Books Into Movies

Everyone has seen a movie adaptation of a book at some point or another. You may not have even realized it is an adaptation sometimes. Often the movie is made of a popular novel but sometimes, the movie comes around and it’s only later we realize it was once a book.

For my part, I enjoy reading a novel and wondering what it would look like. Of course, like any other reader, I visualize in my mind’s eye what’s happening as I read the words on the page. I don’t always picture specific features and often I’m bored by long, sweeping descriptions of settings and architecture. But to see those things brought to life on the big screen can be impressive and stunning.

I’m sitting here watching the most recent film adaptation of “Jane Eyre.” It is one of my favorite novels and a classic romance. It is a very fine imagining of the story and I quite enjoy the visuals they’ve come up with in this one.

Of course, the classics are made and remade over and over again. How many adaptations of “Pride and Prejudice” or “Alice In Wonderland” are there? Then again, some are done once and considered unmatched, never to be attempted again. Or at least, not until the next generation of filmmakers comes along. I think it must be a difficult thing to adapt a book to film. Books often cover such long spans of time or have such complex plot points, it would be hard to compress it into a two hour slot, even three. It continues to be attempted though and we, the viewing public are glad for it. 🙂 Well, most of the time, anyway. Maybe not all bibliophiles want to see their favourite books make it to the big screen.

It does seem that there are more and more movies being made from books these days than ever before. Or maybe it’s just that we see more advertising about them. All these so-called blockbusters: “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter,” “The Hunger Games,” and “The Hobbit,” to name a few. I’ve just come across this article, listing some of the upcoming adaptations. I’ve read a few of those books and am looking forward to the movie versions. What about you? Are any of them ones you’ve been wanting to see?

This has got me thinking about all the movie adaptations I’ve seen over the years and whether or not they were worth it to me. Of course, I haven’t read the books for a lot of movie adaptations I’ve seen, like “The Help”. I recommend that one, by the way. Loved the movie and I’m looking forward to reading the book.

One of my all-time favorites is “The Princess Bride.” I remember seeing that movie when I was younger and watching it many times throughout the years. I didn’t read the book until I was sixteen years old, I think. That was a pretty close adaptation of the book, in my opinion. I also quite enjoyed the film version of “Emma,” with Gwyneth Paltrow as the title character. It’s been some time since I read that book though so I couldn’t say for sure how good an adaptation it was. I know I’ve mentioned before how much I loved the BBC miniseries “Pride and Prejudice.” Still a favorite. I also recently fell in love with both the book and BBC adaptation for “North and South” by Elizabeth Gaskell. Such a wonderful love story and the miniseries, even though it cut a few things out in the interest of time, no doubt, is quite good.

Hmm. Seems I favor the classics, don’t I? Not always. I also really loved “The Lord of the Rings,” and I’m looking forward to “The Hobbit.” I enjoyed “To Kill a Mockingbird” when I was younger, both versions, but I haven’t read that in quite some time. “Jurassic Park” was a lot of fun, as was “Bridget Jones’ Diary.” The Harry Potter series was good but that was a tough series to put into film, I bet. Still, they did a decent job, in my opinion. My favorite of that series, book and movie, was “The Prisoner of Azkaban.”

I remember watching “L.A. Confidential” and then reading the book a few years later. The book I didn’t like at all. The movie, I loved. That doesn’t happen a lot. More often than not, people hate the movie but love the book. Then I sometimes read a book, see the movie and find I didn’t really like either of them. Like “Revolutionary Road,” and “Never Let Me Go.” Not among my favorites, that’s for sure.

Wow, I’m realizing I could go on and on about all the book-to-movie adaptations there are. I’m watching “Field of Dreams” now, though I’ve never read this book. There’s so many, too many to list in one place. I guess I just wanted to talk about turning books into movies, plays or cartoons. Everyone has their favorites, and not-so-favorites. I’ve told you some of mine. What are yours?

As always, take care and happy reading.



Filed under Book Reviews, Movie Reviews

4 responses to “Books Into Movies

  1. Mounds

    I just saw The Hunger Games last night, and even though I started to read the novel – which I hated! – I loved the movie!

    I am now going to try to reread the books, and hopefully this will satisfy my urge to pester my movie date when we take in the next installment! “What’s happening?!?! Is he gonna die?!? Did this happen in the book?!?!? Can I have some of your Nibs?!?!?!”


  2. I have read the book that Field of Dreams comes from and in my opinion the movie is better than the book.

    I think that one of my favorite book-to-film adaptations is The Three Musketeers starring Gene Kelly and Lana Turner. I have a love affair with the classics too.

  3. Lady Falcon

    The ones I’m looking forward to from the article you linked…”Fahrenheit 451″ (I loved that book-had to read it for English class in my Junior year of high school and devoured it) and “A Wrinkle in Time” (as stated recently on Eve’s latest blog Madeline L’Engle’s books are some of my favorite from my youth.

    I am really looking forward to seeing “John Carter” because I loved the Edgar Rice Burroughs Martian series. My favorite adaptation that I think has been Tom Clancy’s “The Hunt for Red October”. I read the book my Senior year of high school at my mom’s request and then proceeded to read all the Jack Ryan books in order of publication. Then I get to college and the Student Union is showing the movie. I thought the movie was really well done the actors well chosen. I was not as happy with the later movies.

    I am really bad about pre-judging movies from books I’ve read…I tend to go into the movies expecting to not be happy even though I know its near impossible to adapt some things in books into film. I think that might be why I’ve never read the Harry Potter books. I’m scared of how my opinion on the movie might change. That is no real excuse, I know. 🙂

  4. Nic

    Well, I think it all depends on the screenwriting and the casting. If you get either wrong, it’s a disaster. Da Vinci Code is a classic example. Excellent casting, but they messed up with the screenwriting. The book is terrific, but if you didn’t read the book, you wouldn’t have had much luck following the story.

    If it’s done right, reading the book afterwards just enhances and fills out the movie. Or it does for me, anyway. Harry Potter is a good example. The movies were good, but you can’t fit all of the book into 2 to 2 and a half hours. But if you get it right, reading the book afterwards doesn’t spoil the movie, nor does the movie spoil the book.

    Another thing I like is the special effects in a movie. I have a pretty vivid imagination, but sometimes it’s just difficult to imagine the things described in a book. I’d never have been able to come up with some of the stuff in the Matrix. Same thing with Harry Potter and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy. And with 3D movies, it just got better. Not to mention trying to subconsciously jerking back, trying to avoid the things that look like they’re coming out of the screen, lol.

    If i know a movie is being made about a book I haven’t read, I wait till after I’ve seen it, to read the book. Or I’ll sit through the entire movie going Ok, where’s that; that wasn’t in the book; they changed that; etc. Drives me crazy.

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