Books Vs Movies: Which Has Better Character Development?

Not long ago, reading was considered the primary source of insight for man. We’d ask questions and by opening a book, we’d find the answers. Nowadays, since the film industry has pretty much taken over in the story-telling department, there is very little appreciation for writers and their literary works. In spite of the modern day cinema rave, I believe that readers will always have a better feel for the characters in their stories than movie goers ever will from catching a short-lived two hour flick in the movie theater.

Through my own experiences, I often find it much harder to get into the characters and story when I’m watching a television series or a movie. I think this is because the character is more often than not only partially laid out to us. Even though it seems obvious enough that movie producers’ main focus should be on character development, they tend to lose sight of what really matters in a story and end up spending too much effort on a vague storyline with amazing special effects. As much as I hate bringing this up, I feel that producer M. Night Shyamalan did just that with his “The Last Airbender” flick. If I’m not mistaken, a story is supposed to make you feel for the characters and enable you to put yourself in their shoes. We should be able to identify with or relate to the characters, but a poorly told story like this one just doesn’t give me a reason to feel anything except maybe frustration.

When it comes to the old-fashioned way of telling a story by putting words down on paper, the author usually meets our expectations head-on. Without the need for visual satisfaction from viewers, the writer can better focus on what’s really important. Good characters are a much more fundamental and crucial part of the story since the writer can’t make use of distractions like special effects that cinemas can. When you read a story, there’s a lot left to the imagination that enables us to create a desired illusion of something that isn’t really there. To some extent, we picture people and things how we want to and in this way, we feel like we know the person as an individual and have some connection with them. This can rarely be done from watching movies.

Character development is a must for any story told whether by book or by film. Without it, I wouldn’t waste my time or money reading or watching these. I hope that books will continue to gain more interest in spite of the current movie fad because honestly, you’ll get a lot more out of them than you will by watching most movies.

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