It seems like every film nowadays comes with the standard “Based on the best-selling novel” byline in their credits. For every “Harry Potter” there is a forgettable adaptation of another beloved bestseller that makes you wonder how the filmmakers could have gotten it so wrong. All they had to do was follow the book, right? In any case, here are my top three picks for best and worst book to screen adaptations:
Best: “Pride & Prejudice” (2005)
Jane Austen wrote the definitive template for nearly every modern romantic pairing. “P&P” is the enduring story of a misunderstood man who falls for a headstrong woman. It has been adapted many times over. While many consider the Colin Firth led edition to be the definitive version, the streamlined Matthew Macfadyen and Keira Knightley version holds a special place in my heart. The beautiful settings, impeccable casting and lovely musical score come together to create a luscious romantic tale. Comparatively, some of the minor storylines are dropped or rearranged for the sake of time and the ending is a creative invention crafted specifically for the film. However, by narrowing the original story’s focus, it only helped make the film more engrossing for audiences.
Best: “The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones” (2013)
Technically, this has not been released yet (Aug. 23) but based on the extended clips and trailers for the first book in Cassandra Clare’s series this film seems to have survived the transition to screen. It’s based on the story of Clary Fray, a young girl who discovers she is a shadowhunter who can see and slay demons. While it appears filmmakers did tinker with certain scenes, wherein characters that are not present in the book are involved, such as the confrontation with the vampires at the Dumort, everything else looks right on. All the actors seem to be perfectly cast. Jamie Campbell Bower’ s witty line delivery and presence embody Jace, meanwhile the same goes for Lily Collins as Clary.
Worst: ” Twilight ” (2008)
Full disclosure: I love the “Twilight Saga”. The story of lovelorn vampire Edward Cullen (Robert Pattinson) and human Bella Swan (Kristen Stewart) is addictive. However, the first film entry in the series is the weakest of the saga. The book had its flaws to overcome but the film made those worse and added more into the mix. The villains were not built up to be any significant threats, like the Volturi later were, and superfluous characters were added for random reasons. Also, in some instances, character descriptions were completely ignored. Jasper, Jacob and the villains were all off target. Honestly though, those minor infractions could have been forgiven if it was not for the worst offenses: the shaky camera work and the blue filter tint. If they had gotten rid of just those two headaches the movie would be improved by leaps and bounds.
What are your favorite/least favorite adaptations? Sound off below!