Friday, 4 May 2012

Let's Talk: Book to Film Adaptations

QUESTION: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE MOVIE ADAPTATIONS? is one of my favorite blogs and Melissa (the blog proprietor) is one of my favorite bloggers. Her great friday meme encourages discussion on a variety of book topics. So let's encourage everyone to talk it out!

Fade in: A circle of hollywood fatcats, hellbent on ripping out the souls of books and stuffing the hollow husk of the leather-bound jacket with mounds of paper bills. 

Cut to: 

I give these films two thumbs in screws

My first foray into my novel obsession was, believe it or not, Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown. My older brother handed me a copy and I was enamored. What more could a young boy want? Thrill, ancient societies, a blend of fact and fiction that made me seriously question our society. And when I heard about the Da Vinci code movie, I was so excited. Needless to say, both adaptations of his novels fell flat... like out of a helicopter with a square of nylon flat.

And Hitchhiker's? If you haven't read it then Don't Panic! Well, maybe panic because it means your life has been missing some serious satire on life, the universe, and... everything! 

And although the opening song "So long and thanks for all the fish" was one of the best movie openings I can remember, the rest of the movie made a serious Dent in my initial excitement. 

Can't fade out quick enough. 

Fade In: Artists. True film artists brooding in the dark corners of a library somewhere. A director tearing out his hair trying to think of ways to bring the story the big screen. Perhaps a tear or two that's shed when the muse of inspiration whispers in his ear. 

LOTR? I actually struggled getting through the novels. I love Tolkien's stories, but I hate to admit that I found getting the stories into my brain rather tedious. Perfect casting, deft directing, and real love made these films (in my opinion) the best book to movie adaptations to date.

And yes the Shawshank redemption wasn't a full length novel, but it made one heck of a full length film. Genius. Frank Derebont deserves to win an Oscar every year for this one. 

What about you? What are your favorites and least favorites?


  1. I totally agree on LOTR actually! I didn't even think of that. I found the writing very dry, but the films brought it to life. I actually wish more movies could do that, but they don't often do, unfortunately.

    And yes, both Angels & Demons AND The Da Vinci Code were lackluster at best. SO sad.

  2. I actually LOVE the LOTR books. I love the movies, too, and thing they were done brilliantly, but I prefer the books. Peter Jackson was a genius. He used cgi, but he didn't lean on it for EVERYTHING (which is what a lot of directors do). I mean, to actually have real horseman riding in to save the day during that scene in The Return of the King? And to have a whole stadium of people screaming for the Uruk-hai scene in The Two Towers? That's art. And it gave me chills.

    For a near perfect adaptation, though, my favorite is Speak. It was literally like seeing a great book come to life. There were no unnecessary changes to scenes or anything to make the story more thrilling. I loved it.

  3. As one of those geeky* people who actually memorized all the poems and songs in the LOTR, I must give Peter Jackson a standing ovation for his adaptation. Bravo!

    *I have action figures and lunch boxes! And posters. My students roll their eyes a lot in my classroom.

  4. I agree with you about struggling through LotR. Although, admittedly, it's been a long time since I even tried. I loved the adaptation of The Hunger Games. The Harry Potter films, however, I've never been fussed on.