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Thirteen book-to-movie adaptations that are actually pretty good!

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The 30 Days of Mental Illness Awareness Challenge has meant I’ve been writing a lot about Mental Health over the last few weeks. Although it’s not something I’m ashamed of, for the sake of my own sanity I’ve decided that today’s Thursday Thirteen needed to be about something non-mental health related! :)

After watching a movie, how many of you have ever proclaimed ‘well, it wasn’t as good as the book’?

I’m willing to bet a fair few of you because, let’s be honest, most adaptations are pretty appalling. However, as with everything in life, there are always exceptions.

Thirteen book to movie adaptations that are actually pretty good!

Movie Posters

13. Secretary
Book by: Mary Gaitskill
Film by: Steven Shainberg
A stereotype busting story and a tour-de-force performance by Maggie Gyllenhaal elevates this heart (and bottom) warming film onto the list of great book-to-movie adaptations.

12. Clueless
Book by: Jane Austen (Emma)
Film by: Amy Heckerling
This film, a contemporary adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma, is one of the brightest, breeziest and enjoyable of the 90s rom-com selection. Clueless is a master class on how to contemporize a classic work of literature.

11. To Kill a Mockingbird
Book by: Harper Lee
Film by: Robert Mulligan
I first watched this adaptation of Lee’s only published work of fiction whilst studying the book during High School. At the time I wasn’t impressed, but re-watching it years later revealed the nuances, power and intensity of this superb adaptation.

10. Jurassic Park
Book by: Michael Crichton
Film by: Steven Spielberg
Like most book-to-movie adaptations, the film does deviate from the novel in several key areas, but the sheer childish fun of seeing dinosaurs come to life make this film a must watch for any adaptation aficionado.

9. Life of Pi
Book by: Yann Martel
Film by: Ang Lee
Long considered un-filmable, Ang Lee proved all doubters wrong by creating not only one of the best book-to-movie adaptations of recent times but one of the finest (and most beautiful) films of the year.

8. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe
Book by: C.S. Lewis
Film by: Andrew Adamson
Although it pales in comparison to the BBC adaptation (ineligible for this list given its television origins), this film version was a beautiful adaptation of the book and introduced (the perfectly cast) Georgie Henley to the world.

7. Trainspotting
Book by: Irvine Welsh
Film by: Danny Boyle
The film that launched Ewan McGregor, Johnny Lee Miller, Ewan Bremner and Robert Carlyle into the national consciousness. This striking adaptation of Boyle’s novel about the heroin subculture in Edinburgh is a film you truly must see before you die.

6. Scott Pilgrim vs The World
Graphic Novel: Bryan Lee O’Malley
Film by: Edgar Wright
I cherish and adore this film more than any other made in the last ten years. Initially watched when I was homeless on the streets of Melbourne, this film inspired me to keep pushing on in my efforts to escape that most vicious of lifestyles. As such, it will always be a film I’ll hold close to my heart.

5. Fight Club
Book by: Chuck Palahniuk
Film by: David Fincher
This is one of my favourite films of all time. A devastating look at identity and consumerism, David Fincher has crafted one of the most consistently stunning, shocking and empowering films ever made and should be considered essential viewing for anyone, least of all those interested in book-to-movie adaptations.

4. Red Riding Trilogy
Books by:  David Peace
Films by: Julian Jarrold, James Marsh and Anand Tucker
David Peace’s quartet of books 1974, 1977, 1980 and 1984 are some of the bleakest, most intensely visceral series of books I’ve read in a long time. The film trilogy adaptation is just as intense, just as dark and equally as captivating. If you’re weak of heart, this may not be the film series for you, but you will be missing out on some of the finest British film-making, ever.

3. Alice in Wonderland
Books by: Lewis Carroll
Film by: Tim Burton

I will admit to hating this film the first time I watched it. I hated Mia Wasikowska as Alice, I hated Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter and I hated what Tim Burton had done to one of my favourite books. However, I recently decided to revisit this movie after having it recommended by several people, and I’m glad I did, for I found it to be one of the most inventive, inspiring, enjoyable and engaging films I’ve seen in a long time.

2. The Lord of the Rings (Extended Editions)
Books by: J.R.R Tolkien
Films by: Peter Jackson

What can be said about this movie trilogy that hasn’t already been said? It is an exceptional masterwork that will be loved and admired for generations to come. A quintessential entry on any great book-to-movie adaptations list.

1. Young Adam
Book by: Alexander Trocchi
Film by: David Mackenzie

I have been an ardent fan of Trocchi’s work for the better part of the last fifteen years and his novel Young Adam is one of my personal favourites. So when I discovered it had been turned into a movie I will admit to approaching it with trepidation. I needn’t have feared, for David Mackenzie has crafted a truly superb book-to-movie adaptation that cannot be missed.

Over to you…what are some of your favourite book-to-movie adaptations?

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2 thoughts on “Thirteen book-to-movie adaptations that are actually pretty good!

  1. I saw the Scott Pilgrim movie first and I’m reading the comics now! I love them!

    Like

  2. Oh and Harry Potter may be one of my fav book to movie adaptations!

    Like

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