Friday, February 19, 2010

Thing's I've Noticed: Bad Movie Adaptations get all the press

Earlier this week when I reviewed The Wolfman and Percy Jackson movies, I was met with responses from friends and family telling me how much the Percy Jackson film didn't match up with its sources materials. This is the tricky part of watching the film version of the books I love. One of the reasons I really liked The Book of Eli back in January was the fact that the movie was an original screenplay.

The comments and responses about my post got me thinking - what are my favourite movies adapted from books? I've got a huge list of movies where things didn't work out but how about the good - no the great ones?

So here you go, my top three favourite films based on books (in alphabetical order)

Coraline, based on the novel by Neil Gaiman
The idea of this movie was tricky for me, as I had loved both the novel and the audiobook adaptation (Stephen Merritt sings the rat songs - very cool). The concept of it being in 3D had me wondering what if the film was just going for flash or if it would respect the source material. My biggest fear was the introduction of Wybie, a character who had not existed in the novel. Thankfully, when I saw the film, my hopes were fulfilled and I can honestly say that it is one of my favourite kids genre movies of the last decade.

The Lord of the Rings, based on the novels by J.R.R. Tolkein
Looking back, these incredibly ambitious films were simply awe-inspiring. Yes, they had flaws but considering the idea that no one thought these movies could exist in a live action format (The 1978 animated version was pretty good, even though it only goes halfway through the story) they were simply amazing. As the anticipation for the movies built however, there was a lot of negative press going along the lines of "How dare Peter Jackson try to ruin my precious series!?!" It's funny, because afterwards, the films (and I am definitely talking about the extended editions here) have become some of my favourites and have paved the way for many more fantasy books to come to film - for good or bad.

The Witches, based on the novel by Roald Dahl
This book creeped me out. It was, simply put, one of my earliest written examples of a horror novel I can remember being affected by, and so, when I heard a movie was coming out, I actually thought that there would be no way it could match up with my memory of the novel from Elementary school. Wow, was I wrong - this movie is incredible - the effects are Henson-riffic, the portrayal of the witches (especially the early flashback) are just this side of terrifying, and I've just got to say it - this is one of my favourite horror movies for kids.

There you go - a trio of awesome movie adaptions, in my opinion. Let me know if I've missed any great ones, or if you disagree.

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