21 July 2009

Weekly Geeks: Best Movie Adaptations

Weekly Geeks

With the release of Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince this past week, I thought it would be good to turn once again to movie adaptations. In March, with the release of Watchmen (using that as a jumping off point for discussion), I brought up the subject of worst movie adaptations. This time, I'd like to bring up best movie adaptations (not saying if the recent Harry Potter movie is or isn't faithful to the book since I'll be honest I haven't read the book, but using the subject as a jumping off point for discussion).

So what are some of your favorite movie adaptations of books? Include trailers or scenes from Youtube if you'd like.

Also along with that question, or instead of that question, what book or series would you like to see be made into a movie or movies? Tell us why you think it or they would work as a movie. If the book already has a book trailer, include that, to help make your point.

Aside from the glaringly obvious (i.e. the Lord of the Rings trilogy, and the six-part Pride and Prejudice if you’re counting television) the first book and film that sprang to mind was The Remains of the Day. I loved the movie, and when I read the book I had the film running in my head. The whole tone of the film is perfect and Anthony Hopkins is just fabulous as Stevens.

Back down this end of the world, Picnic at Hanging Rock took the best qualities of the book and turned them into a local cinematic classic. Proof that in the right hands even a sun-scorched Australian summer can produce an eerie Gothic atmosphere.

And for sheer ingenuity I have to mention Seabiscuit, which turned non-fiction into a terrific story. (The question didn’t specify novels!)

I’m going to pass on choosing a book to be adapted, because the movie is so rarely as good as the book. Hearing that a much-loved book is going to be dramatised leaves me feeling more concerned than excited; I tend to wonder what will be altered or left out, or what piece of woeful miscasting will be perpetrated. Perhaps the best book to be translated to the screen would be one I haven’t read!


Anonymous said...

I haven't read Stardust but loved the film. It's proper family entertainment in the vein of The Princess Bride.

Anonymous said...

Out of the three, the one I hadn't heard of was Picnic at Hanging Rock. Nice that you didn't go with Lord of the Rings: it seems like everyone (including myself) went with that one.

Oh, and you're right, I didn't specify novels. Seabiscuit definitely should be included. :)

teabird said...

Remains of the Day was probably the most perfect adaptation ever, although Room With a View came close.

As for books I'd like to see: the Maisie Dobbs series of mysteries!

Laura's Reviews said...

I thought the 1995 Sense and Sensibility was an excellent adaptation. The House of Mirth (2000) also did a fantastic job. The Anne of Green Gables series in the 1980's was also great. I'm sure I could think of many more, but that's what I first thought of off the top of my head!

Cam said...

I've been meaning to read and watch Remains of the Day. I always have that trouble of which to do first: read or watch. It's like I don't want one to spoil the other. =)

bookwormans said...

"The Remains of the Day" is great, both book and film. Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson are wonderful!!

Anonymous said...

Normally I prefer the book to the film, with few exceptions, but one such exception would be the Emma Thompson version of Sense and Sensibility, always felt that it brought the book to a more vivid immaginative life for me. Also liked the film adaptation of V for Vendetta.

CoversGirl said...

Damnedconjuror: I loved Stardust too - book and film.

Justareadingfool: That was precisely why I didn't go with LotR!

Teabird: How could I have forgotten A Room with a View?

Laura: Sense and Sensibility was fabulous; but I haven't seen the others.

Cam: I prefer movie first, book second, since I get more attached to books than to movies.

Bookwormans: That was one book I really hated having to give back to the library!

Book pusher: I haven't seen V for Vendetta; looked a little dystopian for my taste.

Lesley said...

Picnic at Hanging Rock was SUCH a creepy movie; I didn't even know it was a book.

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