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Books and movies are like apples and oranges. They both are fruit, but taste completely different.

Updated: Jul 4, 2023

Just as there are many sequels and remakes of older films, the film industry in many countries looks to books for inspiration. This makes sense especially if the book has been a great hit, such as the Harry Potter, The Golden Compass and the Narnia series, it is, therefore, believed that a movie of that book will also become the next blockbuster.

It’s impossible to list the numerous books that have been turned into movies. Books that were read by thousands of children and adults had images created in their minds of the characters, their personalities, and the settings in which the actions take place all these are altered by scriptwriters to fulfil the requirements of the big screen! The experience of both, reading and watching the story unfold on a screen, is very different; reading is usually an activity that we do on our own while watching a movie at the cinema is an activity that we do with other cinema-goers in a darkened theatre and on a big screen where we emerge ourselves in the action taking place before our eyes. Is this how you imagined the characters from The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

Or the giant from the BFG:

What about Stanley and Zero from Holes:

As avid readers, we are always excited at the news that a book is being adapted as a feature film. We think about who the actors/actresses are going to be and if they are going to be anything like we imagined; if the film will stay true to the book, and most importantly if the movie will be just as good as the book. The thought of finally being able to visualize what has only previously been limited to our imagination is always an exciting prospect. The two mediums are often compared but they are different and both equally important in our lives. Reading stimulates our imaginations, but movies help us to visualise all the elements of the book that were in our mind and visible to us alone. It’s an exciting experience and one that can stimulate emotions we find difficult to express in words.

Many of the popular books that have been turned into films are read by school children every year both in a primary as well as a secondary classroom. Teachers can introduce tomorrow’s adults to both versions and use them to help today’s youth make comparisons, think critically, ask questions and seek explanations. These films can be used to teach a new language, cinematic syntax. They can transform an event from a book into their own film script, take on the various professions and roles you find in the world of cinema production and make their own exciting version of the story. Some may even go on to study the field further, developing greater skills in these areas. Today’s classroom activities could lead to tomorrow’s exciting professions – let’s offer them a variety of creative learning experiences and show them what two every day mediums such as books and cinema can offer!

* Quote in the title by Stephen King.

Photo credits: Screenshots from 'The Golden Compass'

'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'



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