Armchair BEA: Book to movie adaptations

Ah guys, I’m sad this is our last day of Armchair BEA. I’ve head so much fun this year, and will definitely be joining in with next year’s event. I’ll also be in Twitter for our last Twitter party, which I’m so glad I’ve taken part in, because I’ve got to know so many of you wonderful fellow bloggers! Hope to see as many of you there as possible tonight! But anyway, onto today’s topic. This is probably my favourite topic of the week, book to movie adaptations. Like a lot of people, I have kind of a love/hate relationship with book to movie adaptations. When they get them right, they can be brilliant, and I’m so glad they made a movie out of one of my favourite books, because the movie is so good. However when they get it wrong, it can be a complete and total disaster and you wish that filmmakers had never touched your favourite book. I’m going to split today’s post into three, book to movie adaptations that I think have been done well, book to movie adaptations that I think have been a total train wreck, and future book to movie adaptations that I would like to see.

So first off we have the book to movie adaptations that I think have been done well. For me to like a movie that has been adapted from one of my favourite books, it doesn’t necessarily have to be completely faithful to the storyline. Yes of course, I want the movie I see to be as close to the book I read as humanly possible, but I understand that movies have to work within time constraints, and every single solitary detail that is included in the book cannot be included in the film. For me, I need the movie to capture the feel of the book, and that is the most important thing, I want the movie to capture as much as possible the essence of the book, and you know, it would be great if the movie I see is at least recognisable as the book I read. I mean I understand they need to cut some things, but I don’t want to see a film that is almost unrecognisable from the book it came from, like I said, the film needs to capture the essence of the book. These are some of my favourite book to movie adaptations but there are of course a lot more that I like than just these five!:

1. The Harry Potter Franchise Yes, there are a few problems with the Harry Potter movies, but overall, they are generally faithful to Rowling’s original novels, the feel of the films is generally the same as the feel of the books, and for the most part the casting is pretty spot on (I would like to mention Maggie Smith as Prfessor McGonagall, because casting her was a stroke of genius! She’d played McGonagall exactly how I pictured her, and Emma Watson as Hermione Granger as well, she was the perfect Hermione). So overall, whilst maybe some of the later films could be a little more faithful, I think on the whole the Harry Potter films are good adaptations of the books.

2. The Hunger Games Franchise Again there may be some problems with whitewashing the members of the Seam in District 12 who are described in the books as more olive coloured in the books, but I think The Hunger Games movies are pretty good adaptations of the books. All of the films are recognisable as being based on their respective book which is good. Plus, I love Jennifer Lawrence as Katniss, I think she plays her really well, exactly how I pictured her being. Plot wise, they are relatively faithful, and the cast is pretty good, and they capture the feel of the books well, so overall, for me, they are pretty good adaptations.

3. Gone Girl This film is the best book to film adaptation I have ever seen, and I am not afraid to say that. The plot of the film is exactly the same as the plot of the book, even down to the ending which I really didn’t like and was hoping would be changed for the film but what can you do? Rosamund Pike is brilliant as Amy, she really captures her character so amazingly well on screen, and I can’t imagine anyone else in that part. Ben Affleck was also brilliant as Nick. In fact the cast in general was great, and the film was just as dark and twisted and brilliant as the book. You know how I said I like it when then I’m captures the essence of the book? This film did that. Gillian Flynn wrote the screenplay, and this goes back to what I’ve been saying for years, the film will work much better if the author is involved! Clearly it paid off this time.

4. The Maze Runner-The film was generally faithful to the plot of the book, and whilst there were few things from the book I wish had been included, overall I was satisfied. The Maze Runner is one of the books that when you read it feels like it would work really well on screen, and again I. Think the film did a good job at capturing the essence of the book. The casting on the whole was great (particularly Thomas Brodie-Sangster as Newt, Newt in the film is the best!) although I was a little disappointed in Minho, he wasn’t quite as sarky as in the book, but hopefully that will change in the next film, and on the whole The Maze Runner film was an enjoyable adaptation.

5. The Book Thief-I was really worried about how the book was going to come across on screen, as I didn’t think the filmmakers would be able to capture the beauty of the book, but I was wrong, the film really did capture the essence of the book, down to the fact that they used Death as the narrator, just like in the book which I was really pleased about. The cast was well chosen too, and the film was generally faithful to the book, so overall it was a very pleasing adaptation.

Bonus: I just want to add here one of my favourite TV adaptations, the Heartland series, adapted from the Heartland books. Whilst the TV series is a very loose adaptation, and basically stopped following the books a while ago, I love it, actually more than the books, because the problem horses are dealt with more realistically, the characters are more three-dimensional, and the series overall is a little bit more mature than the books, whilst retaining the great family feel. I think it’s better to look at the TV show and the books as two separate entities, different but both good in their own right.

Now onto the films that got it wrong, the films that in my eyes at least, were not very good adaptations of their source material. Either they didn’t capture the feel of the book well enough, or they changed too much, so that the film was barely recognisable from the book. Here are five of my least favourite book to film adaptations:

1. Percy Jackson and The Sea of Monsters-Surprisingly, I’m not including The Lightning Thief in this, because whilst it was totally different from the book, I actually enjoyed it. However The Sea of Monsters got it completely wrong, the only thing this film got right was the fact that Annabeth finally had blonde hair! The plot was completely off from the book, so much so that it was almost laughable, and it was basically unrecognisable from the book. The filmmakers were far too liberal with the plot, and whilst The Sea of Monsters was my least favourite Percy Jackson (I still liked it, just not as much as the others), I would have liked the film a hell of a lot more if it had actually resembled the book it was adapted from.

2. Insurgent-The second film in the Divergent movie franchise was enjoyable, don’t get me wrong, but it was completely off from the book it was adapted from, they changed the storyline completely, so that most of the film was made up of stuff that never happened in the book, and I felt like it had barely any material from the book in it, added to that it missed out a plot line that I felt was important to the book. It was a fun film, but not a very good adaptation.

3. My Sister’s Keeper-I’m sorry but the fact that the film changed the ending from the book is a cardinal sin in my opinion. The ending was so important to the book, and I was so angry that they changed it. The cast was pretty good, but there were far too many changes from the book and it felt like the filmmakers just kept the bare bones of the story. I actually did enjoy the film, but I don’t think it’s a very good adaptation of Jodi Picoult’s wonderful book.

4. One Day-For the sake of full disclosure, I actually wasn’t too keen on David Nicholls’ novel One Day, I found it kind of boring and never really connected to the story or the characters. However, the film version was a thousand times worse. Anne Hathaway was definitely not the right choice to play Emma, her English accent was all over the place, she was supposed to be from Yorkshire but her accent switched between Yorkshire, Scottish, American. Not good! Plus as with the book, I found the movie kind of montonous.

5. A Series of Unfortunate Events-This is what happens when you try to squish three books into one film, you end getting a completely mish-mash of a film, that is in no way as good as it’s source material. I loved the books when I was younger, but the movie, whilst okay, kind of enjoyable, is not a good adaptation at all. It crams too many books into one film, which leaves the film feeling kind of jerky and disjointed, and means that the film ultimately doesn’t really follow any of the books. I also found that the tone of the film was wrong, whilst the books have a very dark and mysterious tone, the film does not have the right tone, it seems almost lighthearted and comedic at certain points. I don’t think Jim Carrey was the right choice to play Olaf either, again he is far too comedic and whilst Olaf is eccentric, you should be scared of him, and Jim Carrey’s Olaf is not scary.

Right we’re now onto our last section of this long post! This is the books I would like to see turned into movies. Some of them have been picked up by production companies, so who knows, we may see some of these hitting our screens in a couple of years. I have again picked five of these but there are a lot more I’d like to see (I’ll save those for the upcoming Top Ten Tuesday topic on this though and stick to just five for now!):

1. Unwind-Those of you who have been following this blog for a while will know that I’m absolutely obsessed with this series and I think Unwind would make a brilliant movie, the creepy story would defintiely translate well on screen I think, but only if it is done by the right people. This is one o those where if it was done wrong, it could be really horrific, but if it was done right, could be a stunning movie. It has actually been picked up, so here’s hoping we get to see Unwind hit our screens soon.

2. Throne of Glass-I think this world would be perfect for cinema. I feel like Sarah J Maas writing has a kind of cinematic quality to it anyway, and I feel like the books would come across fantastically well on screen, plus who doesn’t love a good fantasy film? I’d love to see a film version of this, if one was ever released.

3. The Raven Boys-Again, I feel like Maggie Stiefvater’s writing has a kind of cinematic quality to it as well as, and I could just see this being an amazing film, with the right cast. It’s a lovely book, and I would love to see the characters and the world come to life on screen. The film has been picked up by a production company, so again hopefully we get to see this soon!

4. Skulduggery Pleasant-This would make such a great movie! I would love to see Skulduggery and that whole world come to life on screen, but the screenplay has to be written by Derek Landy, because no one else can get the humour right, and to be honest, I don’t think anyone else could get the right feel for the book. Derek Landy obviously feels the same way, as a Skulduggery movie adaptation was in the works a few years ago, but he didn’t like the script and won’t release a Skulduggery movie unless the script was written by him. Go Derek! Here’s hoping he writes one and the film gets released because I feel like the world needs a Skulduggery movie.

5. Dangerous Girls-If you haven’t already checked out this book by Abigail Haas, then you should, because it’s awesome. It’s kind of like a YA version of Gone Girl, and I feel like the story and the twisted characters, not to mention the crazy ass ending would translate very well on screen.

So there you have it, my favourite, least favourite and hope to be made book to movie adaptations. Do you agree with my favourite/least favourites? Why? Why not? What are some of your favourite/least favourite book to movie adaptations? Would you like to see any of the books that I listed turned into movies? What book to movie adaptations would you like to see? What do you think makes a good book to movie adaptation? What do you think makes a bad adaptation? Let me know, I’d love to hear from you. As it’s the last Armchair BEA post today (aside from the closing survey on Monday), I would just like to thank all of you for being so great over the last couple of days, for all your lovely comments on my posts and the great discussions we have had on Twitter. You guys are such a welcoming group, and you’ve made this relatively new blogger feel like part of the community, so thank you! I will be around for the Twitter party tonight, and I will also be posting another Sidekick Showcase Saturday post pretty soon, so look out for that!

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8 thoughts on “Armchair BEA: Book to movie adaptations

  1. Julie S. May 30, 2015 / 7:44 pm

    I liked The Maze Runner better as a movie than a book lol. Gone Girl was just a terrible story so I haven’t wanted to see the movie heh.

    • iloveheartlandx May 30, 2015 / 7:54 pm

      I’m inclined to agree, if only because I hated all the glader slang used at the beginning of the book. I mean I like Gone Girl, so obviously I liked the movie, but if you didn’t then no you wouldn’t like the movie.

    • SERIESous Book Reviews May 30, 2015 / 11:34 pm

      I completely agree about the Maze Runner. The book was so boring and the whole time I was reading it I was thinking “this would make a great movie!” and I thought it was great. Even though I knew what was going to happen, I still had chills when I watched the movie. I’m so stoked for The Scorch Trials–definitely the best book of the series!

      I agree with your best list though I haven’t read Gone Girl or Harry Potter (I know, I know). But the Gone Girl movie was amazing so I can only imagine what the book was like.

      I slightly disagree about Insurgent. It’s been a really long time since I read the book so I don’t remember the finer details but I still felt like it stayed true to the message of the book. Though I was very upset that they changed the ending slightly because that was such a fantastic twist in the book. I was severely disappointed in Allegiant, so I think I like the direction they are going with for its movies–though I’m not entirely sure what that direction may be haha

      • iloveheartlandx May 31, 2015 / 8:43 am

        I found it a little slow, until it got up to the last part, and I think it’s just one of those books that works better on screen. I thought it was a fabulous movie, and yes definitely gave me the chills! I am excited for the Scorch Trials-so glad you think it’s the best book of the series too, I gave it to my friend and she found it boring, but from the trailer it looks like they have changed quite a bit from the book, which I’m fine with as long as it still remains true to the feel of the book, plus I’m hoping that Minho will be more like he was in the book in the next movie. I think it had been quite recently that I had read Insurgent when I went to see the film, so it was still in my head, and it wasn’t that I didn’t enjoy the movie Insurgent, I actually did, I just don’t think it’s the best adaptation of the book, I think it’s better to view the book and the movie as kind of two different things because they were very different. Yes, I really enjoyed the ending of Insurgent and wish they had kept it as it was. I haven’t read Allegiant yet, so I don’t know about that. The Gone Girl book was good, although I actually liked the movie better, probably because it took me a while to actually get into the book. And you haven’t read Harry Potter yet? You should!

      • SERIESous Book Reviews May 31, 2015 / 3:55 pm

        With Maze Runner, I feel like the changes that they made for the movie were the right ones so I’m looking forward to seeing how they change things up a bit for the Scorch Trials. As long as they capture the main feels of the book, I’ll be happy. And I agree, I hope they focus more on Minho and the rest of the boys because they were some of my favourite characters in the books (wasn’t the biggest Thomas fan but I liked him a lot more in the movie–and not just because I have a MASSIVE crush on Dylan O’Brien :P)

        You’re completely right with the Insurgent movie vs book. At this point they are two different things. I would say that the movie is more inspired by the books than it is a true adaptation. And like you said, I really enjoyed it even if it wasn’t exactly like the book.

        As for Harry Potter, I have no desire to read the books. I tried to read the first three but I never got into them. Straight magic books (like witches/wizards) aren’t my thing. I also found them to be painfully slow at the start so they never grabbed my attention. I watched all the movies though (at least I think I have) and enjoyed them but I won’t be reading the books anytime soon…

      • iloveheartlandx May 31, 2015 / 4:10 pm

        I think so too, to be honest I barely noticed the changes, there was only one thing that happened in the book that I wish had been included in the same way in the film because I thimk the way that the film changed that particular event gave it less of an emotional impact (it was the bit in the book where Alby sacrificed himself so the rest of the Gladers could get through the portal thing, in the film he’s just carried off by a griever, and like I said less emotional impact there!) but overall I was pleased with the movie and thought they did it really well. Yes I love Minho and Newt, so lots of focus on them would be much appreciated! I felt the same way actually, wasn’t the biggest Thomas fan in the books but liked him more in the movie.
        Yeah Insurgent movie is definitely more inspired by the books, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it was a good movie even if it wasn’t a direct adaptation. Fair enough, they’re not for everyone. Glad you enjoyed the movies at least. I grew up with the Harry Potter books, hence why I love them so much.

      • SERIESous Book Reviews May 31, 2015 / 4:17 pm

        Oh yeah, my friends loved Harry Potter so I just live vicariously through them πŸ˜›

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