Saturday 5 May 2012

Discussion: Book to Film Adaptations

In honor of the recently released 'The Hunger Games' film, it got me thinking about book to film adaptations. Which ones are really good, which ones are...not so good. I like nothing more than to enjoy a movie once I've read the books. I've always felt like they are an extension of the book themselves. Another part of the story. Something more to enjoy. I've never been so stuck on them needing to be exactly like the book either. Some things are easier to create in your mind and not on film.

I want to show you a few book to film adaptations that I've personally enjoyed as well as some I didn't.

North and  South by Elizabeth Gaskell 

Holy hotness Mr. Thornton. He kicks Mr. Darcy's butt any day in my book. The film is a mini series. I love a good mini series. You can spend the time to get all the good stuff in. The casting is more perfect than any movie I've ever seen. Everything is as I pictured. LOVE! If you've not read or seen the mini series, please do! You won't be disappointed!

Harry Potter by JK Rowling

Best. Series. Ever. Period. The imagination that is evoked in the books is something short of a miracle. There are so many details that make this fantasy amazing! Although much had to be left out of each film, it is seamless. Minute details are shown and the amount of money spent of the films to get it right is astronomical. What a great book to film adaptation! Bravo! Now, we can all enjoy a box set of both the books and movies! Hallelujah!

Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

Book was amazing! A Cinderella re-telling better than I've ever read. One of my favorite books of all time. The film, starring Anne Hathaway, a flop. It was so weird. I can't even describe it. It was just... wrong. Almost felt like a farce! Even author Gail Carson Levine has said it isn't at all like the book and not to compare the two. Not a very good book to film adaptation.

Confessions of a Shopaholic by Sophie Kinsella

I LOVED the books! OMG! This was my first taste of chic-lit and nobody does it like Kinsella! I was laughing so hard at parts that people were looking at me. It is such a relate-able book. Makes me want to re-read it just talking about it! Although I loved the film, it wasn't a very good adaptation. There were so many changes that the story line actually changed. They added elements that made the main character look stupid and the focus on the film wasn't even anything in the books. As a stand alone movie, it was great. But, I'd read the books and I was expecting it to stay somewhat truer to the original storyline.

So, what are your favorite Book to Film Adaptations? The Worst? Let's discuss Books and Movies!


  1. The latest book and then film adaptation I saw was The Secret Life of Bees, both of which I loved. The film wasn't exactly like the book, but I think it tried to stay true to it. Usually I'll avoid watching a book adaptation, unless its a period piece because it leaves me feeling disappointed. That said, there are times when I've watched a movie and then realised it was a book. Bizarrely I'm less disappointed if they're different, this way round.

  2. Great idea for an article!

    I'm just going through one of my bookshelves and I can tell you some other great film adaptations:

    We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

    Let the Right One In (2008)

    The Godfather (1972)

    Catch Me If You Can (2002)

    A Clockwork Orange (1971)

    The Postman Always Rings Twice (1981)

    Papillon (1973)

    Deliverance (1972)

    The Pledge (2001)

    American Psycho (2000)

    Lord of the Flies (1963)

    Zodiac (2007)

  3. Oh I love this post! Film adaptations are such tough things. People often love/hate a film based on how true it is to the book. I look at it slightly differently, because film is so very different than books - you can't treat a film and a novel the same way. I think if the movie is true to the intent of the book, it's doing well.

    My faves are (in no particular order):
    -The Devil Wears Prada (even though it's a departure from the book. Love it.)

    -P&P - the Keira Knightly version

    -LOTR - all three movies. Fantastic.

    -Hunger Games. The movie was so well done!

    -Jurassic Park. The first movie only. Still scares the crap outta me.

    -Angels and Demons.

    I know there are a ton more...

  4. Oh my gosh, Ella Enchanted! That film adaptation was potentially one of the personally insulting things that has ever happened to me. They should have just called the movie something else, there were essentially no parts of the original book remaining anyways.

    I haven't read Confessions of a Shopaholic (though I have seen it). Have you read Sophie Kinsella's Undomestic Goddess? A film company I used to work for was thinking about purchasing the rights so I picked it up... Sexy and hilarious! I'm so glad that I read it.

  5. Great post! I LOVED North & South. It was so well done and I loved the books too. Most of my favorite book to movie's have been Austen's, such as Pride and Prejudice, Emma, and Sense and Sensibility. It seems like the more modern ones take a bunch of liberties or skip the story to play up the action and such instead of really creating that good solid base, background, and character a book has and the older movies or older books turned to movies has. Just my opinion. ;)

  6. I haven't seen the Shopaholic movie....Is it new?

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts about these books-to-movies!

    Here's my Top Ten Best Movie Adaptations.

  7. Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter movies were incredibly well made! Hunger Games was also a super adaptation. I hope to add City of Bones on the "Best Movie Adaptation" list.


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