I am coming to realize that perhaps the reason I am not such a good film critic is my somewhat brainless enjoyment and lack of in-depth analysis. There are certain stories or situations where I find myself picking apart the details and criticizing every inconsistency, but most of the time I am easily impressed and distracted by flashy special effects. It is rare that a movie with well-engineered effects will leave me entirely disappointed.
Secondly, I don't read much literature, namely books. Most people I know read far more than I do. It is simply not something I prioritize. Just today I was talking to someone at church who expressed the benefit of watching Lord of the Rings before reading the book by J.R. Tolkien. The more I thought about it, the more I realized he is right.
When I do read I find myself, as many do, totally transported into the story. I tend to read very, very slowly. Some people say they "read slowly", taking a week to finish a book that others would finish in a day. Apparently I am the master of slow, because it often take me years to finish a book! I read a chapter here, another there. Usually I end up having to review previous pages to remember where I left off between sessions. Such is my way. Nevertheless, I can appreciate getting wrapped up a book and its details and the disappointment of not seeing these played out on screen in their entirety.
The medium of film dictates such license, however. No one wants to watch a six hour movie - the time it would take to leave the content of most novels untouched and unabridged. Well, to tell you the truth, I would love to see such a movie. After watching the Lord of the Rings trilogy, my mouth was watering for more. It's like, "Didn't he write more?" Where's the 4th, 5th and 6th movies? Aaargh!
I am very visual, and a solitary minute of motion picture can often speak an entire chapter of words. When you sit down and think about how many words are spent describing a scene, a character or object, it is amazing how instantly it can be represented on screen or in an illustration. Even so, most movies leave out much important content from the books they are based off of, and often totally mess with the plot and chronology. It is almost always best to first watch before reading.