To movie or not to movie

After spending a month reading Eldest, I felt I needed a bit of a palate-cleansing: a few books in between Eldest and Brisingr that weren’t super heavy or challenging to read. Two of those books were To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before and The Nearest Far Away Place, both of which I’ve blogged about for the past three weeks. The third fluff-book I read was The Jane Austen Book Club by Karen Joy Fowler, which was recommended to me by my great friend Judy and which I thoroughly enjoyed.

I was fully aware while I was reading it that a movie of it had been made, but I purposely avoided looking up anything related to the movie. Am I the only one who does this? I feel like once I’ve seen clips or even photographs of characters, my ‘mental image’ of the character is reshaped and morphed into whoever was cast in the adaptation rather than how they’re actually described or how my mind has conjured them up. I looked the film up afterwards and GEE, everyone (except Jocelyn and maaaaybePrudie) looked totally different than in my head!

A meme which shows a white husky and her seven puppies and the words, "NOW REMEMBER, THE BOOK IS BETTER THAN THE MOVIE!"
I mean… yep, usually!

This got me thinking about my feelings towards the adaptation of books into movies or shows, along with which books I think have been brilliantly recreated and which should never have existed. Forthwith are the lists I came up with; are you ready?!

Favourite adaptations of books into movies/series

A still from the movie Room, showing Ma and Jack reading on the floor of Ma's old room.
Ma and Jack and books, oh my!
  • Room (which is one of my favourite movies ever and which I thought was even better and more hopeful than the book, not to mention that Jacob Tremblay is the best and brightest)
  • Pride & Prejudice (the 2005 one, obviously, because of the hand-clench)
  • The Hunger Games (I had pictured Peeta differently, by Josh Hutcherson crushed the game so it really didn’t bother me)
  • Big Little Lies (Reese Witherspoon can do no wrong; FIGHT ME)
  • Never Let Me Go (I actually have to watch this one again, but considering it’s one of my favourite novels, the fact that I didn’t hate it is a good sign! Also I felt like Kiera Knightley, Carey Mulligan and Andrew Garfield were perfectly cast)
  • The Handmaid’s Tale (an example of an adaptation and expansion on the original text in such a provocative, nuanced, pitch-perfect way)

Least favourite adaptations of books into movies/series

A still from the movie Ella Enchanted, showing Minnie Driver, Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy as they dance.
Even all the actors are like, “NO NO NO DON’T WATCH THIS MOVIE”
  • Ella Enchanted (which left me harbouring so much anger towards Anne Hathaway and Hugh Dancy for so long, you guys. This book is one I hold so close to my heart and I was so let down by the film)
  • Ender’s Game (which I haven’t seen and refuse to see, but has spoiled the book for so many people to whom I recommend it – argh!)
  • Ready Player One (apparently? This is another one I’ve been told is nothing like the book, and so I’m just steering clear)

Books I loved whose movies I still have to watch

A still from the movie To All The Boys I've Loved Before, showing Lara Jean reading a book.
Lara Jeeeeean, gettin’ her read on!
  • To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before (I’m really excited to watch this! From what I’ve heard, and based on seeing the actors, it’s a fantastic adaptation)
  • Dumplin’ (Both teen girl dramas and both from Netflix! Thaaanks, Netflix!)

Movies I loved whose books I still have to read

A still from the movie The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society, showing the characters eating a potato peel pie.
“Guys, why would you make me eat this…?”
  • The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society

Most anticipated adaptations of books into movies/series

  • All The Light We Cannot See (which was one of my favourite books read in 2017)
  • Looking For Alaska (John Green recently shared a video of the kids who’ve been cast as Miles and Alaska, which Aquapages shared over on her blog, and John’s words on adaptations were just WOW and absolutely more eloquent than anything I’ve said in this post)
  • Chaos Walking (which FSFDhjFKSDGHRW because I trust Patrick Ness and I love Tom Holland and Daisy Ridley but I’m just SO.ANXIOUS.ABOUT.HOW.THIS.FILM.IS.GOING.TO.TURN.OUT.)
a still from the upcoming movie Chaos Walking
Todd? Viola?! Is that yoooou?!

On the whole, I’m all for books being made into adaptations for the screen (be it movies or series), especially when they’re taken on by someone who clearly loves the books and wants to do them justice. With the rise of the internet, I’m able to get a more discerning idea of whether or not the adaptation is worth my time, and hey – if it gets more people reading the book, this is an epic thing!

What’re your thoughts? What adaptation have you watched lately that you absolutely loved – or hated? Does seeing a screen version of a book impact how you feel about it? Let us know!

8 thoughts on “To movie or not to movie

  1. I didn’t know there was a never let me go movie! Been wanting to read that book for a while, heard so many good things. I adored Ella enchanted when I was younger, but I’d never read the book – which seems to be the case for many of the movie adaptions I like because no expectations! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. YES! The book is definitely one of my top 10, and the movie lives up to it 🙂 I hope you enjoy it when you read/watch it!

      Haha I read from someone else that they watched the movie first and then read the book and didn’t like the *book*! I think they’re different stories fundamentally and that’s why I didn’t like the movie so much. They should’ve just renamed it something else and said it was inspired by the book. But again, Ella Enchanted is one of my all-time faaaaves so I’m very picky 😉

      Liked by 1 person

    1. LOTR (and Harry Potter) had highs and lows for me ^_^ I was sad they left out Tom Bombadil and I also thought there were a couple silly things in the LOTR movies (and a ton of them in Harry Potter!) but overall I thought their adaptations were alright.

      I thought The Hobbit wasn’t GREAT (and there were SO.MANY.SILLY.THINGS), but I haven’t actually read the book! So I should do that before I have a proper opinion 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      1. LOTR felt a lot truer to the story. There were a few choices made in creating the films that left me sad, but for the most part they captured the heart of the tale.

        The Hobbit were fun movies, but in relationship to the book they were strange. Tolkien would have raised both eyebrows.

        Appreciate your blog! Now I have new movies to watch (and avoid) once (if) I get internet.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Yes! I think The Hobbit could’ve probably been one movie and it would’ve been better. It’s only one book, after all! I love Martin Freeman but I feel like they could have done a better job adapting the book. (I say, having not read the book!)

          Yay! Well, you’ve definitely watched Pride & Prejudice with me multiple times 😉

          I recommend Room to everyone, despite the harrowing nature of the first half of its story.

          I should have lent you Big Little Lies! The book is great (and a fast read because it’s difficult to put down). The series sexied the book up a bit, which I found annoying, and a LOT is changed in terms of setting (the book is set in Australia, while the series is set in Monterrey!) and character descriptions. They also sort-of set it up for a second season and so there are a few unanswered questions in the series, while the book pretty much wraps everything up. On the whole, though, I think they captured the essence of the book brilliantly.

          Handmaid is harrowing to watch! So I’d say only watch it if you’re feeling super brave :/ It was worth it just to see Bradley Whitford and Elisabeth Moss acting across from one another again, though!

          Liked by 1 person

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