Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of the bloggers at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join. All they ask is that you link back to The Broke and the Bookish on your own Top Ten Tuesday post AND add your name to the Linky widget so that everyone can check out other bloggers lists! If you don't have a blog, just post your answers as a comment. Have fun with it! It's a fun way to get to know your fellow bloggers.

Top Best (no particular order)

1 & 2 - Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea

Long before I ever read a single book in the Anne of Green Gables series, I watched Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea on public television. These movies, based upon Lucy Maud Montgomery's books, made me fall in love with the imaginative and feisty red-headed orphan who attracted the attention of Gilbert Blythe.

Though I love the books, I always felt the creation of the way Gilbert and Anne's romance developed in the second movie and how the characters of Christine Stewart and Morgan Harris were adapted for to play more pivotal roles made for a more romantic tale. I also can't read about Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert without picturing Colleen Dewhurst and Richard Farnsworth.

3 - The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe

The first of the new Narnia movies was stupendous for many reasons. The acting was superb. The special effects amazing. The battle scene--wow! I simply loved this movie. I've watched it multiple times. Our DVD has commentaries, which I also enjoy watching from time to time.

I'm so glad they remade this movie for a contemporary audience. If you want to read all my thoughts on it, you can visit http://www.thebusymomsdaily.com/2011/09/movie-review-chronicles-of-narnia-lion.html

4 - The Green Mile

Stephen King's books can be so hard to make into good movies, but they knocked it out of the park with The Green Mile. My husband and I read the books when they first came out in multiple installments instead of a complete book.

This is a superbly told, but very dark story about a man convicted of murder who is now sitting on death row. The man, John Coffey, also has a mysterious gift.

I feel the selection of actors for this movie was crucial to its success, because it takes place in a jail (on death row) and some of the characters are downright evil. It's a moving story from beginning to end.

5 -  The Hunger Games

I am not a fan of dystopian fiction, so when my daughter asked if she could read this book, I wasn't sure what to say. She was only 10 at the time and I had heard some things that made me want to say no. In the end, I decided we could read them together. This opened a new reading experience for me, as I discovered not all books in this genre could be lumped into the same basket.

Whenever I truly enjoy a book. I'm afraid a movie is going to destroy it. Such was not the case with The Hunger Games. Though I felt some things were lost in the movie that were important to me in the book, I still loved the movie and am looking forward to seeing the sequel this fall. You can read my complete thoughts on the movie at http://www.thebusymomsdaily.com/2012/04/movie-review-hunger-games-2012.html

6 - Gettysburg 

The Battle of Gettysburg is considered a turning point in the Civil War. Pulitzer Prize-winning author, Michael Shaara, made this battle the focus of his historical novel, The Killer Angels, which was adapted for the big screen in 1993 in the movie, Gettysburg. I had watched the movie long before I read the book, but my enjoyment of each led to me purchasing the three book series from Michael and Jeff Shaara that includes a prequel and a sequel to The Killer Angels.

I believe this is the first movie where I saw Jeff Daniels play a dramatic role. He would return to his role as Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain in the movie, Gods and Generals, in 2003, which is the prequel to The Killer Angels.

7 - The Thorn Birds

I still remember the scandal when The Thorn Birds mini-series starring Richard Chamberlain played during Holy Week that led to Easter Sunday in 1983. I was a few months shy of my 15th birthday, and my mother was a huge fan of Richard Chamberlain's, so I knew I would be tuning in.

This movie totally captivated me. And though I'm not sure I would be comfortable with my girls seeing this movie at 15, I ended up liking it so much, I scooped my mother's copy of McCullough's book off the shelf and read it within days of the movie's end.

I was a bit disappointed that Ralph in the book looked nothing like Richard Chamberlain, but there was so even more of the story to learn in 688 pages versus the movie. I've read The Thorn Birds several times, though at this point, I skip some of the narrative so I can dig right into the dialogue. I also have the movie on tape, so I can watch it from time to time.

As an aside, the movie, The Thorn Birds: The Missing Years, aired in 1996. It takes place in the middle of the events from the book and original movie. Though Richard Chamberlain reprised his role as Father Ralph, Meggie Cleary O'Neil's part was played by Amanda Donohoe instead of Rachel Ward. McCullough was not thrilled about this new mini-series. And honestly, it made no sense at all, since there were no "missing years" from the original story. Though the book didn't cover the years in which these events take place, they are also totally inconsistent with the original story. Father Ralph and Meggie didn't see one another when Meggie's son was a boy. Ralph didn't meet Dane until he was a young man. While I have this mini-series on tape, I never watch it.

8 - A Christmas Carol

Though A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens has been made and remade into numerous film adaptations, my favorite is the 2000 version starring Patrick (Captain Picard) Stewart as Ebenezer Scrooge.

I actually didn't read the book until my son had it as a reading assignment in high school. It was one of those books I always meant to read but never got to. Stewart was so convincing as Scrooge and this movie stayed close to the book.

9 - Stephen King's It

Creepy clowns should be outlawed, but Stephen King created one in the late 1980s that preyed on children in the town of Derry, Maine. The book was made into a TV movie in 2002 starring Richard (John Boy Walton) Thomas, the late John Ritter, and Richard Masur.

This is one of the few instances where I like the movie a bit better than the book. While I read the book cover-to-cover, I had some trouble getting through it. I felt the movie was exceptionally done.

10 - The Stand

The Stand by Stephen King is my all time favorite book. If you're going to commit to reading a book that is over 1100 pages, you darn well better enjoy it. I can definitely say I did, even if the first 600 pages were tough.

In 1994, The Stand was made into a TV mini-series starring Gary Sinise and Molly Ringwald. Though I wasn't thrilled with some of the changes they made in the movie, overall this book made it well to the small screen. I wasn't sure how it would be because so much of what happens in the novel takes place in dreams. Though they kept some of that element, the movie depended more upon interactions between people to move the story along.

The DVD for this movie was released in June. It's a definite must for King fans. For those who aren't into the horror genre, this is an excellent choice if you want to see what King is made of because it isn't a blood and gore novel or movie. It's about a "superflu" wiping out more than 90% of the earth's population and how the survivors cope with the fallout.


Anonymous said...

I really like the Hunger Games movie and the first Narnia movie. The second one (Caspian) was just disappointing.


TerriBruce said...

How did I not know they had made a movie of The Thorn Birds?! I read (and loved) that when I was about 15, too ("borrowed" my mom's copy). LOL - now that I think back, I was reading a lot of age-inappropriate stuff at 15 (a lot of V.C. Andrews), stuff I definitely wouldn't let my kids read! LOL!

I never read It, but I do love the movie. I think my favorite "Christmas Carol" version has to be the Muppet One - LOL! :-)

Cheryl said...

I was disappointed with Caspian, too, though Dawn Treader was better.

I read a lot of V.C. Andrews in my teens, too, Terri. I was also reading the John Jakes Kent Family Chronicles series in high school. My father probably wouldn't have been thrilled if he knew.