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  1. #1
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    best and worst film adaptations

    After seeing yet another disappointing film adaption of a favorite book, I was just wondering what everyone thinks are the best and worst film adaptions they've seen. My picks:
    Best: Ghost World and The Godfather. The film version of Ghost World only vaguely resembled the comic, but it stayed really true to the characters and the spirit of the comic, and introduced many delightful new characters. It was like getting twice the Ghost World, and the more Ghost World, the better. The Godfather deserves some credit because the movie is so incredibly good while the book is so vomit-inducingly awful. I'm surprised they were even able to make something palatable from that mess.
    Worst: The Stepford Wives (the new one) and A Clockwork Orange. The newest incarnation of The Stepford Wives looked very pretty, but it was dumb as hell and completely missed the mark. By the end of the movie everyone in the theater was laughing at how ridiculously stupid it was. And A Clockwork Orange just seemed like an excuse to show boobs and blood.

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  3. #2
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    Ooooh! Good thread!

    Best adaptations: A Room with a View is one of the most faithful adaptations I've ever seen, except George is not supposed to be blonde. The adaptations of Field of Dreams (the book was actually called Shoeless Joe - and, yes, I like Field of Dreams, shut up), The Princess Bride, What's Eating Gilbert Grape?, High Fidelity, and Sense and Sensibility are some cases where I actually like the movie more than the book.

    Worst adaptations: The Age of Innocence. The movie is soooo boring, and the book is fantastic. Also interminably boring is the most recent version of A Midsummer Night's Dream, which, as a play, may be stretching the definition of "adaptation" a bit, but was still pretty dreadful. I mean, how could a movie with Rupert Everett AND Christian Bale be so bad? Come to think of it, the version of The Importance of Being Earnest with Rupert and Colin Firth was pretty bad, too. But Rupert was pretty good in An Ideal Husband, so I guess he's not totally hopeless. The Mists of Avalon minseries was utter dreck. Oh, and Ella Enchanted. What were they thinking? There are ninjas. NINJAS!

    kittensrme, if you don't mind me asking, what movie did you find so disappointing?

    Alison

  4. #3
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    Best: I really loved the movie version of High Fidelity. And redheadedali, I love Field of Dreams too, but I've not read Shoeless Joe so I can't comment on the adaptation.

    Worst: Angela's Ashes. This is my all-time favourite book so the movie had a lot to live up to in the first place, but I just found the movie very flat and dull. It was like they recreated the physical environment but they just couldn't capture the warmth, and especially the humour of the book. I liked both lead actors, so it's hard to put my finger on what went wrong. Maybe it was that most of the humour in the book comes from Frank's commentary on the events as much as the events themselves?

    Great thread!

  5. #4
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    The first ones coming to mind are:

    Best- Silence of the Lambs. The few changes from the book to the film didn't detract from the storyline. Also, they kept the main characters as intelligent on screen as they are in the book.

    Worst- Practical Magic. This is one of my favorite novels and they turned into Oprah-audience shlock. :( I even liked the casting of the main two characters, but they changed this novel into something unrecognizable. :( The book is full of intelligent women, the movie is definitely not that way.

  6. #5
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    I would have to vote for Clueless as an adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma. I didn't like the film version of Emma, and I liked that in Clueless they didn't try to be faithful (because that's so hard to do in a movie unless you have like 8 hours) -- they just took the concept and got totally creative with it, making it contemporary.

    As for the absolute worst, this is really obscure, but last fall I had to watch a film adaptation of the Spanish novel Fortunata y Jacinta. Now, the novel is long, but this film was over 12 hours! No joke. It was made for TV, but with film-quality production values, for one thing, and it was made by a pretentious director who had to be Completely Faithful to the Original in Every Possible Sense (including every single line of dialogue!). That, coupled with not understanding that movies and films are totally different genres, made for a very boring film.

    If you can't tell, I like adaptations that are made to be good movies, and that recognize the differences in genre between novel and film, not necessarily those that are faithful to the original.

  7. #6
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    i thought A Clockwork Orange was an awesome film adaptation. i thought the book was a total piece of shlocky self-indulgent shit, and the movie was great. but i like Kubrick, and i also thought that the boobs and blood were pretty integral to the meaning of the movie.

    i can't think of any film adaptations i really hated... i don't have an issue with movies straying from the book, since they're different media. i can think of a few books that i pray will never be made into films, though.

  8. #7
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    The movie that so displeased me and inspired me to start this thread was I Capture the Castle. Maybe it was because I saw the movie a few minutes after I finished the book, but it was really disappointing. I don't mind taking a little artistic license here and there, because movies really are much different than books and even to some extent plays, but it really pisses me off when the filmmakers somehow manage to change the entire mood of a story and turn it into that barely resembles the original.

  9. #8
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    I concur with High Fidelity. I also liked About a Boy and the Roman Polanski version of Tess of the d'Urbervilles.

    I really liked The Princess Diaries when it came out, but when I read the book (the first one) I realized just how much better that was. I refuse to see the sequel.

  10. #9
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    Ooh, I so agree about I Capture the Castle. The book is so charming because of Cassandra's voice and because you get to see her evolve into a grown-up and a writer. When you lose that, it's just another story about pretty English girls and their romantic woes.

  11. #10
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    Exactly, sallysunshine. And what in God's name did they do to Thomas? What an awful little child! And was it even chronologically possible for him to be as young as he was when everthing was happening? I have many more complaints, but don't want to mention them because they contain spoilers.


 
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