One of my goals this year is to incorporate more of what I love into the blog. This includes films, anime, manga, music, you name it. Anything goes. So from time to time, you might notice Friday Favorites making an appearance. It will be an opportunity to share some of the things I love and discuss them briefly or in length, depending on my mood 😉
This week I am starting with a handful of my favorite book to film adaptations. I realize that film adaptations often receive a bad rap, and I admit some of them really deserve it. There is nothing more infuriating than seeing a beloved story completely destroyed. And it does happen. Whether it is the result of deviating from the plot-line too much, poor casting or even low budgets, we have all seen a few of our favorites ripped to shreds. But I still love seeing books made into movies.
Well for several reasons really. But the most important (and the one I am going to talk about here) is that adaptations expand a book’s audience! I live in a home of non-readers. So when I experience a story that I love, nothing thrills me more than seeing it hit the big screen! Here is my chance to finally share. And that means a lot to me as a reader.
I love the idea of a great story reaching a larger audience. Even if that means a few adjustments. But I think it is important to keep in mind that adaptations are exactly that. They have been modified to work within the new setting and for their new audience. Sometimes it unfolds beautifully and others it fails miserably. But I will never give up my enthusiasm for possibility of seeing a great film of a favorite book.
With that being said, here are five book to film adaptations I thoroughly love.
The Hobbit (Animated Version)
Directors/Producers: Arthur Rankin, Jr., Jules Bass
This musical adaptation combined lyrics from the original story and the animation I have come to adore, to tell the incredible adventure of Bilbo Baggins’ quest to reclaim the gold of the dwarves. Full of wonder and merriment but easily capturing the darker moments, the end result is almost as magical as JRR Tolkien’s orignal, beloved tale.
Director: John Hillcoat
Producers: Nick Wechsler, Paula Mae Schwartz, Steve Schwartz
While the film adaptation of this bleak postapocalyptic tale drastically toned down the more graphic and disturbing scenes that were encountered in the book, it was still managed to convey the gritty, often dismal and very emotional aspects of the catastrophic setting with a stellar cast and cinematography. It is a raw look at the downfall of humanity that I felt held true to the original theme of the book by Cormac McCarthy.
A Clockwork Orange
Director/Producer: Stanley Kubrick
A Clockwork Orange is not a film I can recommend to everyone. The same can be said for the book. While ranked highly among my favorites and packing a hefty message about free will, there is a lot of disturbing content. If you cannot handle the perverse, skip it. But if you are like myself, and comfortable with exploring the uncomfortable, this one is a must. Kubrick manages to bring full life to Anthony Burgess’s dark and complex story. Be it disgust or shock, the film will definitely solicit some strong emotions.
Director: Ridley Scott
Producers: Michael Deeley, Charles de Lauzirika
Based loosely on Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? by Philip K. Dick, Blade Runner delivers a gritty future and tells the story of a detective hunting replicants (bioengineered androids). It offers a unique experience that fans of sci-fi can easily appreciate and offers a digestible look into the complex world created by Phillip K. Dick.
The Princess Bride
Director/Producer: Rob Reiner
A phenomenal cast breathe incredible life into William Goldman’s classic fairy tale. Full of nonstop laughs and endearing characters, The Princess Bride easily makes my favorites list in both films and books. This is a must watch for all, and I would be hard pressed not to include it today. If you need a pick me, you can find it in this enchanting film.
While this list is certainly not all-inclusive, the above films have left their mark with me. Whether they stuck to the original script or chose to deviate for a wider audience, I found the end result to be none the less entertaining and satisfying.
What are some of your favorite book to film adaptations? What do you look for in the films of your favorite stories? I personally do not mind a few changes as long as the true spirit and original essence/message are captured in the final production.