Monday, May 3, 2010

Anne, Charlotte and Harry-or the Best Books to Movies

With all the children's and YA books being optioned for movies, I was thinking about some of the best book to movie adaptations. I think most books to movies end up disappointing readers and not being as good as the book. Some movies are passable. And there are a few that actually get it right it. Here are three that I think did a great job going from book to movie:

Anne of Green Gables
-This is one of my favorite books to movies and I love both the book and the movie. Sadly, this is the only Kevin Sullivan production that is faithful to the books. The second movie is a combination of three books, and the third has nothing to do with the books and is not worth watching. But the first one has the magic of the books and stays true to the story. The production is beautiful, the casting is spot on, and you really feel a part of Avonlea. Anne of Green Gables has around a four hour running time, which is great for fans who don't want anything left out.

Charlotte's Web
-Both the animated version and the recent live action version are worth mentioning. Both versions maintain the charm of the book, and I like the recent live action one because it felt real-like I could visit a farm and Charlotte and Wilbur would be there. The live action version added more to the story, but I thought it kept the feel of book so I was ok with the additions.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
-The first Harry Potter movie (and maybe even the second) are great book to movie adaptations. The one thing I did miss when I went from book to movie was the unseen narrator and narration about the character's thoughts and feelings and back story. But even without that I got swept up in the story. The first movie stayed pretty true to the book and these movies deserve major kudos for the detail put into them. The sets always look amazing and just like I pictured Hogwarts and the casting is brilliant. The later movies start to leave out major plot points of the storyline and while I still like the production and casting, the story is always lacking. I'd gladly sit through a three or for hour extended cut of these movies in order to stay true to the story, wouldn't you?

Honorable mention goes to The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. I say the recent version from Disney was very well done and even though they added things, you have to remember the book is very short. I was ok with the added content and I really liked the back story of how the children came to live in the Professor's house. Mr. GreenBeanSexyMan on the other hand prefers the older BBC version and claims that the was the best and most true adaptation and the recent version had too much added to it. It's been too long since I've seen the BBC version, but I remember liking it as a kid.

Those are my choices for best Children's/YA book to movie. What other books to movies would you suggest? Any suggestions for the worst adaptation?


  1. Holes in my opinion is the BEST and most faithful adaption, because Louis Sachar wrote the screenplay and was there suring the filming. It is an awesome movie. I had such high hopes for Stormbreaker because I loved the book so much, and there was a lot good to it, but too many little changes that overall changed too much of the story.

  2. The Secret Garden!!! I LOVE the book and the movie and also A Little Princess, even though the ending was changed dramatically, but I love it.

  3. I agree with all of the above! But the Secret Garden was absolutely beautiful.

    I loved the Anne of Green Gables miniseries. Perfect in every way. I didn't think I'd like the kid who played Gilbert, but he grew on me.

  4. I absolutely LOVED the first Anne of Green Gables movie. I even like the second one too despite how they mixed it up a bit more. Part of that is childhood nostalgia at this point. The third, oh that awful third. I remember being so excited the night it premiered but aws absolutely devastated with how awful it was. Just terrible.

    I like the BBC version of Pride & Prejudice and even the Keira version I felt stayed mostly true to the book. Also, North and South with Richard Armitage did a good job with Gaskell's book.

  5. YES, the Anne of Green Gables movie is one of my favorites of all time. (I think I've only watched the second one once, and the third not at all--but I'm pretty sure I don't want to watch the 3rd. I'll just find some way to acquire the 2nd!) I second the person who said that Holes was a good and faithful adaptation: I was really impressed with what they did, and how well they managed to capture the essence of the story. I'm also quite partial to The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: it's not faithful, but I thought it was good on its own.

  6. Ooooh, I LOVE the Anne of Green Gables book and movie.

    I have to say, I am a big fan of The Baby-Sitters Club movie too!

    I am kind of dreading the movie version of The Hunger Games b/c I just know it will never live up to the book and I don't want to just get angry at the screen...

  7. I loved Matilda.

    Didn't like Ella Enchanted. It's one of my favorite books and it seems like they just used the characters, the title, and a few basic plot elements. The rest strayed far away from the book-and was much cheesier.

  8. Jana-I haven't Holes or seen the movie! But it's cool the author wrote the script-that's what gives me hope for The Hunger Games!

    Frankie-I grew up watching the Hallmark one, which was not like the book. I'll have re-watch the newer versio. And I always liked The Little Princess.

    Laura-I had such a crush on Gilbert-movie and book version.

    Sarah-I would include P&P (BBC version) if I was including adult books too-it's very good! And you're right the third Anne is just awful!

    Steph Su-I liked the Sisterhood movies too-they strayed from the books, but also kept true to the feel of them which I liked.

    Katie-I hope Hunger Games is good. And I loved BSC too!

    Jessie-Never saw Matilda-the little girl always creeped me out! And Ella Enchanted was a cute movie, but not like the book!

  9. Anne of Green Gables is eye candy and I love it. I mean each scene is beautiful.

    The latest version of Little Women is pretty faithful from what I remember. Its been a while since I saw it.

    The Black Stallion was always a favorite of mine as a kid. However, I never read the book so someone is going to have to tell me if its a good representation.

  10. Yes, yes, yes, to Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Avonlea. I <3 them both. The third one we shall not speak of.

    I also love Little Women, 84 Charing Cross Rd., The Outsiders, and Sense & Sensibility. Just gorgeous each one.

  11. I agree with you on Anne of Green Gables, the early Potter films, and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. I didn't care for the BBC version that much. I haven't seen the live action Charlotte's Web but I loved the animated version as a kid.

    The Lord of the Rings isn't technically a YA book but that is my favorite book to film adaptation. To Kill a Mockingbird is also fantastic.

    For worst adaptation I would go with Eragon. Such a disappointing movie-not at all like the book.
    I was also disappointed with The Golden Compass but I felt that they at least got the look of the world right and I did enjoy some of it, especially Nicole Kidman as Mrs. Coulter.


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