Movies have several advantages over books. They can switch easily switch between different character's point of view without confusing the audience. A few bars of music and special lighting can set the mood. Action is clearer. A character can be established in one quick shot. So can setting. A picture can, indeed, be worth a thousand words.
I went to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 1 today at the theater. It's my one movie this year. If you've seen it, you know how the empty, lifeless rooms of the Black family mansion further the feeling that Ron, Hermione, and Harry have been cut off from family. A bicycle and school books litter Sirius Black's old bedroom as if his boyhood was abruptly abandoned, reflecting the situation of Hermione, Ron, and Harry. Later on, when they're on the run, they camp out in increasingly remote locations, further enforcing the idea that they're isolated.
It's skillful visual storytelling. The set design, the cinematography, the makeup, and costumes work together with the script and the actors in every shot to make it clear to the audience that this quest has a high price for each of the three characters. The special effects and action sequences are the height of film making artistry.
I read the book though, so I expected to see that on the screen. I suppose it would be fairer to deconstruct a movie that I had no expectations going in and talk about how the story was revealed. But the thing is, writing and motion pictures are different kinds of storytelling. While I admire a well crafted movie, my focus is on writing. Can I learn about the craft of storytelling from movies? Sure. When I write a story, I envision it in my imagination much like watching a scene from a movie. We're from a visual generation. It's hard to get away from that. When I want a reader to know how a character feels, I give visual cues about their state of mind through their body language. However, movies are limited in the scope of what they can show. Novels aren't. Novels can weave depth of detail, memory, and complexity of emotion in ways that movies never can. So like Lisabet, when I watch a movie, I'm there to immerse myself in it, not to analyze it. I recognize elements of craft, but don't dwell on it. Sometimes, most of the time, it's enough to be entertained.