The Broke and the Bookish. Every week they post a new topic that the participants come up with a top ten list for.
This week's topic: top ten best or worst movie adaptations
The question what makes a 'good' movie adaptation of a book is a beast all its own and I don't really want to get into it here. Just for the record: just because a movie is very much like a book does not automatically make it a good adaptation for me. If it follows the book to the letter without offering an interpretation of its own, I don't really see the point.
So here are five adaptations that I think work well:
The Lord of the Rings - J.R.R. Tolkien (Peter Jackson)
Those movies are a work of art all of their own. The setting, the costumes, the music, the acting... it's all absolutely incredible. Jackson took some liberties but I think he really stayed true to the spirit of the books. I'll never grow tired of watching them.
Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray (Mira Nair)
Again, this adaptation takes some liberties with the book (it makes Becky quite a bit more likeable) but it's absolutely gorgeous and the acting is great!
Harry Potter - J.K. Rowling (various directors)
Well, can't simply skip those movies, can I? Some I like better than others, but all in all it was well-done. The movies also managed some things the books didn't. They made me really like Luna Lovegood. And The Halfblood Prince made me actually feel sorry for Draco Malfoy at one point, which I didn't really while reading the book. Oh, and Helena Bonham Carter is fantastic as Bellatrix Lestrange!
Scott Pilgrim vs. The World - Bryan Lee O'Malley (Edgar Wright)
This is originally a 7-volume comic, and especially the later volumes are quite different from the movie, but it really takes up so many comic- and video game elements that it becomes a league of awesome all of its own! It's hilarious and crazy and quirky. I can watch it a dozen times and I still think it's funny! The soundtrack rocks, too.
Fight Club - Chuck Palahniuk (David Fincher)
I actually prefer the movie. There's a dimension to the book it didn't quite capture but the movie is waaaay more of a mindfuck than the book is. And it drives the main points home wonderfully. Not to forget that once More, Helena Bonham Carter does one hell of a job as Marla!
I could have added a couple others that I like, among them adaptations of Shakespeare plays and Hornby's About A Boy, but let's leave it at this for now.
... And five adaptations that didn't quite do it for me:
Cirque du Freak: The Vampire's Assistant - Darren Shan (Paul Weitz)
I hurried to finish the first book before going to watch the movie, and they just changed so many things. Some I liked, some I found unnecessary, and some took the movie into a whole different direction. They also made the snake-boy (Ezra? Can't remember his name...) look sort of stupid and ridiculous, which he isn't at all in the book. All in all, it wasn't horrible but it left me with a bad taste in my mouth.
Eragon - Christopher Paolini (Stefen Fangmeier)
To be honest I don't remember the movie all that well, but I think it was really reductive and just cut too much from the book. It lacked the complexity I enjoyed about it. Maybe they should have made it into a TV series instead?
Interview with the Vampire - Anne Rice (Neil Jordan)
This is partly a problem with the book. I don't know how, but it's just rather dull. Louis is just soooo mopey!! I like the later books where Lestat is the narrator much better. The movie has some good scenes but over all, it just didn't do it for me.
Twilight - Stephenie Meyer (Catherine Hardwicke)
Back in 2007 when I came across the book shortly before Eclipse was released, I fell for them. Hard. I've since gotten a different perspective on what goes on in them (and I really didn't like Breaking Dawn) but let's talk about the movies. I think they're actually good adaptations - apart from that first one. What made me like Twilight back when was apart from other things the dialogue between Edward and Bella. In the movie, that's all cut in favor of shots of trees and awkward exchanges in the cafeteria. Um, no. I've seen a few of Hardwicke's other movies and liked them a lot, but not this one. Sorry.
I'm not quite sure what else to pick. Quite often I'm in the situation that I've either not read the book or not seen the movie, so I can't really compare them. I think The Golden Compass looked pretty but wasn't really much like the book. I sort of liked the first Percy Jackson, but from what I've heard it's also a lot different from the books and kind of mixes a few of them together. As for more recent films, I haven't seen Beautiful Creatures but the cast doesn't look AT ALL the way I imagined the characters. Ethan and Lena look like they belong in college, not high school.
Anyway, that's what I could come up with. What are your most loved or most loathed ones?