourself thinking “well that wasn’t in the film”, so it can be a bit of a pain. Regardless of whether you read the book or watch the film first, it’s likely that there will be some differences between the two mediums, so there’s a chance it might irk you either way.
A (potentially) good thing about watching the film first is that it’s going to be a much shorter experience for you than having your nose in a book. If you’re not sure about a book, or you don’t read all that often, then the film may give you an indication of whether you’ll enjoy reading the story – if you’re not that fussed about the film when you’ve finished it, at least you’re only likely to have wasted a couple of hours of your life. Buying a second-hand book or loaning one from the library, however, can also be a cheaper option than forking out on cinema tickets or buying a DVD. If you’re the thrifty type then I would suggest reading the book first, because it saves you money in the long run if you decide you really don’t like the plot.
While a movie can pack in a huge amount of content, condensing a novel down into such a short amount of space can mean that parts are left out, as well as making the plot feel rushed. The likelihood is that you’re also going to have to watch the film in one go in order to remember what’s going on. The book is packed with all the original content and it allows you to progress at your own pace (as well as dipping in and out when you wish), so reading the book first is obviously the option to go for to get the full experience of the story.
So, should the film or book come first? In my opinion, trying to give the book a go is probably going to be best if you really want to get a feel for the fictional world as the author intended it to be portrayed. Of course, we’re all likely to have a different image in our minds of how the characters and the scenery look, but I think this adds to the appeal as it is more personal and intimate in our minds. However, I do admit that watching the film first can be beneficial at times, especially when you’re having a hard time conjuring up the images in your mind, or when there are tonnes of characters to learn the names of and you’re having difficulties distinguishing between them.