Best and Worst movie adaptions of a book, otherwise known as the longest Top Ten Tuesday post ever. I love this topic because it is one that I find myself constantly complaining about. I cannot stand it when great books have to suffer bad adaptions. It is just sad to see something you love be tortured and twisted into something completely different from the author’s intention. However, there are times when it goes so well that you want to thank the writers for not screwing it up. I don’t know that I’ll be able to stop at ten but I’ll try.
1. The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn – I know that many are scratching their heads right now. A Twilight movie? Really? I say yes and here is why. Somehow the writers were able to stay true to the book and manage to shock the audience all at the same time. This one makes the list for the ending confrontation sequence on its own. I have never seen a book adaption that was able to make me mad one minute and applauding the next. I kid you not. Applause broke out in my theatre when we figured out what was going on. Not only was it a shock but it stayed with the story (in an unexpected way) AND it threw everyone for such a huge loop that you didn’t have time to guess what was going to happen until they were showing you that they had in fact messed with you completely.
2. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy – I loved this series because it had the guts to stay true to the original work as much as possible while not making the movies so painfully long that no one could sit through them. Then they went back and made them longer for home release so that people could see most of what was missing! It was a brilliant way to make the fans happy while making a profitable movie. It also earned them more money by creating two versions of the movies. I have all three of the extended editions of the movies sitting on my shelves and love watching every minute of them.
3. Harry Potter and Sorcerer’s Stone – I add this one because of all the movies, this one holds truest to the books. It tells the story faithfully and builds a level of trust with the audience that they were going to need in order to get the audience to stick with them over seven more films, including the one that is on my list of worst movie adaptions ever made.
4. The Princess Bride – Don’t bother reading this book. Really. We all love the movie and there is a reason that it differs so much from the original material. I rarely say this about a book but this is not one to encourage someone to read after hearing that they absolutely loved the movie. While there isn’t anything really wrong with the book, it is so vastly different from what ended up on the screen that most readers will be disappointed. The book has a much different audience than the movie as well. I think it’s a great adaption because they took the source material and turned it into something completely new. The book as it was wouldn’t have made for a good movie. The screenwriter here did a masterful job!
5. The Green Mile – I think this one ends up on the list simply because it is one of the most faithful book to screen occurrences that I have ever encountered. I finished reading the book and then watched the movie in the same sitting and was pleasantly surprised to find out exactly how accurate they were to each other. I really appreciated the accuracy because I don’t think the story would have been as good if they had left things out.
6. The Silence of the Lambs – Yep. Had to be said. This was a great adaption of a truly chilling story. Not for the faint of heart but definitely one worth seeing and reading. I hesitate to include the sequels simply because I think that they missed something that the first movie had. The only one that even came close for me was Hannibal and they completely ruined the ending. They should have filmed the book ending. I know I’m one of the few but I actually liked the book ending so much better than the drivel they created for the movie. Silence was by far the most faithful to the original material and while some of the others had some truly chilling scenes, this one started it all.
7. A Requiem for a Dream – Okay, I’ve only seen this one once. I don’t think I could ever watch it again. It is incredibly disturbing and is full of mature content due to the issues it deals with. However, due to is powerfully redemptive qualities, I think it is one that must be mentioned. While the book does a good job of dealing with the issues that come from drug addiction, the movie takes another step into the confusion and lengths addicts will go to in order to get their fix. This one doesn’t shy away from anything and so it is not one that most people will find appropriate to view due to it’s extremely graphic nature. This is the ultimate PSA about drug use. Unfortunately it is so graphic that many people will never watch it.
8. The Hunger Games – I thought long and hard before including this one on the list. While it was a really good movie, they made some serious mistakes that will be hard to fix. There are entire characters missing and plot points that were not included that needed to be there. The whole thing about the Mockingjay is so wrong. They really needed to leave that bit of the story alone. If you haven’t read the book you don’t know that there is a vital character completely missing from the movie. However, they did an amazing job of communicating how bleak their lives are outside of the Capitol and how horrific the games are. The other thing that bothered me was the mutts at the end of the movie and how they left out the most horrific detail behind them. That being said, I walked out of the theatre after seeing that movie and it stayed with me in a powerful way, the way a good movie should. So I think that it is overall a wonderful adaption, even though there a couple of things I would have done very differently.
9. The Wizard of Oz – I can’t leave this one off the list. Yes I know all the issues but I simply don’t care. It’s a classic for a reason. It is also one that should never be remade. You can tell other stories from Oz or show other perspectives but this one simply shouldn’t be touched.
10. 10 Things I Hate about You – Didn’t realize this one was an adaption? Yep! The source material is Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew and this tale simply hits it spot on. I’m a big fan of Rom-coms in general but this one is great. it is one of the best examples of taking a classic tale and making it modern in the best sense. It maintains the original feel of the story while making it matter to a modern audience. Add Heath Ledger to the mix and it is an automatic win.
1. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – This movie cut so much out from the original story that it felt completely rushed and like half of the story was missing. It is the worst of the Harry Potter movies in my opinion and one I wish could be completely redone or at least added to. it really needed some serious help. The fans wouldn’t have cared it if was even another half hour in length if it had felt more relaxed in its pacing and hadn’t skipped large chunks of the story. I want an extended version of this one so we can see all the missing pieces.
2. Beautiful Creatures – This one failed simply due to horrific casting. Lena was one of the worst casting decisions I have seen made in recent film history. This movie is supposed to be exciting but I fell asleep in the middle because it simply was missing any emotion. You cannot do a good film adaption of a book if you don’t get the main characters right. It simply doesn’t work. Add to that the fact that there were entire characters missing and you’ll wish they would have left this one alone.
3. The Lightening Thief – This could have been awesome and it just wasn’t. It was a great book and the movie was just cheesy. It had some decent moments but overall it was so bad that I’m shocked they are doing the second one. I hope they don’t mess this one up as much as they did with the first one.
4. The Count of Monte Cristo – I absolutely love this book. I am an advocate for the unabridged version if you can get your hands on it. The movie however completely twists everything. It isn’t even the same story. The ending is completely off base. Major characters are missing completely and it’s just cheesy. This one is one of those books that deserves a serious movie adaption, not something loosely based on a great piece of literature that is a massive farce.
5. The Time Traveler’s Wife – Eric Bana. Yep. That and half of the story was completely missing. I was so disappointed in this one.
6. Eragon – I loved the book. Loved it even more when I found out exactly how old the author was. The movie looked like it was directed by a kid though. It missed every bit of magic that the book contained.
7. Twilight – I know that the last movie in the series made the best list but honestly this one simply is completely off when compared to the other movies in the franchise. Yes I know it suffered from a tiny budget and that they had no idea how it would explode but the poor filming is just painful when compared to the rest of the films.
8. The DaVinci Code – I love Tom Hanks. However, this was completely the wrong role for him. There were so many other great choices but nope. Tom Hanks gets the main character role. I knew it was doomed when they made that announcement. When I found out that Ron Howard was directing, I cringed and decided that I would wait until it hit on DVD. I was glad that I didn’t pay money to see this one.
9. A Wrinkle in Time – Someone please make a good movie version of this book because the book is amazing. The movie is so bad. It could be this amazing creepy dark masterpiece with an amazing redemption type ending. Instead it’s cheesy and not worth watching. Read the book guys, avoid the movie.
10. The Hobbit – I saved this one for last and the main reason is that while this could have been amazing, turning this into three movies is just painful. I can understand two but three? Really?? I fell asleep in the middle of the first installment and I can’t see myself paying to go see the rest. I’ll wait for the DVD and probably until they are all done so I can get through the whole story at once.
I know this post is crazy long but what would you add (or delete) from my lists?