All that talk about whether or not I should watch the Ella Enchanted movie got me thinking. Despite the fact that I almost always like the book version of something better than its adaptation, there ARE exceptions. There are, in fact, MOVIE versions that I prefer over the books!
Here are some of my favorite movie adaptations. How I chose them was thusly: would I rather read the book, or watch the movie? If I picked “watch the movie,” it went on the list!
A classic fairy tale, with swordplay, giants, an evil prince, a beautiful princess, and yes, some kissing (as read by a kindly grandfather).
The book is really good, too, of course, but there’s just something about the movie that grabs your brain and makes you love it EVEN MORE than the book. It probably helped that the William Goldman himself wrote the screenplay!
Sally and Gillian Owens have always known they were different. Raised by their aunts after their parents’ death, the sisters grew up in a household that was anything but typical–their aunts fed them chocolate cake for breakfast and taught them the uses of practical magic. But the invocation of the Owens’ sorcery also carries a price–some call it a curse: the men they fall in love with are doomed to an untimely death. Now adult women with very different personalities, the quiet Sally and the fiery Gillian must use all of their powers to fight the family curse and a swarm of supernatural forces that threatens the lives of all the Owens women.
I think it’s the visuals that sucked me in with this movie– that house! The aunts’ outfits! Etc.! Also the book got really boring near the end while the movie…didn’t! So.
A 14-year-old is forced to become a secret agent and embarks on a thrilling adventure.
It’s a fun movie, with weird humor and James Bond-y action (and a Stephen Fry cameo). Another situation where the author wrote the screenplay– basically he cut out a lot of exposition and made it SUPER fast-paced.
The travails of Jimmy Rabbitte to form the “World’s Hardest Working Band,” The Commitments, and bring soul music to the people of Dublin, Ireland.
Basically anything with music as a centerpiece is almost always going to be better when you can actually HEAR that music at the same time you’re reading/watching the story. But that’s not only why the movie is good! The actors are fab (hey do their own singing!), there’s always something interesting to look at on the screen, and it’s a great story.
Armed with a license to kill, Secret Agent James Bond sets out on his first mission as 007 and must defeat a weapons dealer in a high stakes game of poker at Casino Royale, but things are not what they seem.
Mostly because I can’t stand Ian Fleming’s writing (except for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang) and I love Daniel Craig.
Tied for awesome:
Matilda, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory). Roald Dahl‘s writing will always be better than the adaptation of it, but these movies are perfectly enjoyable and some of my favorites besides.
Do YOU like any movie adaptations better than the book they’re adaptated from? Which are your favorites?