Occasionally I read a book and think to myself, “This would be amazing on the big screen.” Fortunately, Hollywood often has the same ideas I do (great minds think alike, I guess). Today I’m going to share a few books that have been turned into movies that I absolutely adored. Not all of them are recent movies (or books), but they are definitely worth a read (and a rental!)
Peter Straub’s 1979 classic Ghost Story is an amazing horror story. Often, these don’t translate well to the big screen (for example, I have rarely been satisfied with an adaptation of a Stephen King novel). John Irvin, however, did an outstanding job with his 1981 film starring Fred Astaire and Douglas Fairbanks. Jr. The screenplay was fairly faithful to the original novel (taking into consideration the necessary changes to adapt a book to screen), and evoked the dread that comes across so uncomfortably in print. Even now, thirty years alter, I’m still up for watching this movie any chance I get. And we own at least two editions of the book!
The next one is an obvious choice. Peter Jackson took more than a few liberties with J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy, and it worked well for him. Did I miss things in each movie? Yes, absolutely! The changes worked for the movies, though, and I’m guessing (or maybe hoping) that interest in the movies compelled more than a few people to pick up the books and read them. Having a director that so clearly admires the author and his works always helps. Great care was taken to stay true to the spirit of the books, if not the letter.
I’ve tried many times to decide whether I enjoy the BBC’s version of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice or the newer version starring Keira Knightley. I can’t choose, so I watch them both regularly. Both adaptations are extremely faithful to the beloved characters and familiar stories; it helps that Austen wrote such timeless material that translates so well to the big screen. And okay, I’ll admit it….Colin Firth is easy on the eyes!
There are so many more books that have been turned into movies that are excellent – the whole Harry Potter series, Clueless (based on Jane Austen’s Emma ), The Name of the Rose (based on Umberto Eco’s novel of the same name), and the big screen version of Dennis Lehane’s Gone, Baby, Gone, to name a few. I’ve also heard great things about The Help and Water for Elephants, both books I loved. And I’m really looking forward to World War Z (I discussed my love for the book recently on this blog).
What about you? Which movie adaptations of books do you love? Are there any you were disappointed with? I’d love to hear your thoughts!! Leave a comment here to start a discussion!