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4 Great Book-To-Movie Adaptations

Updated on March 1, 2017

I hate movies based on books, especially books I've read and loved. After seeing The Lightning Thief, I came out of the movie theater wanting to kill someone. When renting The Host, I was insufferable throughout the entire movie, much to the dismay of my mother who didn't remember much about the book and how it wasn't nearly as angst ridden and had a second half that was completely ignored. (I still think that's the movie producers trying to turn it into Twilight, which pisses me off to no end because The Host is for adults, not teenagers, and actually has plot.) However, whenever I see a movie based off a book I've read, I go see the movie in the theaters or I hunt it down on Netflix or Redbox just in case it's one of the few movies that are actually good.

Anyone else feel old when they remember that this kid plays a father in Woman in Black?
Anyone else feel old when they remember that this kid plays a father in Woman in Black? | Source

Harry Potter

These movies seem to get a lot of crap, and I totally agree with people who say the books are better. The book are almost always better. However, I like these movies. I think the casting and writing is both good, and they are a quick, adequate reminder of my childhood when my dad read these books aloud to my sisters and I. I've reread the books since then and I always try and catch a Potter movie marathon on TV when I can, and I still don't see anything particularly wrong with the movies. Snape is still cold and hilarious, Dumbledore is still funny and the Weasleys are still goofy but strong characters. Even though I think they should have started splitting the books into two movies around book four or five instead of the last one, I can appreciate all the effort that went into these movies to be great all the way around instead of just the special effects.

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The Hunger Games

Best. Book-to-Movie Adaptation. Ever. I know a lot of the shallower Team Peetas think the actor looks kind of weird (I kind of agree, but it doesn't bother me too much) and I know a lot of people think Jennifer Lawrence is too melodramatic (I disagree on this one) but these are some seriously good movies. They hit all the major plot points and they can show the horrors of the Hunger Games while toning down the violence so the movies don't have to be rated R. There is very little changed and cut out as well. I like them adding the scenes so we can see what's going on outside of the arena which shows how much kids killing each other is considered entertainment, and I don't even mind the fact that these aren't in the book because it's necessary to show what's happening somehow, since quite a bit of it we learned through Katniss's inner dialogue which would have been hard to show in the movie. I'm definitely a fan of these movies and I love the story and how everything is well executed. The Hunger Games movies are definitely worth watching. (And then watching again. And again, and again...)

Pride and Prejudice

Okay, confession time: I saw the movie before I read the book. I know, I know, I'm terrible and feel free to judge me, but I was a stupid middle school student at the time, and it seemed so hard to get through those stories. But now I've read the book twice and I've seen the movie (the Kira Knightly version, that is. I've yet to see the Colin Firth one) several times and I like both a lot. I was a bit skeptical about Mr. Darcy at first because I didn't consider him that attractive but man, when he started falling for Elizabeth... let's just say I can never watch this movie with my boyfriend because he wouldn't appreciate me swooning over another man, fictional or not (understandably so).

I thought the casting was really good (sensing a trend about me and casting? Believe me, I hated the Twilight movies) and the overall mood of the movie matched the book even though they changed the language slightly to flow better in the movie. All the plot points needed were hit and there weren't any changes at all as far as I can tell, aside from Darcy's sister being not as shy in the one scene we see her in and some minor characters in the beginning eliminated. And me being a bit of a music nut, I loved all of the piano music playing in the background. Definitely a movie Jane Austen fans will love.

Sherlock Holmes

This one is a bit of a cheat because the Sherlock Holmes movies with Robert Downey Jr. don't actually follow any of the stories. However, they carry much of the same spirit as the stories, and they're entertaining to boot. I'm a huge fan of Sherlock Holmes in general and I love how much the movies use Sherlock's favorite methods with disguises, acting, and comically accurate deductions and critical thinking. Even the things they added like Holmes calmly planning out a fight in his head before executing it (including final injuries and rehabilitation time) is fantastic because it's definitely something he would do. I also liked Watson's character, because, let's face it, sometimes he seemed to worship Holmes too much in the stories to really be likable/smart and he's a bit of a bad-ass in the movies. Robert Downey Jr. is also a great fit for Sherlock as he delivers jokes and other humor very stoically and matter-of-factly.

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So, these are some of my favorite book-to-movie adaptations and while I could go on and on about the bad ones, I know a lot of others do as well and I probably don't have anything new to say. Despite the terrible adaptations out there (I'm looking at you, Lightning Thief! and you, The Host!) the good ones let me hold at least a little bit of faith in the movie industry and the Hollywood writers. And sometimes they let me track down some good books to read, like Practical Magic, The Jane Austen Book Club, and Confessions of a Wallflower. So I try to remind myself of the upside of book-to-movie movies when I come across a bad egg.

What are some of your favorites?

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    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Your age shines through in this article...the first book I thought of was To Kill A Mockingbird. :) Fun list, though.

    • Kara Skinner profile image
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      Kara Skinner 2 years ago from Maine

      Yeah, when I was writing it I realized there were a lot of YA books on there :) And I have yet to read To Kill A Mockingbird even though it's on my bookshelf, mocking me (no pun intended). I've heard it's an excellent book and I can't wait to read it. Thanks for commenting, Bill.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 2 years ago from Taos, NM

      I really enjoyed reading this hub, because I am very critical of movies that don't follow the book. I agree with most of your choices. The Hunter Game adaptions to film are great and keep with the books. I like Jennifer Lawrence's acting in her role as Katniss. I have seen Colin Firth as Darcy and he is excellent. He IS Darcy in that film version. I also like who portrayed Elizabeth but I can't remember her name now. It was a mini-series that really kept with the novel. I did not like the Keira Knightly version and I felt it did not keep with the book. One more I'd like to add because I just viewed it last week is The Giver. The movie is excellent and keeps with the book most of the time. The changes made in the film actually add to the story. It is the best film adaption of a book I have seen in a long time. It is a must see. I recommend reading the book first if you can and then see the movie, but don't miss this film. Excellent. There are very view film adaptions of books I like - just one more I remembered - "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo." This film also kept to the book pretty much. Well, I could go on forever, but I won't. Well done and a great write!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 2 years ago from Orlando, FL

      I don't know of any great book to movie adaptations...the book has always been better. I didn't read Harry Potter, but I did enjoy the movies.

    • Kara Skinner profile image
      Author

      Kara Skinner 2 years ago from Maine

      Hi, thanks for replying, Suzettenaples. I have yet to see the Colin Firth version although I want to. I have read The Giver and I liked it a lot. I do want to see the movie, even though I've heard conflicting views on it. I have yet to read or watch The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, although I'm not totally sure if I want to read it because I've heard the material is very disturbing and graphic, even though it's well-written. Thanks for commenting!

    • Kara Skinner profile image
      Author

      Kara Skinner 2 years ago from Maine

      Hi, Sunshine625. You are definitely right about the book always being better. It's hard to argue with that even though I like it when the movies do them justice :). I highly recommend reading Harry Potter if you have the time and you like reading middle grade novels. They are a lot of fun and very entertaining.

    • tom_caton profile image

      Tom Caton 2 years ago from The Desk

      Great hub, just two wee problems, Harry Potter has two capsules (the one at the end is probably not supposed to be there..) and Pride and Prejudice's capsule has no title

    • Kara Skinner profile image
      Author

      Kara Skinner 2 years ago from Maine

      Hi Tom, thank you for telling me about that. I appreciate it.

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