When The Movie Is Better Than The Book

You know those times when you’ve read a great book and then later on you find out that a movie version has been made? Whenever that happens to me, I get excited. I love the book so much that seeing it acted out onscreen sounds amazing. But what’s the usual outcome in these situations? The book is better nearly every time and you walk away feeling a bit let down. The live action version of the words you read and the images you’ve created in your mind fails to capture the essence of what the author intended.

I am a Michael Crichton fan. I have been since the early 90’s. If you don’t know who that is, he wrote novels such as Jurassic Park, Disclosure, Rising Sun, The Andromeda Strain, Sphere, Congo, The Great Train Robbery and Timeline. All of these were eventually made into movies. Some, such as Jurassic Park, were huge box office successes and were decent movies overall. But to true fans, movies based on books change too much of the story. The characters are different or not included. Some characters not in the book are now big parts of the action. Movies are great but if you want to really enjoy a good story, read the book.

Are there exceptions to this rule? Sure. Sometimes the movie is more exciting and heart-pounding than the book ever was. I can’t think of a movie version of a book I’ve read personally where that is the case off the top of my head though. However, I can think of a situation where the written version of something pales in comparison to the live action version of the subject matter.

The Bible is written in such a way that if it were actually nonfiction as claimed, this world would be filled with everyday magic and miracles going on left and right. But that’s not the world we live in now is it? The movie version of the Bible story is depicted in the lives we live. We need to look at both versions, compare them and then decide if they match. If they are not the same, which is better and why?

The Bible makes many claims and many promises. Promises such as “John 14:13-14. “And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son. You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.” That’s the book version. How does that compare to the live action movie version of your life? Have you ever prayed to God and asked for something (anything) in Jesus’s name? Did he give it to you as promised? Did he come through each and every time? I’m guessing no. I know that there are Christians out there who will say that you are praying wrong, asking for the wrong things, have sin in your life blocking access to God or God answers in his own way which may differ from yours. These things are excuses, not God answering prayers. Does the Bible have these stipulations? No. Does the Bible place a disclaimer on that passage that says “results may vary”? No.

There are promises like in Matthew 11:28-29 where we are toldCome to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” Have you ever prayed for peace and rest when life got hard? Was your sincere prayer answered? Did all your worries and fears melt into peace? I know mine didn’t. 

There are countless other examples of promises made to us in the Bible that look great on paper but don’t materialize in reality. Claims (oftentimes outrageous ones) also grace the pages of this well known manuscript. Claims of unicorns, talking snakes and donkeys, a man walking on water, a man dying and rising again, blindness being cured by spitting  into someone’s eyes, a man living inside a whale, a sea of water being divided so that men could walk on dry land, a talking bush on fire, a virgin conceiving a child, a man being taken up into heaven in a whirlwind, the existence of angels, demons, cherubs and giants and so many more. The list is as long as it is absurd. These claims are not reflected in reality. The live action version of life leaves out the most outlandish and laughable aspects of the book. Why is that?

If God exists and wants us to believe in him and have a relationship with him, why leave out of our lives the most impressive things written in his book? If we are supposed to believe the story, shouldn’t the world we live in resemble in some way the words written down for us in our “guidebook”? You would think so…and you would be wrong. The story is full of the types of things you would expect to find in a book of mythology, fantasy or legend. It contains very little of what you’d expect in a biography, a journal or diary. The types of things you’d expect to find in those types of writings are things that are observable, fact-based and believable. The Bible is not that type of book.

I love both a good book and a good movie. I love filling my mind up with the imagery inspired by the words of gifted authors. I also love watching real people portray characters found in those stories up on the big screen. Live action along with some great special effects can sometimes capture the essence of a story. Sometimes it can’t. If I read about things that cannot be observed, cannot be corroborated and defy both logic and nature, I know that the story is fiction and was intended to be read for entertainment purposes only. When my reality is in conflict with a story, I know what is real and what is not.

The truth is that the live action reality of our lives can be far more rewarding than the fictional written version of life. There is no sin in reality. There are only people who do both good and bad things. People make mistakes, learn from them and take the necessary steps to avoid them in the future. There is no eternal reward or punishment needed for positive changes to be made. In our reality, we are responsible for ourselves, others and the world around us. We don’t need to (and absolutely SHOULD NOT) wait for a god to come and fix the mess we’ve made. We can heal this world. We can help those who are down. We can feed the hungry, clothe the unclothed and love those who may be  different from ourselves. We can do these things because they are the right thing to do and not because of a greater power who is a tyrannical monster in the book version but a non-entity in the live action version.

Books are great entertainment. Books are great learning tools. Books can comfort us when we’re hurting. But books are not real life. Stories, some written and some oral, are just stories. Some are based on reality, some are based on fantasy and some are written with a deliberate intent to deceive. You can tell the difference by opening your eyes. Look around your world and compare reality to the stories. Some are written so long ago that it’s hard to say if they are all true or embellished a bit. But any story passed off as truth that makes promises said to stand the test of time are ones that should be easy to decipher as true or not. All you have to do is take a promise, follow the instructions and examine the results. If any promise is true, it’ll be reflected in your life. Many of you reading this have prayed in accordance with the promises made in the Bible. So what’s your verdict?

15 thoughts on “When The Movie Is Better Than The Book

  1. My favorite lately is “greater signs than these follow them that believe”. Either there are no true believers, or the book is a lie (I actually think it’s both) Better miracles than Jesus’ miracles would be cool, but we don’t even see tat for tat —true dat!

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Yeah, let’s forget about seeing better miracles for now. Let’s see evidence of at least one of Jesus’s miracles and then see if we can top it. If there are so many miracles performed by Jesus that if they were recorded, the earth couldn’t contain all the written words (John 21:25), surely there’s evidence of at least one…right?

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Lol I remember my old church. The pastor there basically said that miracles don’t happen anymore because they were for the apostles, and now God apparently doesn’t need to do them anymore. Christianity is full of excuses.

        Liked by 4 people

  2. When I read a book, I found that more often than not it was better than the movie. Part of it is just our expectations I suppose, but it helps if the movies don’t have two dimensional unrealistic characters.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. CovertAthiest – “The pastor there basically said that miracles don’t happen anymore because they were for the apostles, and now God apparently doesn’t need to do them anymore. Christianity is full of excuses.” Well said and quite true – they taught me the same thing in school. God didn’t need to do miracles any more because we were supposed to just accept the claims of a 2,o00 year old book that they happened back then. Or they claimed miracles still did happen and trotted out examples that were blatant fakes, never happened at all, etc.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Because apparently God can’t just show us miracles today and instead must have us believe a confusing ancient book with no evidence of its claims. Ah faith. Whenever I heard of miracles at church, it was always in some distant third world country lol.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s interesting how those miracles always happen in other places, to other people, or are entirely unproven when investigated. The nuns were fond of trotting out Lourdes, the Catholic church’s miracle factory in France. No one actually gets cured of anything, but what Lourdes does do is generate huge amounts of money for the church and the businesses in the town from the poor people who go there looking for a cure.

        Mark Twain gave an extended description of the ‘miracle factories”, as I call them, at some of the churches in Italy, and almost all of them were designed to do one thing – separate pilgrims, the ill and the foolish from their money. They operated more like circus sideshows, and a lot of them are still in business.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. My family had a challenge a while back to come up with five examples of movies that were actually better than the book. A few that we came up with that I can remember:

    Ben-Hur
    Shrek
    Forrest Gump.

    I’m sure I’ll think of some more later.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Yes, I’m not going to count novelizations of film scripts. Only pre-existing books where the movie was an improvement. I’m thinking that I liked Cloud Atlas better as a movie, also, so that’s four.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. There are some movies that I liked so much I wouldn’t want to read the book they’re based on for fear of ruining it. The Shawshank Redemption comes to mind. One of my favorite movies, based on a Stephen King novella. I am curious about the source material for the movie, but seeing the movie first can alter how you read a book. I don’t want to read the book and picture Morgan Freeman or Tim Robbins. That’s not what was intended when it was written. Kind of like how I started reading the Da Vinci Code recently to see what the hype was all about. I saw the movie years ago and now my book is full of images of Tom Hanks.

      Liked by 3 people

    2. 2001 a Space Odyssey. I think the movie was better than the book there as well. But I think Arthur C. Clarke wrote the book after the movie in that case as well. And to be fair, the book was excellent but nothing could compare to the visuals and mystery going on in the movie itself.

      An author called Zenna Henderson wrote a series of SF short stories about “The People”, a small group of refugees who fled to Earth when their world was destroyed. Someone adapted that into a movie called “The People” (of course) back in the 1970s that was actually surprisingly good despite starring William Shatner. Granted, it turned ‘The People’ into a sort of space-going Amish, which they weren’t by any means, but it captured the spirit of the stories pretty well

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You never know how a movie based on a book will turn out. I still remember how disappointed I was with the original movie adaptation of Frank Herbert’s “Dune” novel, the one with Sting and Patrick Stewart. The visuals were stunning, the costumes amazing, but what they did to the story made me so upset it almost ruined the book for me. Not that long ago it popped up on one of the streaming services I subscribe to and I figured it couldn’t be as bad as I remembered, so I watched it again. It wasn’t actually horrible, but only by the skin of its teeth. The only thing that saved it for me were the costumes and scenery. The scene where the Guild pilot in his tank was escorted in to see the emperor was stunning. But the acting was mediocre, at best. What they did to the actual story . And the actor who played Paul – I hated him so much I developed a mental block and I can’t even remember his name.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. The John 14 verse gave me a lot of trouble. My consistent prayer was that I’d be closer to Jesus and stronger in my faith. What could be closer to God’s will than that? As my faith grew weaker, that prayer became more urgent. And then I prayed for exactly what God says he wants–just to believe. And guess what–not even that prayer was answered.

    My dad, the Calvinist, who taught me for years about the elect and the non-elect, was floored. “You must have some sort of sin in your life.” I wanted to say, “No, I’m just obviously not one of the elect.” According to his theology, that would be the only reasonable answer. But reason does not come into play, does it?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. You would think that, at the very least, God would answer a prayer like that. I say this all the time. When I was struggling with my faith, I would pray for guidance from God, to be closer to Jesus and for renewed and strengthened faith. But there was no response. If God ignores a prayer like that, why trust him with anything else?

      Liked by 3 people

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