Books To Blockbusters That Dont Disappoint
Books To Blockbusters That Dont Disappoint
By Rebecca Reed and Sarah Kneath
When a movie release is announced and it’s been adapted from a book, there’s always a lot of conversation about it. Who will play the lead character(s)? How will they film *that* scene? And inevitably… Will it be as good as the book?
We’ll admit that we’re a pretty cynical bunch here at Ziffit.com HQ, that’s why we’ve been racking our brains to think of some adaptions that didn’t disappoint and make us want to hunt down the screenplay writers and re-read them the entire book cover to cover – pointing out all the mistakes. (We look to you “The Golden Compass” and dare we say it “The Da Vinci Code” …)
As you can see, it’s pretty sparse – so feel free to let us know your thoughts and if we’ve missed any.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
"I volunteer as tribute!" A well-known phrase uttered by one of the most heroic female literary role models in this modern age. Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire, the Mockingjay. Thanks to the film, it propelled Jennifer Lawrence straight into the spotlight. There are subtle differences from page to screen in the first of the trilogy, these were put in to make sure the film flowed. The Hunger Games movie and book trilogy do stand as equals and in our opinion are up there with another obvious teenage fiction series, Harry Potter, although we don't think we will be seeing a theme park around The Hunger Games trilogy. That may be too scary and dangerous.
The Hitch Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
One of the greatest science fiction novels all except the Star Trek/Star Wars sagas, when this popular tale was turned into a film, people were super excited. There are differences in the book and movie, even to the point where parts of the movie do not feature in the books. The film stands out with its brilliant casting of Alan Rickman as Marvin the Robot, but if you prefer to curl up with the book, we highly recommend it just for the differences in story that swallows Arthur Dent.
Holes by Louis Sachar
Stanley Yelnats, the name that resonates with so many children, whether that be from the film or the book. Some students may have studied this in school, most of us did (definitely showing our age here – gulp!). We spent many a lesson analysing each chapter and then out rolled the TV and we got to watch the film starring the child superstar Shia LaBeouf. The book and movie are pretty much identical, the changes are minimal, just a few character tweaks, which gives the film a touch of reality, this makes it a great book to movie adaptation.
Coraline by Neil Gaiman
The book and film for this are equally as creepy and have left some of us in the office with nightmares clearly some will never recover from. From the books to the movie, there were a few minor changes which we reckon was all part of making it less scary for their target audience. However, the "other mother" will remain a terrifying character in our eyes - in both versions!
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton
One of our all-time favourite films, admittedly some of us did read the book after we had watched the films. However, Steven Spielberg didn't miss much out, and with many books to movie adaptations, it is very hard to fit the story into a 2-hour film. The book creates all the tension and the horror in the exact same way the film does. You begin the story with the scepticism of "this is going to go well". A few characters from the book had their roles switched for the movie, however, we all agree that Lex is equally as irritating in page form and on-screen.
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
What a book – what an absolutely breath-taking, wonderful and heart-breaking book. When it was announced that this was being made into a film, we admit, we were worried… Luckily the film lives up to our expectations. The cast are perfect and capture the relationships so well, particularly the relationship between Liesel and Hans (played by the incredible Geoffrey Rush, of Pirates of the Caribbean fame). It has just the right amount of melancholy but that all too powerful undertone of hope. Both are tear-jerkers and both will leave you with “wet-neck”.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
This is a slightly different one, as it’s actually memoirs of the life of Louis Zamperini, who was an Olympics distance runner in the 1930’s, later commissioned in to the United States Army Air Force during World War Two.
The movie was produced and directed by Angelina Jolie and written by the Coen Brothers, so naturally there was a lot of hype surrounding it. Zamperini is played by Jack O’Connell (yep, for those old enough to remember, he played Cook in Skins back in the day). The film is powerful and sticks (for most parts) to the truth and doesn’t suffer from that little bit of glitter that Hollywood always tries to sprinkle on a lot of biographical films. If anything, it’s not gritty enough – with some criticising the movie for not detailing the harrowing experience the stranded soldiers experienced at sea. And for some part, we agree – the book is harrowing and at times quite disturbing, but the film falls slightly short of that.
A Theory of Everything/ Travelling to Infinity by Jane Hawking
Much like “Unbroken” this is again a biographical movie. The Theory of Everything was adapted from the memoir of Jane Wilde Hawking, ex-wife to theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking. Okay – we’ll admit, we’ve not read Hawking’s ‘Theory of Everything’, we’re just not that clever. Some of us (okay one of us) has read Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen. The film perfectly captures the lives of the two young students perfectly. Their journey as they struggle to come to terms with Stephen’s illness. The critically acclaimed movie was nominated for loads of awards and earned Eddie Redmayne the coveted award of Best Actor at the Oscar Academy Awards. Now we’re not saying you have to read the book with this one, but we’d definitely recommend the film.
There are of course other books to movies that are great and are many people favourites. So in the interest of scope, we’ll just give them an honourable mention here:
The Godfather, The Shining, The Notebook, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (the Gene Wilder version, not Johnny Depp's (sorry)...
Never mind “don’t judge a book by its cover” the key thing to remember is not to judge a book by its movie. Tell us your favourite movie adaptations and why in the comments.