The Ultimate Plot Twist: When Movies are as Good as the Books

So, today is Tuesday, and I was really, really, really (when there is three reallys, you know that I’m serious in a way that two reallys could never match) ready to participate in the Top 10 Tuesday meme for my first time, this blog not being old enough to have participated in last Tuesday’s. Unfortunately, when I wondered over to the Broke and the Bookish (the blog that hosts the event) I found that this week’s prompt is nearly identical to a post I wrote a few days ago. Not wanting to be redundant, I’m opting out this week. Hopefully, next week I’ll get to participate. I’m not sure if I can though, as I’m vacationing in Michigan right now, and sources of Wi-Fi are few and far in-between. 😮 (The horror, I know!) Any-hoo, (do people still say that?), since I’m not doing the Top 10 List provided this week, I thought it’d be kind of fun to do a different list.

Lately, I’ve seen a lot of blog posts condemning movies that were awful, especially in comparison to the book. And now, let’s be honest, this is a LOT of movies. It’s so hard to capture the magic that exists in the original book, even though many movies strive to make an honest attempt. However, sometimes, through a combination of fantastic acting, great editorial details, solid directing, and a little luck, movies actually do succeed in paying homage to the books they come from. Sometimes, in fact, they are even better than the book itself. This, however, does not happen enough times (in my opinion) to make a decent list, so for now I’m going to say that this is a list of movies that lived up to all the expectations that I set up. These movies did not crush my hopes, and my dreams. They did not produce enough frustrated tears to fill my pillowcase at night, and they did not (I hope) make any authors wish they had never had their book optioned in the first place. These movies are seriesously good. They came from fantastic originals, and if they didn’t quite beat those originals, they didn’t disappoint.

1. The Devil Wears Prada 

Devil Wears Prada

I am a huge fan of the light and fluffy original. I’ve read it about three or four times across the past few years, and it paired with chocolate is the perfect pick me up. The movie is a bit more intense to watch. Meryl Streep and Anne Hathaway’s emotions can be felt from outside the screen, and the ending is a bit more gratifying to the part of me that wanted Miranda to have half a heart. You know what would be so awesome? Reading the book while watching the movie…AT THE SAME TIME. Wait, actually, that sounds like a stupid idea. But you get my point.

2. Alice in Wonderland

I think I liked the book just a bit more, because it contains some great quotes and is just endlessly fascinating, but I think Disney did a good job in capturing the Am-I-on-Acid feel that they were going with, and the Cheshire Cat in the movie haunted my dreams for weeks, in the way that he was meant to haunt people. Love both mediums.

3. Catching Fire 

Catching Fire

I hated the first Hunger Games movie.

Okay, maybe I didn’t hate it–it takes a lot for me to actually hate something–but it definitely disappointed me, and I wasn’t that excited for Catching Fire. But I went. And I cried. Multiple times. Some times out of sorrow, but other times out of pure joy. It was so much better than the first movie. It actually acted as a companion to the real Catching Fire, and not like a parody. Jennifer Lawrence is a great actor, and there were lots of parts where she sent chills down my spine. Plus, I loved seeing the different deathly challenges in the arena came alive from the page to the movie. Great greatness.

4. The Princess Bride 

This was hard for me to put on the list, because the Princess Bride is one of my most favorite books in the history of ever. I love it. I lurrrrve it. It transformed my life, it transformed me, and I want it to transform everybody else I come into contact with. That’s how much I love this book.

And so it’s with grudging respect that I say the movie was also fantastic. It stuck very closely to the feel of the book, hit as many of the major plot points as a two-hour movie is to be expected, and the quotes that I needed to be in the movie were in the movie. It’s not my favorite movie of all time, but it does make the Top 10 list, so I had to put it on here, especially because I know that some people actually do prefer the movie to the book. A quick note, though, if you haven’t read the Princess Bride yet, read it. There shall be no regrets.

5. *Cheating Round* Pretty Little Liars (A TV show, I know)

Unknown-7

It’s been so hard to come up with books that I’ve read that had movie versions that were roughly on the same level. So forgive me, but I’m going to cheat a little and go with a TV show this time. The Pretty Little Liars series was great (the ones that I read anyways. There came a point when I was overwhelmed at how many news one were coming out, one after the other after the other that I eventually gave up and moved on) with their multiple perspectives and insight into each girl’s life. But the TV version is one of my favorite shows to binge watch on Netflix. Because you can’t see the beauty that is Ezra in the book versions. You just can’t. Same goes for Damon in the Vampire Diaries. When beauty is incarnated on the screen, it has to make it on the list.

…oh, and the plot is good too, you know.


 

So, what do you think?

Am I being totally sacrilegious, or are there a couple of movies that you think paid decent homage to the books? If so, which ones, and why? Tell me, I love to hear from you guys!

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14 thoughts on “The Ultimate Plot Twist: When Movies are as Good as the Books

  1. Cheat round again: Game of Thrones. The show follows well with the books. Of course it leaves out details here and there, but each book is almost one thousand pages long. Both are equally epic.

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    • I’ve heard tons of good things about Game of Thrones. I am in the process of reading the books, but since I’m so late to the TV series I haven’t been able to find a way to watch them. I might have to splurge and buy the DVDS!

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  2. Hmmm honestly the book is ten times better but I’d have to say that the Harry Potter movies never disappointed me. Also I was very weary about watching Ender’s Game but the movie turned out to be pretty decent! I can honestly say that ALL of the pride and prejudice movies, even the black and white 1950’s version lived up to my expectations… Perfect depictions of the characters! Love this post btw!

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    • Yeah, the Harry Potter movies are classics in their own way, mainly because I love the books so much that I can’t help but love the movies. I’ve never watched Ender’s Game, but I loved the book! Yeah, Pride and Prejudice fits so nicely on screen, really brings the characters alive! 😀
      And thank you!

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  3. I totally agree with Catching Fire, and now I feel even more guilty that I still haven’t read The Princess Bride. I loved the film so much, so I really need to get round to reading the book.

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  4. I was really disappointed with The Hunger Games movie too, I didn’t hate it but I was pretty close to it. I went into Catching Fire with low expectations and it ended up becoming a favourite movie of mine, not just a favourite adaptation! That movie is so well done, has made me so excited to see what they do with Mockingjay now. I also love Devil Wears Prada and think the movie is very well done. I also think that they did a brilliant job with Fight Club, Perks of Being a Wallflower and Life of Pi – those were all adapted brilliantly.

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    • Yes, I’m waiting for Mockingjay, but just barely. Can hardly contain myself! 🙂 Ah man, I totally forgot about Life of Pi. I loved that movie, and same with Perks of Being a Wallflower. Both so well done. I’ve never seen or read Fight Club, but I heard it’s a classic so I must get to it eventually.

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  5. For me it was the Forrest Gump movie that was more outstanding than the book. The book wandered a little, but the movie kept itself together 🙂

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