I love books. I try to read the book before I see a movie else I can’t form it properly in my imagination and it spoils the book if I do then try to read it. I prefer the stories in book form but these are five of the adaptations we think were great.
The Taming of The Shrew/10 Things I Hate About You.
Yes, OK, this is essentially a teen movie adapted from one of the great Shakespearian plays. It’s been given a modern twist and is set in a Seattle high school but I just happen to think it’s a great film. There were many Shakespeare references too, (Stafford sisters.) Of course it’s not a serious film (the part with Can’t Take My Eyes off You is testament to that,) but it’s funny and by the end, you have a warm fuzzy heart-warming feeling. Plus there was Heath Ledger. It was worth watching just for him. A fun, tongue in cheek, light-hearted adaptation that you can re-watch and still love – definitely one of our favourites.
(The Taming of the Shrew: William Shakespeare, Folger Shakespeare Library. 10 Things I Hate About You: Touchstone/Buena Vista, 1999.)
This film was adapted from the novella by Stephen King. Although The Green Mile was reported to be King’s personal favourite adaptation, I will always have a soft spot for this one. I think this movie was so well done. Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins were just so great in this film (in my opinion, they did the book justice.) Dare I say it; I think this is one of those rare occasions for me where I prefer the movie to the book. It doesn’t happen often.
(Book: Stephen King, Viking Press, 1982. Movie – Castle Rock Entertainment, 1994.)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory/Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.
One of my favourite books and one of the most watched movies of my childhood. Hollywood did take a huge artistic license with the film (to the point where Dahl didn’t want much else to do with it,) but Gene Wilder was Wonka to me – a little madness mixed in with kindness and a wonderful imagination. To me, despite the fact that it was so different from the book (I remember having a conversation with a friend that in fact, the Johnny Depp version was more accurate in terms of squirrels and geese,) the 1971 version had more of a happy, carefree atmosphere to it – the best version by far.
(Book: Roald Dahl, Penguin. Movie: Warner Bros. 1971.)
Bridget Jones’ Diary.
This needed to be on this list especially for the romantics out there. The book was amazing and the film did well in capturing the humour and fun of Fielding’s novel. I actually thought Renee Zellweger did a good job as Bridget Jones and that the film stayed as faithful to the book as it could. Hugh Grant and Colin Firth were perfectly cast as Daniel Cleaver and Mark Darcy and even after all these years, it’s a novel you hear people continue to talk about. A few things were moved around (Bridget’s birthday) but nothing that would notice. The warmth of the novel comes through on screen. One of my favourite adaptions/films and one I can watch and read over and over again.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.
This book was the first of the Millennium Trilogy. Now I have to admit, I’ve not personally read the book but people I know have and they sing it’s praises. However, as it’s a movie adapted from a book, I think it still counts. It was not a film I thought I would like but it surprised me.. a lot. Starting Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara (who is almost unrecognisable. I had to check it was the same girl in the Social Network,) it was so well acted and I feel it captured the atmosphere of the plot (even though a couple of the scenes I found a little disturbing.) I have not seen the Swedish adaptation so I don’t know how well they stand up together but I liked this Hollywood attempt. I’d be interested in seeing any future movies based on the other novels in the series and the book is certainly near the top of my TBR pile.