There are tons and tons of movies based on books. Actually, a good percentage of the time, you will find that a movie was at least inspired by a book, if not completely based on it. Once a book becomes popular, it’s likely that it will turn into a movie. It’s practically inevitable. Sometimes they’re really well done, other times they’re just plain garbage. In this post, I’m going to explore some of my favourites, and some of the ones that I wish didn’t exist at all.
1) LOTR & The Hobbit: These books, and their movies, are some of the best that I have seen. I remember seeing The Fellowship of the Ring after reading the book a few times at quite a young age. It felt like Peter Jackson had peered into my brain and recreated exactly what I had pictured while reading. The LOTR trilogy (books and movies) were magnificent. The Hobbit follows the book less than the other Tolkien-based movies, but they still encompass that tone, style, and feeling that I felt they should.
2) Harry Potter: All of these books were absolutely amazing. They’re books that I will continue to read for my whole life, and that I will encourage everyone I know to read. The movies are just as brilliant. The captured the magic and imagery and sentiment so well, and it was a bonus that they had (almost) all the same actors for the entire series. These followed the books very well and also recreated the depth and feel of the books without any trouble.
3) GOT: True, this is a show, not a movie, but they really captured the irony, political drama, and emotion of the books so well. I watched the first season of the show before reading the books, only because I didn’t realize that there actually were books until later on and I was pleasantly surprised at how well the show followed the story. The only thing that bothers me is that it took so long for G.R.R.M. to be recognized and for his work to receive its due.
4) Pillars of the Earth: This was an excellent book and an excellent mini-series. They could have made the show longer, but I felt that they kept enough of the story to make the points understand and to include all of the best aspects of the book.
5) The Hunger Games: These were books that I had a really hard time putting down up until the last one. I was less interested in some of the repetitiveness of the story, however, it had such dark undertones that I had to keep reading. The last movie hasn’t been made yet, but I was quite pleased with the first two. Teen fiction isn’t usually my piece of cake, but these had so much intelligence and intrigue hidden deep inside that I was drawn to them.
Others include Of Mice and Men, Jane Eyre, Pride and Prejudice, The Reader, and The Green Mile.
There are also quite a few movies based on books that I have not enjoyed. Actually, now that I think of it, there are more that didn’t turn out quite as well as their originals. Under the Dome, Queen of the Damned, and even The Book Thief were lacking in their box office counterparts, although I loved the books. Let’s not forget World War Z or The Other Boelyn Girl, either.
Still, there are a number of stories that I would love to see on screen, and done well. These include Children of Hurin, the other two books in the His Dark Materials trilogy, and The Crystal Cave series.
On the other hand, there are many movies and shows that I wish would be turned into books. I’d love to read a series on The Borgias, Rome, Vikings, Boardwalk Empire, Lost, or countless others.
I suppose the main difference between books and movies is that while a book can contain so many subtle descriptions, it is much harder to simply show someone. Words can hint, create, destroy, and holler while being completely silent and private. Movies and shows cannot.
What are the best book to movie recreations that you have seen? What have been the worst? What would you like to see become a movie or show someday?