17 Aug From Bestsellers to Blockbusters: 5 Adaptations of Books to Enjoy
BY ALLANA LUTA
Gone Girl. Mockingjay. The Maze Runner. If I Stay. The Hobbit.
What do these books have in common? They have all been adapted into films and will most likely be the next Hollywood blockbusters in the coming months. I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited to watch ALL the films! And I don’t think I’m the only one. (Have you seen KB’s almost frame-by-frame review of the “50 Shades” trailer yet? You should.)
Book adaptations have been around for as long as I can remember. And with the success of the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movies, among others, and recently with The Fault in Our Stars, I doubt they are going away any time soon.
So while waiting not-so-patiently for these movies to arrive, here are some of my favorite films based on books. Bear in mind that these may not be award-winning pictures but hey, somehow they stuck.
1. Pride and Prejudice (2005)
It is a truth universally acknowledged that Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice is one of the best novels written in the history of ever. But my 14-year-old self hadn’t even read the book when the movie came out and I still fell in love with the film. The cinematography, the script, the music—everything seemed perfect. Later I found out it wasn’t actually all that faithful. Did that stop me from loving the film? Not really. And besides, if I wanted an adaption so completely on point it hurts, there’s always the 1995 BBC serial to quench my thirst. (Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, anyone?)
2. Interview with the Vampire (1994)
How can one follow up a stunningly beautiful and earnest adaptation like Pride and Prejudice with a campy vampire film that Brad Pitt himself kind of hates? You just do. Anne Rice’s vampire novels were a big part of my adolescence so when I found out there were movie versions, I rushed to our local movie store and rented a VCD copy. Surprisingly, Interview with the Vampire did not disappoint. With Tom Cruise swaggering around as Lestat, Pitt before meeting Joe Black as Louis and young Kirsten Dunst as creepy Claudia, I had nothing to complain about.
3. Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac (2010)
Like Pride and Prejudice, I saw the movie before reading the book. Unlike Pride and Prejudice, however, the book did not hold up to my expectations. This is one of those rare occasions where the film is better than the novel it is based on. The setting had been changed to Japan, with its unique culture and kawaii actors, rendering me defenseless. I fell hard for the movie, but not so much for the book.
4. Where the Wild Things Are (2009)
Maurice Sendak’s picture book only had 336 words and relied on the illustrations to enrich the story, which really is just about a kid using his imagination to get over an argument with his mom. Spike Jonze managed to stretch it into a 104-minute long feature complete with fantasy, drama, and a lot of wild rumpus.
5. Game of Thrones (2011-)
Not a film, obviously, but I could not not include the TV adaptation of G.R.R. Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire on this list. The HBO series has become a completely separate entity now, with the fourth season having more deviations than a statistics class. And that’s the beauty of it. I love the books but I have also come to love the series on its own. In fact, I’ve gotten a better appreciation for some characters once they were translated to the small screen (Jack Gleeson’s portrayal of Joffrey, though). Who else is excited for more heartbreak that can only come from the death of a beloved fictional character? There, there.
If you want to read more, check out “Total Film’s 50 Greatest Movie Adaptations.” They’ve got 10 times more films (that also have better production) on their list than mine. Also, I’d love to know, what are your favorite book adaptations? ☁