Out of all the generalizations regarding artistic works, this one annoys me more than most others, probably because I am an avid consumer of both films and literature. As is probably evident in my dialogue-heavy, description-light works, I trend towards movies as my form of entertainment, and thus it pains me to see them so casually disregarded.
I don’t understand why the readers have the “high brow” argument, and the movie lovers are portrayed as easily amused simpletons. These are two markedly different methods of storytelling and they each require mountains of hard work and attention to detail.
The book is NOT better.
But that’s not a pro-movie argument. The book isn’t better because it can’t be better. There are ways you can tell a story with words that just do not translate onto the screen and there are things you can do in movies that just don’t play in literature. A movie written to be 100% true to most novels would be terrible.
Of course, books by nature must be more descriptive at their core, otherwise the reader is left clueless and confused and movies are borne out of scripts that require talented actors, directors, and set designers to fill in the gaps. But the best movies stand up to the best novels as creative works and in the case of some, The Lord of the Rings for example, stand up to their specific counterpart and consumers of both types of fiction are left better off.