Read First, or Watch First?

Posted November 18, 2014 by Sophia

In the couple of Catching Thoughts conversations over movies I’ve had with Lupe from Catching Bookz, she’s always told me this: “Don’t judge a movie by its book, Soph.”

Pondering over the question myself, I started wondering: Is it better to watch the movie first before reading the book, or is it better to read the book before watching the movie? Are all those stickers and labels that say, “READ IT BEFORE YOU SEE IT IN THEATERS!” true, or do they simply lead to the downfall of most YA movies except for the ever occasional rare gem? Examples include City of Bones (drain hole), The Lightning Thief, Sea of Monsters, Vampire Academy (Sophia and Lupe don’t really understand why), Beautiful Creatures (please don’t get me started. That was honestly TERRIBLE.), etc.

The human mind is a curious thing in my opinion – isn’t that why psychology is invented? Being judgemental is something we do naturally, despite the fact one may say they are not judgemental. We simply do it subconsciously – the books we read, the clothes we wear, the people we spend time with – you name it.

Think about the biggest reason why a book to movie get a lot of negative or positive reviews. The first thoughts that might pop in your head may include the cast not looking like the characters you imagined them to be, the director added or removed one too many things, you hated the book so that automatically means you’ll hate the movie (I really hope this isn’t your reason), or perhaps the most common reason: one does not simply love a movie when it does not follow closely to the book.

Which I totally get. I’m sure lots of people understand that. But there are quite a few pros and cons to both.

Reading Before Watching

  • You jump on the fan wagon before everyone else does. Of course, I have an absolutely reasonable reason not to read Harry Potter when it first came out – I wasn’t born… YET. Couple months off probably. :p
  • You know the characters like the back of your hand – you’ve gone through everything they have, step by step of the book, and now you get to see it in reality! Yay! Who isn’t excited to see their favorite characters come to life?
  • You know what’s going to happen – the best quotes, the funniest scenes, the sad scenes, the romantic ones that make the hopeless romantics melt, etc.
  • You get REALLY excited when you hear the movie rights to The Infernal Devices have been bought. Mega squeals from all the fangirls. Do fanboys squeal by any chance? I mean, it’s probably not as high pitch as my squeal may be…
    • Okay, you might be doing a happy dance as well. You’re celebrating, alright?!
  • You have 100% bragging rights over the people who haven’t read the book. As in, this did not happen in the book. Your argument is invalid.

Watching Before Reading

  • Chances are, you’re probably a visual person and simply don’t have the time to read the book. Completely reasonable I suppose, but you can’t be busy 100% of the day, right? I mean, how do you sleep then? Oh, yes. 2 hours every night. Sadly, that won’t last very long without tiring you out.
  • You know what’s going to happen… except sadly to say, there’s a loophole to this.
  • You get a taste of what the book might be like… and it probably impacts your decision on whether or not you’ll read the book.
  • You get food! Of course, a reader can snag a few snacks when s/he want to, but what if you’re reading a SUPER GOOD BOOK and you can’t stop turning the pages because IT’S THAT GOOD?!?!?!
  • No judgements whatsoever. When you haven’t read it, no can do.

Supposedly, I’ve only named the pros to both. Whether you prefer reading before watching or vice versa is ultimately up to you. But honestly, which do you prefer to do first? Any reasons that I haven’t listed? Add away to my list(s)! I promise not to do anything mischievous as a result. Anything that does happen, blame the bots. Or my coding. Or perhaps more accurate, your intramanetty.

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Sophia is a socially awkward Communications major who has a GIF for nearly everything and is frequently in a Hogwarts House Crisis. More of her bookish reviews can be found at The Arts STL.

Categories: Books, General, Movies and TV

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