the Gleeman

Good Movie Adaptations

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With the new Hobbit trilogy finally finishing this December, an important question can be asked: was the series a good adaptation of the book? 

 

I for one have been somewhat unimpressed, but that is more based on the liberties to extend the plot past its original two-movie format. The overall movies have been pretty good, they just take even more liberties than the original LOTR trilogy.

 

What are some movies that have been well-written adaptations of the book or series they represent? What are some horrible adaptations? 

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Adaptations of comics, Sherlock Holmes, Zorro and other classic westerns generally do pretty well. Jackie Brown is an awesome one. I've loved most adaptations of Christmas Carol (Scrooged by far being the best.) I for one think The Hobbit is doing an awesome job. For the most part, movies generally do a good job at portraying new versions of novels and stories. I'm a big fan of the Robin Hood legend, so I'm always on board with Robin Hood movies. 

 

I'm big on religious studies, so adapting anyone's mythology is always something I want to watch, and they generally turn out well. Noah is an unfortunate product of an awesome idea. Nosh's ark was always one of my favorite stories from the Abrahamic mythology, so that was a big letdown. Wrath of the Titans is an unnecessary movie, the first one was a fine remake of an already fine retelling. Jason and the Argonauts is another great retelling.

 

Greatest movie adaptation: 1994's Frankenstein. Amazing. Best adaptation of the best book. Just so great. That one is at the top of the list.

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Well with the Hobbit, they had to try and squeeze three 2.5 hour movies out of one book, so they put much more Legolas, and anything else to eat time.

 

There are probably more bad adaptations, like Eragon or Percy Jackson.

Edited by Redbird3000
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I really liked the adaptations of Hunger Games. I think the Narnia movies were good as well. I really liked The Princess Bride, but who doesn't?

The WORST adaptation I have ever seen was Eragon. That piece of crap haunts me to this day, making me physically ill when I think of it. The ONLY thing they did well was Durza's casting. Idiots.

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I would argue the Percy Jackson adaption is worse than Eragon. But then, I saw Eragon before reading the book, and read PJ first.

I saw an adaption of The Dark Is Rising once, but it was so bad, it was firstly a terrible movie, secondly I didn't realise it was meant to be an adaption :/.

I thought Hunger Games and The Fault In Our Stars were very good adaptions.

Nait Sabes - speaking of Noah,have you seen the (DreamWorks?) Prince of Egypt? Fantastic movie that :).

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I liked the Eragon movie until I read the book. After that I had to watch the movie as though it had no relation to the book. Just a semi-decent fantasy movie with Jeremy Irons and John (Psychopath) Malcovich... seriously, he's a good actor but he never plays anyone sane.

 

Speaking of Malcovich and Irons, Man in the Iron Mask is one of my favorite Musketeer movies.

Edited by BreathTaker
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I have soured on The Hobbit movies. I loved Lord of the Rings, but this adaptation is just the wrong flavor. The Hobbit is a fun and clever book. The movies are dark and ominous and The Lord of the Rings come again. It's just not what I would have wanted to see. Others enjoy it tho so more power to them.

Jackie Brown is the Best, I'll agree with you on that one Nait. I also love the Hell-boy movies. A very good example of an adaption that makes it it's own thing but is still good.

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Pacific rim, actually from what I've heard it was a terrible adaptation of the original novel. But everyone I know who read the original novel has told me that it sucked and that the film was a massive improvement.

Lord of the rings was also great although I do question why we needed the elves at helms deep. The first hobbit film wasn't to bad, you can tell that the script that del Toro wrote when there were only supposed to be two films was used a lot. but desolation just flat out sucked there was almost no relation to the book at all and that scene at the end with the gold was just so flat out stupid.

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Harry Potter covers the whole spectrum, I think. First two movies were excellent, third was still pretty great, fourth took a huge hit in quality to become just tolerable, five was simply awful (terrible adaptation and terrible movie), six was still bad, and seven/eight were good (though impressive for how much they attempt to make up for the previous movies, that's a lot to make up for). I still get sad when I think of how legitimately awesome the movies were in their fledgling years, only to be rewarded with movies 4-6. Each of those movies had their moments, sure, but overall they were awful adaptations.

 

 

I expected to be thoroughly disappointed in the Ender's Game movie, and ended up really liking it. Obviously the movie doesn't compare to the depth of the book, but I was impressed overall by how much they actually managed to capture. I still think my enjoyment of the movie was very much impacted by my insanely low expectations prior to watching, but I'm fine with that. However, I will always believe that making Anderson female was a storming pointless change.

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Yeah, I agree with most everything in this topic, though I have to be emphatic about Eragon being the WORST.

 

My fandom of LotR has been...interesting.  I watched each movie after reading each book for the first time, so my experience with each is very intermingled.  I haven't read the Hobbit, so I'll need to do that before seeing the movies.  I thought LotR had a great adaptation, trimming a lot of the fat from the books that made it really drag for me.

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I know I saw the Eragn film, but all I can remember is that there were a lot of changes, and that Saphira looked odd. The latter I can't really blame the movie for- I [think she had feathers in the book? Maybe? I never finished that series- and I remember walking out of it thinking the film was bad... but I honestly can't remember what, exactly, bothered me.

 

Anyway, to repeat the trend- I think the Lord of the Rings was a great trilogy, though I also think that the Two Towers and the Return of the King weren't as good as Fellowship; of course, Fellowship was what introduced me to fantasy, and I think the Extended Cuts of the latter films improve them vastly. I honestly can't watch the Directors Cuts of those two anymore, because the pieces they removed, like Brego or Saruman, stand out too much to me.

 

I think public domain characters, like Sherlock Holmes or Dracula, or comic books are interesting to adapt, since... a lot of adaptions take so many liberties with the characters... but that also means I'm not sure if they should "count" for good adaptions. RDJ's Sherlock Holmes was a fantastic movie, but it's also an original story, and doesn't adapt things so much as take them and twist them as it wants to.

A Game of Shadows is awful though. Moriarty was fantastic, but the rest of it... ouch.

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A rare case where i liked the Movie better than the Novel was with Stardust.

The book imo tried too hard to be Adult and 'dark', and some scenes seem out of place and forced.

And also the ending was pretty bad, it wad unfulfilling and anticlimactic and served no purpose more so because there is no sequel.

There was a secret society too which remained a secret to the end.

Comparatively the Movie was lighthearted and much better than the book. Although i saw the movie first and only went to the book because i was intrigued by the world and wanted to know more (and was kinda disappointed), so that might have affected my opinion.

I also liked LotR movies better than the novels, but again i saw the movies first. I tried to read the Novels, because i like fantasy, and LotR seems like a novel every person who calls himself/herself a fantasy fan must read, but i gave up halfway through the two towers. The world building was too much for me, the descriptions dragged on for too long, and there was a stark lack of female characters. but i think the Movies cover pretty much everything in the Novels except for worldbuilding, which i think is something pretty rare among movie adaptations, so i think i can still call myself a fantasy fan.

Edited by lol_king
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Harry Potters 1, 2, 4, 6, and Part 2 of 7 were all good. 3, 5, and 7 sucked.

 

Stardust the movie was indeed awesome, but I liked the book for the most part. Have you guys seen the BBC miniseries of The Chronicles of Narnia? Those followed  books really closely, but had absolutely terrible actors and special effects. It was so bad. The newer ones do a good job on almost every count.

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Have you guys seen the BBC miniseries of The Chronicles of Narnia? Those followed  books really closely, but had absolutely terrible actors and special effects. It was so bad. The newer ones do a good job on almost every count.

 

Oh man! 

 

I remember when I was a kid, a tutor of mine owned some of those on VHS; I got a loan of them, since I'd read the books around then... I got a loan of the Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Prince Caspian and Voyage of the Dawn Treader.

 

Maybe it's nostalgia or whatever, but I remember really liking them. By contrast, I've only ever seen the first of the "Narnia Trilogy" films, and... 

Again, it's just one of those films I don't remember much about, but I remember not really liking it.

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.... You are one backwards cookie.

 

I really did like the old ones when I was four, but then when I grew up they were just bad. The new ones do a good job at conveying the message of the story while still not being cheesier than the leaning tower of cheese in A Goofy Movie.

Edited by Arthur Dent
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I expected to be thoroughly disappointed in the Ender's Game movie, and ended up really liking it. Obviously the movie doesn't compare to the depth of the book, but I was impressed overall by how much they actually managed to capture. I still think my enjoyment of the movie was very much impacted by my insanely low expectations prior to watching, but I'm fine with that. However, I will always believe that making Anderson female was a storming pointless change.

 

I have to disagree with you here. I hated the Ender's Game movie. It was just bad. I felt it failed to capture any of the novel's great points, and only mildly captured some of the good points. I felt all of the casting was off, and that Asa Butterfield did a particularly bad job. In fact, the only thing I felt the movie did right was the feeling of "...really? That's it?" when the following Deus Ex Machina gets dropped on you:

 

Oh yeah, you've been actually fighting the aliens this whole time. Here's to you, kid.

 

From the dynamics of the school, to the tactics of the battles, the movie was a major let down. 

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A rare case where i liked the Movie better than the Novel was with Stardust.

 

Since my drive to actually finish the book version of Stardust still has yet to rekindle and instead I've watched the movie at least a half dozen times, I would expect to agree with this should I ever manage to finish Stardust.  *nods *

 

Also, because I'm in the middle of "reading" (as in, listening to the audiobook) the book Contact by Carl Sagan and have also seen the movie, I've got to say that the movie seems to have really captured the heart, message, and feel of the book.  Don't know if I'll feel the same way by the time I finish, but as of this moment, I'd count that as a good adaptation.  :)

 

Edit to add:  I have to agree with Quiver on the old BBC Chronicles of Narnia.  I actually didn't see them as a kid but watched them in my 20's before the new movies came out.  If you can look past the dated effects, I think they're really quite good!

 

As to Ender's Game...  I think I'm somewhere in between the two of you discussing it.  I didn't have high expectations for the movie, and as a result, I wasn't totally let down.  I wasn't totally wowed either.  It was worth the movie ticket to me, but we haven't purchased it on disc, if that helps explain my feelings.

 

I also have to disagree about the "bad" Harry Potter movies.  I liked them all, and #3 was one of my favorites...not my absolute favorite, but it was really up there. 

Edited by traceria
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I also have to disagree about the "bad" Harry Potter movies.  I liked them all, and #3 was one of my favorites...not my absolute favorite, but it was really up there. 

 

I feel the same. Though the time between the making of the films was too large, and as a result they definitely did not look the right ages for most of the films, I thought all the films were good, especially given the amount of content they were forced to not include for brevity's sake.

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Going to the Ender's Game thing,I think they messed up Bean irreparable and messed up by having Ender leave Earth alone. Also, there was very little passage of time. It was just a bunch of stuff that happened in the course of a fee months of his life. I really didn't like that.

 

I did like the battle room and command school. I think they did a good job with Peter and an even better job with Mazer. I liked Graph as well. Again, Bean sucked. So did Bernard. The kid dint even have a French accent. I LOVED Bonzo. He was so freaking perfect. 

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The Adjustment Bureau warrants a mention here in my opinion. Its a one of a kind science fiction movie though it expanded the concept of the Philip K Dick short story. And every body loves Matt Damon!

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Harry Potter is a strange thing to comment on; I generally didn't like the film versions... with the exception of six.

I HATE the Half-Blood Prince movie. The book is actually my favorite of the series; it has it's problems (I thought the romance and Harry's jealousy was actually written rather juvenile-ly for J.K) but it also had some of my favorite stuff, especially when it came to Voldemort. Before that book, we didn't know Voldy; he was scary, and he had some traits which we associated with him... but the flashbacks to his childhood, the details about how he ended up becoming the man that he did... that was stuff I found very interesting.

 

Having all the development- the anecdotes of the other children and the cave, his "caretaking" of the old Hufflepuff woman- cut out was irritating, but I could understand why it was done, for brevity and all that.

But the additions to the film kill it. The Death Eater attack on the burrow? And all the added romance between Ginny and Harry?

I said this when the film was released, and I still (kind of) stand by it. HBP had such a drab color palette, and such a focus on the romance and love triangles of the characters, that I consider it a Harry Potter version of Twilight

 

...Also, I'm going to see the Hobbit tonight. Just wondering; has it been released in the US yet? Wondering whether or not it's too soon to put up a topic to discuss it.

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...Also, I'm going to see the Hobbit tonight. Just wondering; has it been released in the US yet? Wondering whether or not it's too soon to put up a topic to discuss it.

 

It releases in the US on the 17th at midnight, if I am not mistaken. To be safe, don't discuss it until next weekend.

Edited by Blaze1616
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I agree with Quiver on HP6. The colour was drab, there was almost no music and I just found it a very flat, dull movie. The earlier movies, particularly the first 3-4 were much better as movies, and much more closely adapted from the books.

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My wife and i went to the 7pm premier of the Hobbit since I missed registration for my poker tourney... worth it! There were somethings off but all in all awesome.

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