Thursday, July 12, 2007

Booking Through Thursday

Celluloid

1. In your opinion, what is the best translation of a book to a movie?
2. The worst?
3. Had you read the book before seeing the movie, and did that make a difference? (Personally, all other things being equal, I usually prefer whichever I was introduced to first.)

And, by all means, expand this to as long a list as you like. I’m notoriously awful myself at narrowing down to one favorite ANYTHING. So, feel free to list as many “good” or “bad” movie-from-books as you like. (Heaven knows that’s what I’ll be doing….)

1. This is a difficult question as there are lots of good ones out there. I think though that the best ones are where the author has written the screenplay for the movie or has been involved in the process to a large degree. Something like Peter S Beagle's "The Last Unicorn" worked really well. He wrote the book and then made an animated version which brought it to life really nicely. Another good adaptation is "Interview with the Vampire" by Anne Rice. Rice wrote the screenplay and this really helped it capture the mood of the story and characters.

Other good adaptations include:
"Memories of a Geisha" by Arthur Golden - even though it leaves out a lot of the smaller details, the setting is stunning and the acting just right.
"High Fidelity" by Nick Hornby - It transposes the book from North London to America and still manages to pull it off and be one of my favourite films of all time.
"The Lord of the Rings trilogy" by JRR Tolkien - I don't think I need to explain this one! Obviosuly they had to leave some parts out, but the only part I really missed was the scourging of the Shire.
"Watership Down" by Richard Adams - another animated classic that transferred from book to movie well.
"Clueless" based on Jane Austin's Emma - a really good adaptation of Austin's novel bringing it current and up-to-date.
"Gone with the Wind" by Margaret Mitchell - has to leave chunks out (it was already 226mins long!), but looks stunning and the actors were perfect for their characters. It captured the mood of the book perfectly.

2. The worst movie adaptation of a book hmm. I think the film I have enjoyed the least lately was "Spiderman 3" by Stan Lee and Marvel. It changed a lot of the characters personalities and it was just a confused jumble. I am having a hard time thinking of other films by name, but I know that there are lots of them that are rubbish!

There are a lot of films out there that are great films, but awful adaptations of books. "Queen of the Damned" by Anne Rice again is a film I love, but not a very good version of the book as it leaves out far too much. Also for some reason they missed doing The Vampire Lestat which occurs chronologically between the two films.

3. If I can I try to see the film before reading the book. I mostly prefer the book version and seeing the film first doesn't ruin the experience for me. It stops me from sitting watching the film thinking "that never happened in the book" or "hey where did my favourite bit go".

11 comments:

Marianne Arkins said...

I agree about LOTR's... and, yes, I think they should have included the part with the shire at the end. But, all-in-all, a very satisfying adaptation.

Thanks for visiting!

Melody said...

I always prefer to read a book than watch the movies...because it leaves us to the imaginations.

Oh, I forgot about 'Memories of a Geisha'! I read the book first, and after watching the movie, still prefer the book although I like the movie version too. I suppose I go for the details in books, hehe.

Chris said...

I thought of the Anne Rice ones too and couldn't decide if the movies were comparable. I think her books are hard to adapt.

Alice Teh said...

Aye to your answer, Rhinoa! I love LOTR. I read the book first and then watch the movie when it came out. There were some bits missed out but I still think it was a good translation. :)

I also mostly prefer the book version. I agree with Melody's thought: It leaves us to the imaginations.

Happy BTT!

--Deb said...

I can't believe I missed GWTW . . . and yes, I would have love the Scouring the Shire part in LOTR, too, but Jackson said that was always his least favorite part of the books (sigh). I can't say I missed Tom Bombadil, though!

Stephanie said...

We think a lot alike, you know? I have Gone with the Wind on my list as well!!

I thought High Fidelity was GREAT! And I liked the change...especially since it was set in Chicago, my favorite city! It didn't hurt to have John Cusak either!

Barbara H. said...

I haven't read many here, but I loved LOTR, too. I've seen GWTW but never read the book. I usually prefer book versions, too.

Barbara H. @ Stray Thoughts

Chris said...

I'm so glad to see that you liked Interview With A Vampire. So many people thought that it was horrible and I've always thought that it was a perfect adaptation.

I feel the same about Queen of the Damned. I enjoyed the film, but it was absolutely nothing like what I imagined while reading the book.

Julia said...

I have seen Memorie of a Geisha but haven't read the book, even though the book is in my TBR piles. I tried reading Lord of the Rings, but I love the movies! I seen Interview with the Vampires but didn't read the book either.

Oh so many books I should be reading that I have seen in movies *grin*

Nymeth said...

My absolutely favourite adaptation is "The Virgin Suicides" by Jeffrey Eugenides, adapted by Sofia Coppola. She captured the mood of the book perfectly in the movie. Even the light is just as I imagined it.

I really like "Interview with the Vampire" too. I did see the movie first - I watched it when I was like 12, and it was one of the reasons why I started reading Anne Rice at 14. I've watched it again since reading the book, though, and I still think it's a great adaptation. However, I stayed away from "Queen of the Damned", because it seemed, from the trailers, such a horrible travesty of what the book is.

LOTR is great too, of course. You can tell it was done by people who absolutely love the books.

As for my least favourite, hmm... I know a lot of people are going to disagree with this, but I hated the third Harry Potter movie. I think it pure and simple ruined a great plot and made it seem sloppy and rushed. An extra 15 minutes with some crucial scenes would have avoided this. I'm a fan of Alfonso Cuáron, but I really hated what was done in this movie.

Callista said...

I've been meaning to read Memoirs of a Geisha, thanks. My answers: http://smsbookreviews.blogspot.com/2007/07/booking-through-thursday_12.html