Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. Each week they suggest a title for a list and we attempt to answer it! 

This week it is:

Top Ten Best/Worst Movie Adaptations of Books

We LOVE watching films so this was a a tough one to narrow down, but we just about managed it. 

Check out our list after the jump:

Our top 5 best adaptations are:

The film of Atonement, directed by Joe Wright, is an absolutely gorgeous adaptation of the book. From the performances (I know some people don't like Keira Knightley but I think she's great), to the sumptuous cinematography, and the costumes, don't forget the costumes, this is a film you can get lost in but that hasn't lost the feeling of foreboding that colours the book. Also props for not Hollywood-ing the ending. - Caroline

Being the die-hard Melina Marchetta fans that we are, we were quite excited when we found out that Melina was very involved in the development of this adaptation. It definitely shows! Not only is the script excellent but all the performances are spot on; exactly the way I had pictured them in my head. To be honest I might like the film a tad bit more if only because I feel like it ends on a more optimistic note than the book. - Feli

Clueless is just SO FUN. I mean, who wouldn't want Cher's wardrobe? It's the perfect example of an adaptation that pays homage to a book without being in thrall to it. The film knows it is silly so it gently pokes fun at itself, and at Cher, much as the book shows Emma's foolishness without ever treating her as a fool. The perfect film for a girly sleepover, just as the book is perfect for a girly evening-in. - Caroline

Flipped is the cutest. If you need a cute summer read (or watch) then the book and the film are perfect for you. - Caroline

One thing I am definitely taking to my grave is the obscene amount of times I have watched this film. I mean, what's not to like? A YA modern adaptation of a Shakespeare play? What could possibly go wrong?? - Feli

Our top 5 worst adaptations are:

I know most people will not agree with me on this one but I was so disappointed by the film! I felt like it did not reflect the intention of the book at all and focused instead on the love story; all the rawness and the social and (above all) ethnic critique in the book magically disappears in the film. For example (I'll avoid spoilers) one of my favourite scenes from the book is when certain characters find out about Hiroshima & Nagasaki and how they decide to act based on that which takes about 0.5 secs in the film. What I mean to say is that I found that all the depth and uniqueness of the book was missing from this adaptation. - Feli

For me The Lovely Bones is the perfect example of an unfilmable book. There are so many weird things that happen that make perfect sense in the context of a book, when you can hear and understand every thought of the narrator. Translate them into actual images though and they just look clichéd or disturbing. Peter Jackson should stick to Tolkien. - Caroline

Urgh don't get me started. It could have been so good! Northern Lights is an amazing book, and Nicole Kidman as Mrs Coulter, as well as Daniel Craig as Lord Asriel should have been an amazing combination. Sadly script problems and then excessive post-editing by the studio led to this film having none of the power of the books, with all the gore and tragedy having been taken out and the ending sanitised. - Caroline

OH NORWEGIAN WOOD MAN! I think perhaps my problem with this adaptation was that my expectations were too high. Sure, it was a gorgeous film, but I felt that to the director the cinematography was way more important than the script. Which is sad because Murakami writes beautifully so I think I would have liked more verbal connections and less arty farty shots of nature. That said, Kiko Mizuhara was AMAZING. - Feli

Now obviously The Host book isn't a work of genius, it's a fun sci-fi/ fantasy YA novel, but unfortunately the film didn't even do justice to that low barometer. The dialogue was clichéd and clunky, the acting was over-earnest (lots of brooding looks and staring into the distance) and the only good thing about it was the cinematography. Trouble is, the film-makers seemed to know that, so they spent A LOT of time just showing panning shots of the, admittedly beautiful, landscape; which got just a little tiresome after a while. - Caroline

So do you agree or disagree? What would be on your top 10? Let us know in the comments!


  1. Oh man how did I forget She's the Man! I love that movie and I have read Twelfth Night. Damn. Love Atonement too but I haven't read the book.

    1. You should give Atonement a go! I'm not a huge Ian McEwan fan but I did really like that one.

  2. Great list, I loved Clueless and She's the Man as well.

  3. I have only even watched one of these films so now you have given me a few to track down and view. :)

    Clueless and She's the Man will be first up. Thanks!

    1. Good choices - they are both excellent girly night-in films if you have one coming up!