Author Topic: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa  (Read 1106 times)  

Offline Matt Khourie

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Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« on: April 25, 2017, 07:37:17 PM »
Had the age old discussion at work today. You all know the one: how the movie version always ruins things one way or the other. I usually mention The Mist as a pretty decent exception. In fact, I think I read somewhere that Stephen King said he wished he came up with the ending they shot for the movie instead of the one he'd written.

Anyone wanna share a particularly annoying movie version of a great book? Or even better, a great movie that either did the novel justice or blew it away?

Offline The Hooded Claw

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2017, 09:14:15 PM »
As a kid, I loved the Miss Polifax series of spy novels. The first one of these was made into a movie, "Miss Polifax--Spy." The movie was awful, bad enough that even at age 12 I realized it wasn't very good. On the other hand, I reread the novel it was taken from a year or so ago, and still thoroughly enjoyed it! Looking at the few online comments about this deservedly forgotten film, I see that most commenters share my opinion. On the other hand, I see that the movie had Darrin McGavin in it, who I always liked. I'm glad his career survived this film, so he could go on with The Night Stalker tv series a few years later!

In the other direction, I've always really liked the old movie, "Von Ryan's Express." I had a chance to read the book the movie was based on, and it bored me. Go figure!

These are both probably older examples than people had in mind, but what the heck....

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #2 on: April 25, 2017, 11:13:59 PM »
One of the worst book-to-movie translations in my opinion was Nightwing. The book by Martin Cruz Smith was scary/suspenseful, but the movie was laughable. Mainly because of the bat puppets on wires (flap....flap.....flap) by Carlo Rambaldi. Even the presence of David Warner couldn't save this one.
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Offline HammerholdTales

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2017, 10:45:43 AM »
I grew up reading Harry Potter, it was the first series that really got me interested in fantasy. I've always enjoyed the movies, because they were like getting to see a glimpse of the wizarding world, but when Half Blood Prince came out I was so dissapointed. Sure, the other movies left parts out, that's to be expected, but the sixth movie completely changed everything. They did not portray the kids in the same fantasy light as much, the story elements were completely different, the battle for Hogwarts was more of a march of Death Eaters... I could go on, but my point is, I believe that the movie adaptation of Half Blood Prince is the worst I've ever seen.
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Offline Amethyst

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2017, 11:00:30 AM »
I hated the movie versions of both The Count of Monte Cristo and John Carter. I really like both and the movies totally butchered them.

On the other hand I thought the movie version of The Lord of the Rings series was done very well. The Hobbit not so much - they changed to much of the story.

Offline HammerholdTales

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2017, 11:22:06 AM »
Quote
On the other hand I thought the movie version of The Lord of the Rings series was done very well. The Hobbit not so much - they changed to much of the story.

I agree, the second Hobbit movie was another peeve of mine. They made Smaug look so stupid, and I hated the made up love triangle they threw in there as a fan service. I never even saw Battle of the Five Armies.
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Online Mike D. aka jmiked

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2017, 11:40:59 AM »
I hated the movie versions of both The Count of Monte Cristo [snip]


Which movie version? There have been half-a-dozen of them.
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Offline Amethyst

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2017, 11:43:00 AM »
The 2002 movie (of The Count of Monte Cristo) with  Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce and  Richard Harris.

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2017, 12:35:52 PM »
Yes, the Caviezel one wasn't great. It had good production values, but changed the story too much for my taste.

One that I liked was the 1998 four-part French TV series starring (of all people) Grard Depardieu. True, it was sub-titled, so not to everyone's liking. They couldn't resist changing the ending on even that one (IIRC). And of course they had to leave a lot out, even 400 minutes isn't enough for the entire story.

Have you read an un-abridged version of the book?
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Online Lorri Moulton

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2017, 12:39:10 PM »
Worst book to movie...Watership Down.  My favorite book (ever) and the movie was a huge disappointment.  Granted, they didn't have the technology, but it was so NOT the book.  After seeing the new Jungle Book, I have hope that someone may try again.
« Last Edit: April 26, 2017, 12:41:02 PM by Lorri Moulton »

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Offline Amethyst

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2017, 01:49:45 PM »
Yes. I own a Hardback copy of what I am fairly certain is an unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo.  I had to hunt quite a while to find it - most versions seem to be abridged to one degree or other and I hate reading abridged stories.

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2017, 05:42:33 PM »
Yes. I own a Hardback copy of what I am fairly certain is an unabridged version of The Count of Monte Cristo.  I had to hunt quite a while to find it - most versions seem to be abridged to one degree or other and I hate reading abridged stories.

Several years ago I bought a copy that was a new translation from the original source material, done around 1995. Apparently, previous translations contained many errors that had been perpetuated over the years. It's around 1200 pages in the print version (I read the Kindle version). It was great, although at 1200 pages, I had to break it up into two reading sessions a month or so apart. I'm not generally fan of long books.  ;D
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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #12 on: April 26, 2017, 07:07:44 PM »
Another unsuccessful adaptation of a book was the Will Smith version of I am Legend. Of the 4 or 5 versions that have been made, I liked the 1964 one with Vincent Price the best.
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Offline WHDean

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2017, 08:02:59 AM »
Stephen King should get an award for most good books made into bad movies and TV. I've just seen a trailer for It. I wonder whether they'll do a better job this time.



 

 

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2017, 09:07:35 AM »
The Hunt for Red October. I read the book first and enjoyed it immensely, stayed up all night to finish it, but I think the movie is even better.

The Outlaw Josey Wales has long been one of my favorite movies. I watch it again now and then. Recently in a fit of desperation because I couldn't find a western I wanted to read, I read the book it's based on. Also good, but I like the movie better. IMO it evokes more sympathy for Wales because it's not as clear that the guerrilla group he was with were Quantrill-type raiders, and those types deserved to be hunted down after the war.

Generally I avoid movies based on books I've read. I've been doing that all my life. It probably started with Shane.  I haven't reread the book since I was in my teens, but it really affected me at the time. The movi e was an Academy Award winner, I think, but having short, blond Alan Ladd playing the slim, dark Shane of the book was IMO awful and that whiny kid.... Ugh.

Offline Amethyst

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #15 on: April 27, 2017, 07:33:09 PM »
Another one I thought was well done is "The Martian".  I really enjoyed the book and the movie did a good job staying close to the book even while having to cut a lot of plot.

Offline RightHoJeeves

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #16 on: April 28, 2017, 12:17:11 AM »
One film that I always thought was WAY better than the book was Big Fish. For me that movie had a really cute optimism with gothic edges. It was very charming. The book, though? God, the older Bloom character was immensely unlikable. I don't think there was necessarily that much different about it, it was just written in such a way where the guy never shut up about himself.

One of the best book adaptations I've seen was No Country for Old Men. It obviously a very faithful adaptation in terms of story, but the Coen Bros were able to bring it to life in a weird and very precise way.

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Offline bjscript

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #17 on: April 29, 2017, 12:02:39 AM »
A movie based on The Tin Drum seemed like four chapters of a book with dozens of chapters.

Nothing wrong with movie, it just wasn't the novel.

When I was young I thought Slaughter House Five made a very successful translation to a movie, but I'm not sure what I'd think today.

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Offline The Hooded Claw

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2017, 07:34:54 AM »
Another unsuccessful adaptation of a book was the Will Smith version of I am Legend. Of the 4 or 5 versions that have been made, I liked the 1964 one with Vincent Price the best.

I'm actually a fan of the Charlton Heston version, despite the hammy ending. Thr Vincent Price version just couldn't hold my attention.

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2017, 08:13:59 AM »
One of the better book-to-movie adaptions I've seen is The Legend of Hell House (1973). Of course, it didn't hurt that Richard Matheson wrote both the book (Hell House), and the screenplay.  ;)

Even better was the The Haunting (1963, directed by Robert Wise), from Shirley Jackson's acclaimed novel The Haunting of Hill House. The 1999 remake was uninspired.

Near the top of my list for awfulness (if not actually at the top) is David Lynch's version of Frank Herbert's excellent novel Dune. It was not only awful, but OMG awful. The SyFy mini-series was only marginally better, not aided by William Hurt appearing to be uninterested in the whole process during filming.
« Last Edit: April 29, 2017, 08:16:16 AM by Mike D. aka jmiked »
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Offline WHDean

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2017, 07:29:51 PM »
I'm an outlier on this, but I thought the 1996 Frankenheimer film version of The Island of Dr. Moreau was great. I found it deeply disturbing, though not in the same way as the book. Brando was great.

 

 

Offline anguabell

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2017, 04:19:17 PM »
I was just thinking about the (rare) instances when the book and the movie were equally good. Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is a lovely book, rich, complex and full of gentle humor, and the British TV series - although they changed quite a few things - works equally well. One of the contributing factors we actors, who were outstanding. It's just my opinion, I know many readers just cannot deal with film versions of their favorite books because they do not follow the written word faithfully.

Also, 3 Pratchett adaptations I've seen, Hogfather, Going Postal, and The Colour of Magic, were very good.

On the other hand, I thought all TV adaptations of Gerald Durrell memoirs (My Family and Other Animals) were dreadful, with all sort of added melodrama and embarrassing twists and turns of a soap opera. The 2016 effort, The Durrells in Corfu, was particularly painful. It is not what the books were about, at all.

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #22 on: May 14, 2017, 02:58:29 AM »
There is a theory that goes:
Q. which is best, the book or the movie?
A. whichever came first. :D


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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #23 on: May 14, 2017, 08:44:39 AM »
...
When I was young I thought Slaughter House Five made a very successful translation to a movie, but I'm not sure what I'd think today.

Bill

I remember seeing "Slaughterhouse Five" and "Catch 22" in the mid/late '70s, and being pleasantly surprised at how well they pulled off taking two unusual and convoluted stories and turning them into movies that worked.

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Offline Joseph J Bailey

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #24 on: May 22, 2017, 06:21:02 PM »
Eragon.

I love fantasy. I love good fantasy movies because they are relatively rare (especially historically).

Eragon was not one of them.


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Offline MaryMcDonald

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Re: Best/Worst Book to Movie and Vice Versa
« Reply #25 on: May 22, 2017, 06:28:23 PM »
Ordinary People was both an excellent book and movie.

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