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Saturday, February 1, 2014

February's Poll: Best Movie Adaptation (WRITE IN)

What is the BEST movie adaptation of a book or novella?

It's time to start writing in nominations for February's poll. Think of that movie (or miniseries) you thought was just a perfect adaptation of a book (or novella). Game of Thrones? Shawshank Redemption? Carrie? Stand by Me? Interview With a Vampire?

As usual, I am not going to "police" your nominations.  I'll assume that if you believe that the changes made to a movie from a book (and they all have some) were good decisions on the part of the movie makers, that you have rational reasons for thinking so. I'm not going to "veto" anyone for their choices*.

However, I would everyone to keep in mind that this is not about good movies.

Plenty of good movies are based on books, but that doesn't mean they are true to their source material. The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo is an excellent movie, but the novel is like trying to read a phone book. And the last three Harry Potter books are arguably better as movies. This is about good adaptations and so integrity with source material must be considered. Most movies not based on a novella will have to cut something, but consider what they cut and why in making your nomination.

*Actually that veto thing above isn't exactly true. If you nominate World War Z, I will have to find you and do the burning dog poop trick on you. Or at least do like thirty reps of power facepalms. Also insta-veto.

FOR EXAMPLE: If you liked Lord of the Rings, that's awesome. The movies and the books were both incredible for different reasons. However, if we look at the movie compared to the books lots of stuff was taken out (Tom Bombadil, Glorfindel, the scouring of the Shire), lots of stuff was added in (the romance sub-plot, elves at Helm's Deep) and many characters were altered substantially (Aragorn, Gandalf). While some of the changes were mostly cosmetic and added to the cinematic pacing of the three movies (like having Boromir killed by Lurtz instead of many unnamed orcs) in some cases even major thematic elements were altered (the grim determination of the Lords of the West struggling against Sauron vs. the movie's abandonment of all hope or the general shock everyone has about Sauron being back even though the events of The Hobbit were intended to check Sauron's easy incursion from the north). If someone thinks that despite these difference Lord of the Rings should be the best movie adaptation of a book, I'll take the nomination, but please keep the source material in mind.

I will be adding STARDUST to the list.

Everyone may nominate TWO (2) movies. You may also "second" as many nominations of others as you wish. I have a feeling this will be a popular topic, so the movies that end up going on will probably have multiple "seconds." Be sure to check back and give "secondings" to the movies you think should be on our poll.

As usual, I will break any ties with people who nominated their movies here in the comments rather than on other social media.

Also please take a moment to vote on January's poll if you haven't yet. (Who is the best contemporary science fiction author?)  I will keep that open until Tuesday when I post the results.


  1. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe.
    Remo Williams, The Adventure Begins

  2. The Princess Bride - the author wrote the screenplay immediately after he wrote the book.

  3. 2001: A Space Odyssey. Arthur C. Clarke wrote the book at the same time as the movie! :)
    Also, we're not voting for best movie, right? So The Godfather wouldn't count because nobody reads the book?

    1. I kind of want to read it, but it's not high up on my reading list.

  4. Replies
    1. Honestly? I was seriously considering nominating Twilight and then I thought about how many people mock that series and I fully admit that they're not great books, but.... that's not the criteria stated here. The Twilight movie is hella faithful to the book and given the source material it really is good and improved on it in subtle but significant ways. So second Twilight.

      I haven't read Hunger Games yet so I can't speak to that.

  5. The Prestige
    V for Vendetta

    Both make changes to the source material that increase the impact of the story considerably. And The Prestige has David Bowie in it being weird.

  6. I gotta take the horror angle here because I am me. I know some people hated it but I really really loved the movie adaptation of Stephen King's Christine. It happens to be my favorite of his books and the movie version preserves so much of what I loved about it, up to and including their version of Leigh looking EXACTLY like I pictured her in my head when I read the book.

    Second nomination is for the 1979 version of Dracula with Frank Langella. So many adaptations of Dracula, I love them all, but that one has always stood out to me as the most faithful to the book both in terms of the plot and of the atmosphere.

  7. On the basis that "miniseries" is included in the criteria, I'm going to say that a faithful and excellent adaptation of a novel is ITV's adaptation of "Curtain: Poirot's Last Case" starring David Suchet. Not sure if that's available to viewers in the USA yet, but it deserves to be in the running.

  8. American Psycho or Bridget Jones' Diary.

  9. Oh I was hoping someone would nominate that one. I enthusiastically second!

  10. I will second 2001: A Space Odyssey and the 1979 Dracula.

  11. Cider House Rules (John Irving) - which only partially makes up for the horrible thing they did in trying to make A Prayer for Owen Meany into a movie.

    Catching Fire (Suzanne Collins) - i actually think they altered Hunger Games quite a bit, but were pretty faithful with this one.

  12. Grapes of Wrath, John Ford/Steinbeck, wasn't bad; To Kill a Mockingbird; In Cold Blood (movie w Robt Blake, who got too many ideas); Apu Trilogy (Ray)

  13. I debated on nominating To Kill a Mockingbird, then decided to hope someone else would. I heartily second this too.

  14. I will second Fight Club. I thought the changes were just about perfect. Might have even made the movie better in a lot of ways.

  15. I know the limit's 2, but I just thought of A Clockwork Orange... feel free to replace Congo with it.