Some Page Turners Get the Film Adaptation They Deserve!
There is nothing more satisfying than curling up with your favorite book. We do it a lot here at Gemr. What gets us even more excited, however, is when our favorite books get turned into movies! There are plenty of excellent books that have received a film adaptation, but let’s be honest with ourselves — most of them are not quite the spectacular movies we were hoping for. So we forget they exist (and if you’re like us, bury them in the backyard in the pit of failed book movies).
Yet sometimes — once in a very rare while — we get a book adaptation that is fantastic. Dare we say it? Perhaps even better than the original. Okay, that’s going a little far, but these 10 adaptations stand out as some of the best we’ve ever seen.
The Lord of the Rings Series
These movies are so long that if you chose to watch the extended editions, you could almost finish the books before the movies. The adaptation isn’t perfect, but they do do a great service to the legacy of Tolkien. The movies take the heartbreak of the journey and the epic battles from Tolkein’s page and bring them to life. This whole film series was a grand and incredible adaptation very much worth the watch. Sure, it will take you 11 hours and 32 minutes to watch them straight through, but by the end you’ll be clutching the box set and whispering “My Precious.”
This is not a perfect adaptation, and we aren’t pretending it is. Kubrick played with the plot of he book and as far as we can tell, he considered it a loose guideline more than something he had to strictly adhere to. Stephen King didn’t like the movie version of his titular horror tale when it first debuted (though we hear it has grown on him with time), but what Kubrick created was something terrifying, unnerving, and unbelievably powerful. The movie is still frightening audiences today, and that fact alone earns it a spot on this list.
This movie is considered one of the best Scottish movies of all time, and with good reason. The plot centers around a group of people addicted to heroin living in Edinburgh. They exist in an impoverished area and the story follows their lives. While the plot may seem bleak (and still depressingly relevant 20 years later) this is a black comedy, and the laughs are well placed even if the content is dark. The book by Irvine Welsh is more of a collection of short stories than a cohesive narrative like the movie, but the film found a fantastic way to weave the stories together to form a brilliant whole.
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
The old one, not the new one with Johnny Depp (which was a little more manic than magical). This movie is an incredible interpretation of the whimsical and often disquieting world of Willy Wonka that Roald Dahl created. The plot follows Charlie, a poor boy who finds a golden ticket to see inside the mysterious Wonka candy factory. Gene Wilder was the perfect casting for the role of the simultaneously unsettling and magical Mr. Wonka, and the rest of the characters so perfectly fit their book counterparts, how could anyone deny that this was a delightful adaptation?
The first rule of Fight Club is don’t talk about Fight Club. Well, we guess we’re breaking the first (and second) rule just writing this. This movie makes us question everything, and so does the book by Chuck Palahniuk. The book and the film both follow the unnamed Narrator, who is dissatisfied with his job and suffers from insomnia. He meets a magnetic stranger named Tyler Durden who helps him start a fight club. Things spiral out of control pretty quickly, but we won’t spoil it for you. Both the film and the book make us wonder about the nature of sanity. How you can you really be sure what is real? Existential crisis aside, this is a really great adaptation and if you haven’t seen it, we recommend you do.
Gone with the Wind
This is one of the most famous adaptations of all time. The movie adapted Margaret Mitchell’s romantic epic to the silver screen in a way that enchants everyone who sees it. The story follows Scarlett O’Hara and her attempts to find love during the Civil War. This is not the happiest movie on our list, but as it is considered one of the top 10 movies of all time by the American Film Association (not to mention the fact that it won 10 Academy Awards), we really think you should make the time for this film. This movie is certainly a product of its time for better and for worse, but it’s a piece of history that is worth experiencing at least once.
Silver Linings Playbook
This delightfully quirky movie did right by its book counterpart. It brings to life the strangeness of all characters involved and shows their flaws beautifully. The story follows Pat, who has just been released from a mental hospital following the loss of his wife and job. His parents struggle to understand him and he meets a woman named Tiffany who has her own problems. Tiffany promises to help him reconnect with his ex-wife if he does a favor for her. The movie was so well reviewed, it was nominated for all of the big five Oscar categories. We hope that author Matthew Quick liked it as much as the rest of us.
The Silence of the Lambs
If you’ve ever heard someone say, “Hello, Clarice,” then you might begin to realise how deeply ingrained into our culture The Silence of the Lambs has become. This was the second Thomas Harris book about Hannibal Lecter to get a film adaptation, but it certainly is the most iconic (in our opinion). It was the first (and some say only) true horror movie to ever take all big five Academy Awards. The story follows Clarice Starling, an FBI trainee who is pulled from her training to interview Lecter. The FBI hopes that the insight he provides will help them catch another serial killer, “Buffalo Bill.” This iconic film and the book it was adapted from definitely belong in your collection.
This movie defined the horror genre. If you don’t know Dracula, perhaps you have been living in some small dark corner of the world (Transylvania perhaps?). Dracula follows the story of the vampire Dracula and his quest to leave his home in Transylvania and expand his hunting ground to Europe. He is thwarted by Van Helsing and a small group of friends who hunt him down and prevent him from achieving his goals. The movie cut out quite a lot from the book by Bram Stoker, but what it created is widely regarded as far more unnerving. It feels a little campy by today’s standards, but this movie led us on the path to the big horror films of today so we highly recommend you watch the film adaptation and read the novel in the dark.