Opinion: Multimedia engages viewers better than books

Opinion: Multimedia engages viewers better than books

When done right, movies and TV shows can bring a certain life to a story that books lack. Watching favorite characters conquer their challenges on the big screen can often thrill viewers more than books.

Take “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone” for example — when listening to John Williams’ classic opening theme, it is impossible to imagine Hogwarts without the movie’s gothic towers and hallways.

Music and visuals are storytelling gold that a book leaves to its readers’ imaginations and in doing so abandon its audience on the author’s intended emotion and drama.

Thanks to animation and special effects, movies are able to create new worlds instantly for the viewer.

For example, in box office hits such as “The Hunger Games” and “Lord of the Rings,” producers simply show fantasy settings instead of taking entire written chapters just to explain the story’s environment.

Without the burden of having to explain every detail of an imagined world, movies gain the freedom to engage its audience in the story’s intensity, drama and emotion through visuals instead.

On top of that, a typical movie viewer can consume more content in less time when compared to books. It may take me a week to read “The Princess Bride” cover-to-cover, or I could log onto Netflix and enjoy it in just two hours. With that freedom, I, along with the other seven million global Netflix subscribers, can enjoy more stories in a fraction of the time.

Many people prefer movies according to a CBS News poll, with 84 percent of Americans frequently watching them at home.

Comparatively, only 74 percent of adults have read a book within the past year, according to the Pew Research Center.

The social aspect of viewing a movie or TV show can also gather a group of friends together. With that communal involvement so closely tied to the experience of viewing the movie, it’s easier to gain a more emotional connection to the story.

Movies are economically superior to books too — think of all the roles that involve producing the typical Hollywood movie. The “Chronicles of Narnia” series hired 2,622 people for its first movie alone. Whereas, with books, there is usually an exclusive group of people that contribute to the editing and publication process.

Even Barnes & Noble has a movie section in the back — perhaps it’s because they know that, in the end, most people find movies superior to books.

Autumn Edmonston is a freshman English major.

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