What first – the book or the movie?

I have many a time had the debate within myself of what to do when a movie based on a book is released. Do you read the book first? Or watch the movie first?

My initial reaction, as a firm book lover (and I’m sure many of you share the same sentiment), is of course you need to read the book first! And I did. I still do. For The Help, The Hunger Games, Harry Potter (of course), The Secret Life Of Bees…and many, many other books. I loved all of them! But what did I think of the movies? Nothing much really. The movies usually seem to range from “alright” to “pretty good”, but it’s just never the same.

hunger games

the help

I came to my first movie/book comparison realisations when I was merely 11, and headed to the Harry Potter and the Philosopher Stone premier. The Harry Potter freak inside of me, had been counting down for months and despite the excitement of a big premiere – I was kind of disappointed. I lie, I was kind of gutted. As I continued watching the movie (meaning I watched it another 10 times that summer) I started thinking of the different arts of writing and film making. Having studied Film at university, I recognise the differences even more so. So I can’t really expect the two to be the same, yet the movies hardly ever seem to capture the enchantment and don’t seem to grip you in the same way.

harry potter & philosophers stone

After being disappointed by so many movies after reading the books, I have debated watching the movies first. I am yet to do it, as something inside me screams at how wrong this is. When you watch the movie first, when you finally get to reading you already have the character’s quirks and mannerisms in your head according to the actor playing them. You already know what happens (kind of.) Something just tells me not to do it.

On my current watch list is the Life of Pi, as well as The Perks of Being a Wallflower. Both based on books which are apparently incredible. The honest truth is I don’t see myself having time to read the books before. I hate the thought of never reading them because I’ve already seen the movies.

life of pi

perks of being a wallflower

Have any of you ever had these conflicting views, thoughts and emotions? I feel like it’s a no-win, catch 22 type. Regardless, I will continue reading books and watching the movies based on them. It’s kind of hard not to.