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Vines: Adapting books into movies benefits everyone

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Vines: Adapting books into movies benefits everyone

Kaitlyn Vines, Columnist

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“Divergent.” “The Hunger Games.” “Twilight.”

 What do these three things have in common? They are all the first books in series that have been turned into movies. After every one of these films was released, I heard this statement: The movie was not as good as the book. Although movies are not as detailed as the books and often leave out parts to save time, the films are beneficial to readers in other ways.

Although the books are undoubtedly more detailed than the movies, movies provide an aspect which the novels lack: visuals. It is extremely exciting to see characters come to life. When I was in eighth grade, I was a huge fan of the “Twilight” books. Stephenie Meyer, the author, takes so much time describing Edward, but picturing him in my head was only so helpful. Seeing this character on a screen added so much to the ideas I had created in my mind and truly changed the way I thought about him — in a good way.

Movies based on novels are also great because they draw attention to the books. In a technology-rich society, with access to numerous social-media websites to pass time, teenagers are reading less and less. A recent study on teenagers aged 13 to 17 showed that 41 percent do not read for fun. This is almost double the number of teens who replied with this answer in fall 2011.

By turning novels into movies, children and teenagers’ interests are turned to the books that provided the basis for the worlds they come to love. For instance, when “The Hunger Games” movie began production, there were 9.6 million copies of the trilogy books in print. In early 2012, when the movie was nearing its March release date, there were more than 26 million. Following the movie’s release, my sister bought copies of the books even though she had already read them in school, and she convinced her friends to buy and read them too.

Yet another benefit of adapting books into films is that people who would not usually read can enjoy the stories. Authors work incredibly hard to create interesting worlds, and it is a shame that not everyone has the chance to experience them. For example, my dad works 60 hours a week and can’t really find the time to sit down and read a book with hundreds of pages. However, he usually can sit down for two hours and watch the movie version of the story, as he has done with “The Hunger Games.”

Finally, seeing the story on a movie screen can also clarify parts that were confusing in the novel. Particular writing styles may be hard to understand, and movies can display the plot without all the perplexing language. For instance, “The Great Gatsby” and “Romeo and Juliet” are nuanced and complex. When I read them, I had trouble understanding all parts of them. However, the movies provided a medium through which the plots became clearer for me.

At first glance, movies may pale in comparison to the greatness of the book on which it was based. However, when one looks deeper at what movies can actually do for people, it becomes apparent that they outshine the novels. Never from a book will one be able to see characters come to life or experience the author’s world in less than two hours, but that’s exactly what films are designed to do.

Katy Vines is a Weinberg freshman. She can be reached at kaitlynvines2017@u.northwestern.edu. If you would like to respond publicly to this column, send a Letter to the Editor to opinion@dailynorthwestern.com.

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