Many book-to-movie adaptations have been the topic of heated debates for years. Passionate fans of novels, trilogies, and series have often been met with disappointment in the film counterpart-and understandably so. Seeing the story that’s stuck with you for so long become completely ruined can be frustrating. This task isn’t an easy one though. Adapting one story onto a different storytelling medium is a challenging task that many filmmakers face. Here are some examples of filmmakers who did it right, according to my Instagram followers.
The Perks of Being a Wallflower, 2012
“It’s just…accurate. [It] hurts. I love.”
This coming-of-age story revolves around the life of high school freshman Charlie and the triumphs and hardships of his life. Directed and written by the author who originally wrote the novel, this film encapsulates the beauty and tragedy of a teenager’s life. Receiving praise for Chbosky’s directional style and screenplay, as well as performances by actors Logan Lerman and Ezra Miller, this emotional film brings to light the many difficult problems that teenagers still face to this day.
Little Women, 2019
The seventh cinematic retelling of Louisa May Alcott’s iconic novel gets a modern zest in Greta Gerwig’s sophomore film. With an impressive ensemble cast consisting of Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, and Meryl Streep, this adaptation won the hearts of period drama lovers and film enthusiasts alike. The film would eventually go on to snatch multiple Oscar nominations and a win for Best Costume Design.
The Hunger Games Trilogy, 2012-2015
“It’s very accurate and doesn’t take too many creative liberties.”
“In my opinion, the movies were much better than the books, but [the books were] amazing.”
Arguably one of the most well-known young adult dystopian series in the world, Suzanne Collins’ famous trilogy was first shown on the big screen in 2012. A series ingrained into today’s pop culture, it has grossed over $2 billion dollars and mass appeal to young dystopian fans. It’s received critical praise for Jennifer Lawrence’s performance as well as the series’ overall themes and messages.
The Hate U Give, 2018
“It wasn’t perfectly done, but I get that there are a ton of things they couldn’t include. The casting was beautiful, and regardless of accuracy it [still managed to be] very powerful.”
This all-too-real drama tells the story of Starr, a young American teenager, having to deal with the death of her best friend and the events that transpire after. A realistic insight into America’s issues with police brutality, this empowering story has touched the souls of audiences of all backgrounds. The film has earned a Rotten Tomatoes ranking of 97% and high recognition for star Amandla Stenberg’s performance.
Fantastic Mr. Fox, 2009
“I think the movie perfectly captured the whimsical Roald Daul-yness.”
Anderson’s first animated film, Fantastic Mr. Fox retells the classic story of Roald Daul’s 1970’s novel. The unique visual style of Anderson’s directing skills combined with the design of the stop motion animation brings an eccentric and amusing twist on the beloved children’s book. Highly acclaimed, the film was nominated for multiple awards including the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
The Maze Runner Series, 2014-2018
“[The book isn’t] similar at all, but [it’s still] a good movie.”
Another well-known young adult dystopian series, the original five-book epic written by James Dashner got its film counterpart in 2014. Although the original book series had five parts to it, the film adaptations were transformed into a trilogy (although Disney has confirmed that new movies are in the making). The films were Wes Ball’s directional debut, and have achieved some critical approval over the past few years.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World
“Edgar Wright’s directing style really added to the overall cartoony feel [of the film].”
This fast-paced, action packed adaptation of a beloved comic book series has grown a cult following over the years. Wright’s directional style brings a hilarious and refreshing take on the graphic novel format onto the screen. With a stellar cast consisting of Michael Cera, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Kieran Culkin, Chris Evans, Anna Kendrick, Alison Pill, Brandon Routh, and Jason Schwartzman, this edgy film has captured the hearts of both audiences and critics.
What did you think? Do you agree with them or not? What are some of your favorite book-to-movie adaptations? It may seem like the books are always better, but some movies prove that going ‘off the script’ bodes well.