Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, featuring a different top 10 theme each week.
This week’s theme is Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations. Back in December, I did a top 10 list featuring the top 10 movie versions of classic books — so in the interest of not repeating myself, I am not including any of those movies here. After all, I am not Clueless, and I do have some Pride (and Prejudice). I wouldn’t want my blog readers to be Gone With The Wind due to my Vanity (Fair). (Click on the link above if you want to see all of my classic choices!)
1) Much Ado About Nothing: The new black-and-white film directed by Joss Whedon is modern, funny, snappy, and a pure delight.
2) The Hunger Games: I don’t know about you, but I was very pleasantly surprised by how great this movie turned out to be. Maybe it helped that I hadn’t read the book in a couple of years, so I couldn’t indulge in my usual post-movie nitpickiness. In any case, I thought The Hunger Games managed to pull off the very hard combination of being faithful to the tone and overall content of the book while still managing to be cinematic and a great piece of entertainment on its own merit.
3) Lord of the Rings trilogy: These movies are all just so, so beautiful and inspiring. Visually stunning, gorgeously acted, all put together so perfectly.
4) Coraline: I loved this animated adaptation of the Neil Gaiman book. The Other Mother was appropriately creepy, and watching the movie really felt like stepping inside the book.
5) Carrie: Sure, this is going back a ways, but there’s something so iconic about the shot of Sissy Spacek covered in blood. The movie captured the horror of Stephen King’s novel so effectively, and managed to be super-scary and surprising even for people who’d read the book.
1) The Other Boleyn Girl: Does it count as a bad adaptation if the source material wasn’t great to begin with? I have a circular relationship with this movie and book. I saw a trailer for the movie, thought it looked good so I decided to read the book, wasn’t crazy about the book, and then found the movie disappointing as well. Eric Bana was so miscast as Henry, and Natalie Portman just wasn’t Anne Boleyn. Plus, the plot of the movie veered off in strange ways from the plot of the book, which already took a lot of liberties with the story. Just not good, all the way around.
2) The Hobbit: Sorry, Peter Jackson, but one wonderful book does not need to be three movies. The Hobbit movie was not boring to watch, just overstuffed. J. R. R. Tolkien wrote a terrific, compact piece of fiction. Other than making more money, why split it into a trilogy?
3) The Time Traveler’s Wife: Terrible casting, especially Eric Bana as Henry. (Hmm, maybe I just have a problem with Eric Bana playing characters named Henry?). The Time Traveler’s Wife is one of my very favorite books, but I found the movie bland and watered-down, without the book’s tragic arc and sense of doomed romance.
4) The Stepford Wives: Maybe it’s dated, but the book by Ira Levin was definitely a suspenseful thriller in its day. The 2004 movie version starring Nicole Kidman tried to be a comedy and failed miserably. Just painful to sit through.
The Harry Potter movies! Look, I’m a huge fan of the books, and I like — sometimes even love — the movies, but the books and the movies feel like totally different animals. The first two Harry Potter movies were not good works cinematically. They were so faithful to the books that they didn’t stand on their own as movies (if that makes sense), and had more of a juvenile sentiment to them than was necessary. I liked the Prisoner of Azkaban very much as a movie, if I overlooked the sometimes glaring departures from the book. Still, it had a sense of style that was its own, thanks to director Alfonso Cuarón, and was both fun and suspenseful to watch. In some ways, I consider Goblet of Fire to be the best movie. I loved the Triwizard competition set-pieces, including the dragon chases, the underwater scenes, and the hedge maze. Yes, there’s the problematic portrayal of Dumbledore in this one, which I know upset a lot of HP fans (myself included) — but as a movie, it was quite spectacular. The Half-Blood Prince movie didn’t feel quite right to me, perhaps because of the omitted background scenes and the changes to the climax which made the events make less sense on screen than they did in the book. And the Deathly Hallows movies? Amazing, in some ways — visually stunning, with some very satisfying emotional pay-offs (Snape!), and I loved the illustrations used for the tale of the three brothers… but also long and with some strange choices in terms of what was included and what was cut. Kudos to the Deathly Hallows movie, thought, for explaining the whole Elder Wand mumbo-jumbo much more concisely than the book ever did.
So what books-into-movies make your top 10 this week? Any you especially love or hate?
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