As I re-watched The Count of Monte Cristo, I couldn’t help thinking how much more enjoyable watching a movie is than reading a book. Granted, there are trade-offs and shortcomings inherent in film which are not encountered with the written word, but there are many reasons that movies are a “better” medium than is literature.
The most immediately evident advantage to film is that it takes far less time to convey the same message as a book. Well, perhaps the most immediately evident advantage is that film is plainly visible and leaves little room for visual interpretation, but this could also be construed as a disadvantage. Its lack of ambiguity paints one picture (to steal a term from yet another medium) while one of the greatest qualities of literature is the free reign given to the reader’s imagination.
But why rehash a comparison of means of artistic expression when such a consideration was surely done a century ago? No, I was digressing from the importance of time. No one in this modern era – perhaps no one back in those “lazy” eras either – has time which he or she is eager to toss carelessly away. Reading’s deference to imagination is reasonable on a carefree Sunday afternoon, but a movie can be watched many times over if one is comfortable with making the concession of some degree of creative freedom.
Dumas’ tale of betrayal and revenge is probably an excellent novel, and it’s a shame that I’ll likely never read it. Even if its film adaptation is far from its original roots, it was still quite engaging, and I’m not even left with the feeling that I should have spent several more weeks reading it rather than two hours watching it.