My 5 Favourite Film/TV Adaptations of Books

“Serious writers pretend they don’t care about film adaptations of their work, but it’s a colossal lie. We all care.” – Jean Hanff Korelitz

What’s up guys?

Friday Favourites is making a comeback in 2017! Today it’s about something that any book lover loves to talk about – TV or Film adaptations of books. It’s mainly inspired by the fact that I’ve spent the last 2 weeks binge-watching True Blood, which I’ve been meaning to watch for a very long time. I’ve read the books obviously (we all know teen fantasy fiction is right up my street), and I had seen that there was a nice amount of eye candy in the TV series. Can I just say 3 words – Eric fu*king Northman. But while I was being a total geek and thinking about all the similarities and differences between the books and the show, I got to thinking about all the other shows and films that I’ve watched but also read. I’ve picked my 5 favourite adaptations, ones that were so good that I never felt the need to voice that extremely cliche statement ‘The book was so much better’ (bleurgh). Don’t get me wrong, I say this all the time, but in my defence, I do hate myself a little bit for doing so.

So without further ado, lets get into this list.

1.Romeo + Juliet (1996)

I know that a lot of people don’t like this version of the play, including all of my secondary school English teachers who refused to show us this at school. But I’m always one for a bit of controversy, and I love this adaptation. Even though the Friar is the only one that actually speaks in the original iambic pentameter, I genuinely think that Shakespeare would be happy with this version if he ever saw it. It’s hard to describe but I really think Baz Luhrman perfectly captures the mood and the essence of the play through his direction. It’s not just about the words, it’s about the score/soundtrack (which is so good), and the symbolism and imagery he captures through the cinematography. It’s how he makes you feel when you watch it. I can’t be the only one who gets shivers when Romeo and Juliet first catch sight of each other through the fish tank, or when they share their first kiss in the elevator. Obviously the casting of Leonardo DiCaprio has a little to do with that, but I like to think that I’m not shallow enough for that to be the only reason.

2. The Vampire Diaries (2009-present)

This is a perfect example of (please don’t shoot me) a TV adaptation that surpasses the book series it was based on in Every. Single. Aspect. I hate to say it, but the book series of The Vampire Diaries was just plain weird. It gets way too mythical and spiritual (read: just plain confusing), the plot is very average and Elena is actually a really un-likable character. But the TV series is so much better. Its packed full of drama, romance, violence and so much more. Also I swear it must be in the contracts of the show that you have to be beautiful to be even considered for a part. There is not one single character that was not blessed in the looks department. The one thing that annoys me about the show is it’s tagline ‘A girl is torn between 2 vampire brothers’, because it reduces the show into a petty love triangle, when it is sooooo much more than that. I highly recommend it to anyone.

3. The Girl on the Train (2016)

Whilst I enjoyed this book, I only read it because everyone was raving about it. I hate to say it, but I feel like it was really over-hyped. I didn’t think it was really stand out in it’s genre, as I’ve read other thriller/mystery books that were better. That being said, I enjoyed the film adaptation as (like with Romeo + Juliet) I feel like the essence of the book was captured really well. I was surprised at how they managed to make the film so disjointed and disorienting (like it’s supposed to be due to the  mental state of the alcoholic narrator) but somehow still making sure it made sense. I feel like some of the mystery was lost though as *SPOILER ALERT*it seemed really obvious to me that her ex was the murderer in the film. Obviously I already knew this, and I did work it out fairly early on in the book as well. But I feel like they could have made it a bit more tense. Overall though I’d say it was a successful adaptation.

4. Game of Thrones (2011 – present)

Quite possibly one of my absolute favourite TV shows of all time. I’m so grateful that my lecturer had us watch the first episode in our ‘Writing Adaptations’ module, because until then I’d avoided watching it because it sounded too gory for me. Once I’d seen the first episode though I was totally hooked. Its full of action and fantasy and some absolutely incredible episodes like The Battle of the Bastards (for some reason I really enjoy watching battle scenes- don’t ask me why). This is kind of cheating, as I’m actually still in the process of reading the books because they’re so long! I feel like I’ve been reading them forever and I’m still on the third book and I watched the entire show (so far) before I even started reading them. I think the fact I’ve watched it actually makes it harder, as I know whats going to happen most of the time, so some of the excitement is lost. But the books are still amazing, as is the TV show.

5. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013)

I have to say first of all that I am impressed with how Peter Jackson managed to make a relatively small children’s book into three exceedingly long films. He added a whole load more drama and little storylines to a quite simple story, and made the spectacle that is The Hobbit Trilogy. Even though I (again don’t shoot me) found the first one really boring and the third was not as good as I  expected, I fu*king love this one. One, it has Orlando Bloom in it, who is my ultimate crush. Two, it has Benedict Cumberbatch doing a pretty darn good job of voicing the dragon Smaug, which is also an absolute work of art in my opinion. Did you know that he had no effects altering his voice, it’s all his own raw talent? Three, it contains one of my favourite film sequences of all time, when the dwarves escape from the elves down the river in those barrels.

There are so many more I could talk about, like The Twilight series (which I love), The Hunger Games, and She’s the Man to name just a few! However, I managed to whittle it down to these 5. I also decided not to include Harry Potter in this list because I talk about it a lot and I don’t want people to realise how much of a Harry Potter geek I really am. *Hint* – I’m a massive one, but I physically couldn’t stop myself from at least mentioning it here!

Until next time,

Aimee x

 

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