I was recently in a discussion about if I thought movies were ever better than their written counterparts (otherwise know as books). As a rule, I would say, “No, the book is better.” However, every once in a while, there is a movie that exceeds the original storyline, or perhaps a storyline that is so exceptionally acted, staged or produced, that it enriches the author’s intent. To augment our discussion, we looked at the lists of others, mostly based on author’s reactions to the films. In my experience, this requires something more than the author’s stamp of approval, therefore, I decided to compile my own list.
Atonement by Ian McEwan – Achieving a difficult task because this book was very well written. The acting and narration are what put the movie over the top. The pain that the narrator expresses is acute and pulls veiwers into her sorrow long after the credits roll.
Stardust by Neil Gaiman – This amazing writer pens stories for a myriad of media and this particular story I thought was written for the screen! The story, the acting and action, the drama and humor was beautifully illustrated in the film!
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larson – The stateside release of this movie cut out a huge amount of the politics that slowed the story down (in my opinion). The film itself was well acted, dramatic and painfully believable.
The Bad Beginning (A Series of Unfortunate Events) by Lemony Snicket – I wanted so much to like this book when I picked it up years ago when I worked for B. Dalton and we got an advanced copy in for the staff to read. I found the sentance structure stilted and the plot details poorly constructed. A fine plot idea and some delicious dark humor couldn’t make up for what was lacking. I think Jim Carey created a character that was more applealing for audiences and the general plot was better demonstrated in the film.
Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton – Although the character’s gave up some of their more logical characteristics (the anthropologist’s like / dislike of children: book / movie respectfully), they served to drive the plot and create an interest and connection to the viewing audience that Crichton didn’t quite achieve.
These movies did justice to the books
- The Color Purple by Alice Walker
- The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
- Princess Bride by William Goldman
- Hunger Games by Susanne Collins
- Dolores Claiborne by Stephen King
- Breakfast at Tiffany’s by Truman Capote (for the stunning performance by Audrey Hepburn)
- Shrek by William Steig (A good picture book that inspired hours of film entertainment)