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Faithful/Unfaithful Movie Adaptations

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

I do love watching the films of books I loved, but after recently discovering that one my all time favourite novels (Mysteries of Pittsburgh) has been slaughtered in the move from book to film, I thought I'd start a discussion on favourite and least favourite adaptations.

So, a few of my favourites:

1) Adaptation (adapting the unadaptable)
2) The Princess Bride (gleefully embraces the magic and fun of the book)
3) The Green Mile (not the greatest film, but it's actually an improvement on the serialised books, which is impressive)
4) Bridget Jones' Diary (much better than the book, which just isn't really to my taste)

I'm actually struggling to think of ones I hate, although I know once the discussion starts then I will be like 'Of course! That was terrible!). The only one I can think of is Matilda (bad casting, too frivolous, and not dark enough). Anyone else got any most/least favourites?


Shannon (Giraffe Days) (Giraffe_Days) Great discussion topic!

There are actually several movies that I prefer to the book, mostly because I watched the movie many times before ever reading the book - never a good idea is it? At the moment I can only think of a few:

The Princess Bride - I was really disappointed by the book, the author/narrator was trying to be clever and funny but just came across as a smug git IMO.

A Room With A View - The actors - especially Daniel Day Lewis and Simon Callow - were so wonderful, subtle and with quirky quirks, that when I finally got around to reading the book it was flat and dull unless I conjured up the same scene from the movie.

Bridget Jones's Diary - I agree with Angela, the movie was much better than the book which, while quite good and funny, lacked something.

As for favourite adaptations of favourite books, (and this is a very divisive one), I really love the newest adaptation of Pride and Prejudice , which has more life and vibrancy than the very solid BBC series of the 90s.

I loved The English Patient and wanted to read the book, but couldn't get past the first few pages.

I can think of a very very bad adaptation, the worst in fact: Nicci French's Killing Me Softly was absolutely ruined. I read the book first, which is a favourite of mine, and later watched the movie. My jaw dropped, it was so awful. If I'd seen the movie first I never would have read the book, it was that bad!

I, too, will probably think of more as this topic goes on.


message 3: by Ed (new)

Ed | 217 comments Mod
The Shining, To Kill a Mockingbird, Lord of the Rings, Jaws....those are some of my favorites.


message 4: by Nicole (new)

Nicole (nlojeda) | 42 comments The Harry Potter movies are the worst as far as being poor adaptations. Some screenplays were better that others, and I understand how hard it must be to cram a 600 paged detailed book into a 2 1/2 hour movie.
I was also disappointed w/Memoirs of a Geisha, Shopgirl, and as I mentioned in another post, The Golden Compass.


message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

My all-time favorite adaptation is The Shawshank Redemption, which I believe is based on Stephen King's short story Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption. Gripping story and excellent movie.

Another favorite is One Few Over the Cuckoo's Nest.

I think I would have agreed with Nicole's assessment of the Harry Potter movies, except I watched the first two movies before I started reading the books (shocking I know). So, I think that helped cement my love for the movies. I felt the same way about Memoirs of a Geisha. Unfortunately I saw the movie before trying to read the book. It ruined the book for me. My new policy is to read the book first, then see the movie.

Adaptations I didn't like: Eragon and recently I am Legend (good movie in itself, but the book was far, far better).


Shannon (Giraffe Days) (Giraffe_Days) The Harry Potter movies are a bit hit and miss. I enjoy them but they just make me want to read the books. I didn't like the first two so much, mostly because they tried to put everything from the books in. When I see a movie that's an adaptation, it should utilise the medium more, not just provide a visual version of the book, you know? But I loved the third one, because - thanks to a new director - it was an actual adaptation, not a faithful retelling.

I liked the movie of The Shining better than the book, which was too long-winded for me.


message 7: by Tina (new)

Tina The Godfather. I liked both the book and the film equally. The book filled in some back story that the movie kinda left out, but overall great adaptation.



message 8: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) The Princess Bride is one of my favorites! Both the screenplay and the book are written by William Goldman. There is no S. Morgenstern. I just love that literary device. I also love all his asides & stuff (this was after stew. But everything is after stew. When the first creature crawled out of the primordial ooze, what he had for dinner that first night was stew).

The new version of P&P isn't really faithful to the book, but I did love it.

Agreed on The Godfather. It's a very faithful adaptation.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

I'll probably be the only one that will say I thought The Notebook was better than the book.


message 10: by Lawriter (new)

Lawriter | 4 comments I'm hoping they make a movie from Stephen J. Cannell's Three Shirt Deal. The video book trailer looks great: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2XYUhY...


message 11: by Jenny (new)

Jenny (notestothemoon) I've not read the Notebook but I've seen the film which I really liked. I know that I prefered the film version of a Walk to Remember but then I did watch it before reading the book which was probably a mistake!


message 12: by Adriane (new)

Adriane (justbooks4me) | 2 comments No you wouldn't be alone on that one. The book and movie are on my favorites list.


message 13: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I liked the movie better than the book too. And I HATED the sequel, The Wedding. But then again I'm not a big Nicholas Sparks fan. He's too sappy and sugary for me.


message 14: by [deleted user] (new)

Frances, apparently you are not alone. I also liked The Notebook more as a movie than as a book. But I'm biased. Ryan Gosling is delicious. :)


message 15: by Mark (new)

Mark | 3 comments I recently watched The English Patient again, and I thought it was derived from the book very nicely. This is rare, in my opinion, and I greatly enjoyed the book. Now I'm trying to read Herodotus, which the "English patient" kept his own historical notes in, but it is so big, it might take me a year or two of picking it up once in awhile to complete it.


message 16: by Rachel (new)

Rachel i LOVE the a&e "pride & prejudice." there is no better mr. darcy than colin firth!

i also have to say that i love the "clueless" adaptation of "emma." they did a fabulous job modernizing that novel while still being true to the characters and themes of jane austen.

i was totally bummed by "girl with a pearl earring." the movie was fantastic - until the end when they totally ruined it. all they needed was like 5 more minutes, but they skipped out and ruined an excellent novel and an almost excellent film.


message 17: by [deleted user] (new)

Jenny, I liked A Walk to Remember better than the book too. But I read the book first, then watched the movie.

Sarah, I didnt like The Wedding either. I just couldnt get into it the way I did while reading The Notebook. I dont like Nicholas Sparks either. I've only read those 3 books of his.

Rachel, I loved Clueless. It came out when I was in the 6th grade, so I didnt realize it was based off Emma until my mom told me, and then I read the book. But I think they did a good job.




I hated In Her Shoes. I love that book so much, but the movie was just an awful mess.



message 18: by Melanie Bell (new)

Melanie Bell | 1 comments Unfortunately, they never get the Harry Potter movies right, but I like seeing some of the scenes that I've envisioned in my mind play out on the big screen.

One of my least favorite novel to movie adaptations is "the horse whisperer." The book was about a family healing from a tragic event and the man who lead them through it. They made the movie a sappy love story, ugh!

Can you even call the Bridget Jones movie an adaptation of the book? I really like the movie but it was NOTHING like the book (which I hated), except for maybe a few odd sentences here and there.




message 19: by [deleted user] (new)

I like Bridget Jones the books & the movie. I was disappointed with the 2nd one though.


message 20: by Ed (new)

Ed | 217 comments Mod
I didn't read the Notebook but enjoyed the movie. For those who read the book..did the movie do the book justice?


message 21: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) Mark, I havent' read the English Patient because I loathed the movie so. But I'm told the book is infinitely better.


message 22: by Jenna (last edited Jan 10, 2008 07:04PM) (new)

Jenna (jentobox) | 4 comments I agree with most of you guys both the The Notebook and A Walk to Remember worked way better in their movie versions. Nicholas Sparks is really cheesy. All my favorite parts in the movies usually don't even occur in the book, like the summer of Ally and Noah or Jamie's list. The movies are way better.

I hate the Harry Potter films, they make me want to throw myself off the roof.

And although some say that it was horrible, I loved the new Pride and Prejudice. I thought it was very true to the book. Keira Knightly got Elizabeth's character right on. Darcy, although a talented actor, could have been a little more hansome-- IMO.

Also, I recently saw No Country For Old Men. It was a great film but I haven't read the novel yet.


message 23: by Ed (new)

Ed | 217 comments Mod
I'll skip reading the notebook then. I've heard No Country for old men is great novel.


message 24: by Candise (new)

Candise I just recently watched the BBC's version of Sarah Water's "Fingersmith". It was by far one of the best movie adaptations of a book I've seen.

And the Golden Compass movie sucked.


message 25: by Nicole (new)

Nicole (nlojeda) | 42 comments I didn't enjoy The Notebook as a movie, so I regret not reading the book.

I have to make it a priority to see No Country For Old Men before it leaves the theater!


message 26: by Fenixbird (last edited Jan 16, 2008 09:01PM) (new)

Fenixbird SandS | 14 comments Faithful: The Bourne Identity by Robert Ludlum (one of my top 6 favorite authors) Rarely did a book impact me so. No I have NOT YET read the sequels & look forward to the third movie....

Earthsea by Ursula LeGuin Wonderful film! The director was too modest imho (in my humble opinion) He made many, many efforts to be true to LeGuin's novels--including having "moors" act in major roles. I liked this movie.

Spirited Away by Miyazaki, Hayao
Stumbled on the anime & just loved it!!! Perhaps the book is even better!! (I hope to find out soon)

Snow Falling on Cedars by Dave Guterson
One of the most touching films I may have ever seen!!

Unfaithful: (to be continued...)


message 27: by Tina (last edited Jan 12, 2008 03:45PM) (new)

Tina The Harry Potter movies are nice eye candy but lose all the soul of the books. Some things they did a bang up job of, such as the Marauder's map, the moving staircases and Quidditch,but overall they simply don't capture the essence of the books.

Ditto, Memoirs of a Geisha. Pretty, pretty people in a pretty, pretty movie, but totally lackluster adaptation of the book.

Now, I do have to admit that I have seen multiple time and own the extended versions of the all three Lord Of The Rings movies and have never read the books. I'll probably lose my Sci-Fantasy fan cred for that, but I liked the movies so much I'm afraid the books may taint that.

I read Gone With The Wind, after watching the movie. And while I think the adaptation was pretty faithful, I have to admit Scarlett O'Hara was a monster bitch in the book. Vivian Leigh/David O'Selznik softened Scarlett a lot up in he movie and I think the movie was better for it.




Shannon (Giraffe Days) (Giraffe_Days) I agree Candise, I saw The Golden Compass last week and it was one of the most disappointing, flat and boring movie I've seen in a long time!


message 29: by Jillian (new)

Jillian Movie adaptation that I hated was Message in a bottle. They added things into the movie that wasn't at all in the book. That just really annoyed me. Book is much better.

I also refused to watch PS I love you after reading what the movie was about. They changed too much stuff from the book which I really enjoyed reading.


message 30: by Heather (new)

Heather (adorabubbles) | 8 comments here's another one for The Golden Compass movie version sucking. i adored the book, the whole series, and was horribly disappointed by the film. i'm glad i only paid $1.50 to see it.


message 31: by Tracy (new)

Tracy | 14 comments i actually really prefer to see the movie first, because generally the movie is less likely to ruin the book than vice versa. a good example is the golden compass, which i saw and then read shortly after because i just really liked the idea of it. turns out, the book made a whole lot more sense and there were only a few details that i knew before the book wanted me to know them. but doing things the other way around almost always leads to disappointment (jurassic park for instance, even though the movie was a gazillion times better than the book i was still a little let down that some of the more exciting scenes were saved for the much lamer second and third movies), or ruining the dramatic climax of the movie (which always seem to be more emotionally investing when taken in visually than when read; like the climax to atonement, for example).

what i really love though, are when the adaptations veer severely from the source material but still FEEL right and accurate. the best example of this i can come up with off the top of my head is 1408. for one thing, it's a short story, which makes adaptation to movie form much easier. the story focused a lot more on buildup and then anticlimax (you never REALLY know what happened in that room, it's all second hand information and assumption), but since that sort of story telling is nearly impossible in film (which is my theory as to why a lot of stephen king movies aren't nearly what they should be), the movie takes an entirely different tack. but it feels the same, and it always feels like it's being faithful, even when it's totally out of left field (the part with his daughter dying and then turning to dust in his arms and the freezing and all that isn't ANYWHERE in the story. his family is only mentioned in passing). the best part about that is then you kind of need both the story and the movie to complete it, and i love that.


message 32: by Tracy (new)

Tracy | 14 comments as for harry potter, i saw all the current movies before i read the entire series (back to back of course), and i have to say (aside from an abysmal adaptation of order of the pheonix, and a weird attempt to make us think that harry and hermione should get together when clearly they should not), i still love the movies. mostly because the casting was absolutely brilliant. every time i read a part with snape in it, all i could hear was alan rickman's sexy voice.


message 33: by Cliff (new)

Cliff | 46 comments I liked the movie version of the Stephen King short story "Rita Hayworth & The Shawshank Redemption". The story was very good but the movie was embellished and had ore depth of character. One of my favorite movies.


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