Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Favorite Books into Movies

This week, since Hansel & Gretel is getting turned into a movie, and we're talking about the fairy tale, we thought adaptations would be appropriate to bring into the mix.  So today, it's favorite book/movie combination.

A Walk To Remember was one movie that I saw in which I hadn't read the book first.  I saw the movie and, if you've ever seen it, you'll understand why I bawled like a small child when I watched it.  It's about a girl, Jamie, diagnosed with Leukemia, and she falls in love with a boy, Landon... who then essentially helps her complete her bucket list. 

Why the cry, you may ask?  Well, he helps her do things like "be in two places at once" (they straddle the state line.)  She wants to get a tattoo, so he gives her a temporary one.  She wants to see this star, so he builds her a telescope to do so.  And, just when you think it can't get anymore heartwarming, when her father tries to tell Landon to shove off, Landon tells her father that he's not going anywhere, that he plans to stay with her until the end.

It's sweet and heartwarming and sad and just when you think you can't cry anymore, Jamie's father tells Landon that "[he was] her miracle."  Seriously, if you don't cry during this movie, you have no heart.

The book was also very good.  It kept pretty closely to what the movie had been.  It's nice because the book fills in a few gaps that the movie didn't put in (mainly for time.)  However, at the end of the day, I preferred the movie.  It went into more detail about her bucket list than the book did and I liked the things they chose for the movie than the book.  But they're both good, both amazing to read/watch and, probably, my favorite movie/book duo.

It was really hard for me to pick between two choices this week. I really love V for Vendetta. But I only recently read the book, and having done so, there are a lot of things different between the book and the movie that I'm not sure I love, so I have to go with my go-to feel-good movie: Little Women.

I watch this movie around Christmas every year, because it feels Christmassy (despite taking place over at least a decade). I also watch it several more times throughout the year. It's a comfort thing.

I first saw the movie when I was in elementary school, but I didn't read the book (by Louisa May Alcott) until I got a Kindle a few years ago. (It was free to download, so I really didn't have any excuse not to read it.)

The book and the movie feel the same. Not every scene from the book is reflected in the movie and not everything in the movie is directly from the book, but it gives me the same feeling, and I love that.

The book uses a sort-of framing device of a book called The Pilgrim's Progress (which I want to read but haven't gotten around to). The girls each receive a copy from their mother, and it drives them to better themselves of their own volition (instead of being told to).

Winona Ryder plays my favorite character in this film (Jo, who I think I may have been in another life), plus she's Susanna Kaysen in Girl, Interrupted, another of my favorite book-to-movie adaptations.

Her acting is the only reason I feel like I should be
eating an orange when I'm writing. Seriously, I do.
On top of that, you have Susan Sarandon as Mrs. March, and if she isn't just the best mother-role actress ever... Plus you have a young Kirsten Dunst as Amy, Claire Danes as Beth, and Christian Bale (pre-Batman, pre-on-set-freakout) as Laurie. They all work really well together and were perfectly cast.

Like Cassy said above, the book is nice because it fills in some gaps and adds extra information, but the movie is cohesive enough to give you a complete story.


Tell us in the comments (or Tweet it to us @reviewmetwice): What's your favorite book-to-movie adaptation?


  1. This is really hard, because I have enjoyed most book/movie adaptions that I've read/seen. However, often times I see movies without knowing they are books (ie Fight Club) or I saw the movie without ever having read the book (V, Dracula. However, The Princess Bride would have to be one of my favorites. It is in my top five favorite movies, and the book is almost the exact same. The book gives more backstory on smaller characters like Fezzik and Inigo, which is great, but definitely not needed in the movie. Golding frames the book as if he is abridging an old fairy tale and often pokes fun at books from way back when and how they have a lot of chapters about pointless things.

    I also liked 'The Girl with the Pearl Earring' and 'The Other Boleyn Girl' movies, as they are also good books.

    I have yet to actually read the book "The Secret Garden" but there are two movie versions out there, one that is closer to the book, and the one that is a better movie. I prefer the latter.

    Also, I really enjoyed both versions of "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter." Neither can be considered great pieces of art/literature or anything, but I thought the movie was pretty accurate to the book. The differences between the two made sense and I liked the book more, but the movie was fun and enjoyable.

    Alex, I like that version of 'Little Women' a lot, and I have not read the entire book, but I don't like the ending of the movie at all. I hear they expand more on Jo's relationship with the German guy in the book more, which is good because it felt rushed in the movie.

    Cassy, I have not read "A Walk to Remember" but I did see the movie years ago. It was a pretty sad. But I don't remember the details.

    I'll give an honorable mention to 'Atonement' and 'The Da Vinci Code.' Pretty good adaptions, but not the best ever.

    1. You really like "The Other Boleyn Girl" movie? The books I love but I think the movie just strayed so far from the book, I couldn't really handle it. That's how it is a lot with books to movie for me. I get that their two separate things, but if they completely mess up the book, I can't deal.

      There are a lot of movies I end up seeing before the book, which then inspires me to read the book. Movies can work really well in that way too (for instance, I saw the movie I am Legend and then decided to read the book.)

      I haven't read The Princess Bride yet, but I own the movie and have heard nothing but good things about the book.

    2. Yes I did like "The Other Boleyn Girl." They did change some things and leave other things out (most notably, George's sexuality) but I think overall it got the main elements of the story. Although, as a film, it doesn't stand up as well to other films in general, but I think it was decent.

      I see a lot of movies first as well, which often inspires me to read the book. There is one movie adaption I refuse to see though. "The Time Travelers Wife." That was one of the saddest books I've ever read, and I just don't think the movie would come anywhere close to how things went in my head. I had such a strong reaction to imagining what it would look like, that I don't think I could stand actually seeing it.

  2. I am hesitant about reading "The Shining" after seeing the movie (the one with Jack Nicholson) so many times, but because it's Stephen King, I really really want to read it. Usually with his stories, and horror stories in general, I've noticed the books tend to be scarier than the movies--mostly because in the books you actually read what the protagonist is thinking and feeling. Of course if the acting is good the emotions come out in the movie, but a lot of the time the book does it better in those cases.

    I had a hard time separating the books from the movies when it came to "Harry Potter". I understood the whole thing about leaving little things out in the interest of time, but what bothered me the most was what was done with movies 3 and 6 (of these two though I think 3 was better). With number 3 they at least kept important elements (even though not all of them were explained on screen--I had a friend go and see that one with me and she had never read the books, so I had to explain to her what was going on after the fact). Number 6 was just so unbelievably bad as an adaptation that it was the only one I did not see more than once, and it is the only one I have not bought. As a movie number 6 was ok, as far as the acting and the special effects, but that's about it. With something like "Harry Potter" though I tend to be very critical.