We love movies. Since the advent of Hollywood, Western people (and now the world) have watched and enjoyed thousands of films. Some movies mark a high point of art (Citizen Kane), while others mark the need for a business executive’s desire to make money (The Emoji Movie).
Despite the possibility of a film becoming an artifact of human ingenuity, a genuine piece of art, many films in the 21st century do not attain to the status of “good art.” Most films come from the executive’s office and their aim is merely to entertain without also informing and transforming.
The Art of Writing Is Available to Those Who Lack Finances
To make a movie, you need money. Lots of money. Even if the movie is on a shoe-string budget, it will still cost thousands and thousands of dollars (consider the cost of camera equipment alone, although rentals can alleviate this cost). So, you need to invest time and money and somehow earn that money back to continue your art.
In writing, the costs are dramatically less. And this lower entry point in terms of cost means that more people can enter into the discipline or art of writing. More than this, artists whose particular contribution may not survive the economic discussions in an executive’s office will have a greater chance to publish their works.
Books Can Create More Detailed Worlds than Movies
Movies run for about 90 minutes. Books run for about 400 pages. The latter can provide all sorts of details that a movie cannot. Sometimes authors create such vibrant and fascinating worlds, which when put in movie-form cannot live up to the author’s literary world (e.g., Harry Potter).
Books Can Make You a Better Person
Reading books may help you better relate to others, to be empathetic. Reading books may also stave off Alzheimer’s disease. And it generally makes you a smarter person. Granted, some films may teach and others may sketch out a real-world problem in profound ways (e.g., a documentary). But books still tend to be better at growing you as a person.
Books Can Communicate Deep Knowledge
The average movie may take something like 5 years to create. And much of that time is filming, working out contracts, and editing scenes. The business of movie making requires or at least encourages fast turn around times.
The book market is not so different. And yet: there is a large book industry dedicating to scholarly or well-researched argument. I recently read a book that took the author around 20 years to write (which I have yet to finish). This means that every page and every sentence communicates many years of thought and depth.
I know that a film can do this, but do films normally do this? True. Most books don’t either. But, due to the large roster of writers and book types (see point 1), many books come from the deep end of the pool.
I am not against movies. I enjoy them. I simply think that books tend to be better than movies. Undoubtedly, you can provide an exception. But one exception doesn’t overturn the general pattern that I am suggesting here.
Quite simply: books tend to be better than movies. More people write them, they create more detailed worlds, they make you a better person, and they provide a depth of knowledge that movies cannot.