My Journey through Breast Cancer

On October 11, 2013, I was diagnosed with Stage II Triple Negative Breast Cancer (TNBC) ... or as we like to call it, extreme measures for a nap (EMFN). For a while, this blog will be my cancer journal. Enter at your own risk.

29 September 2009

book-inspired movies

Only once have I seen a movie that I thought was as good as the book. If you're my mom, you know exactly which movie I'm talking about. If not, I'll let you in on the secret: BBC's Pride and Prejudice. Its nearly six hours long, which is one of the reasons it works ... it takes the time to tell the story well. And the movie follows the book almost word for word. And the book's words are EXCELLENT. Its an awesome movie, and one I highly recommend, whether or not you've read the book, whether or not you're a Jane Austen fan, whether or not you're in to chick flicks. Its a great story.

I have recently been renting movie versions of some of my other favorite books, to see how they measure up. And I admit I have seen a few that did a fairly good job in their theatrical adaptations. No movie can measure up to its literary counterpart, mostly because there just isn't enough time. But I think certain movies can still capture the spirit of a book, and get across the important points. If you're a fan of these books, I can safely recommend the movie versions. If you haven't read these books, you must!

To Kill A Mockingbird
Starring: Gregory Peck as Atticus Finch, and Robert Duvall as Boo Radley.
Released in 1962, you have to be willing to sit through a slightly slower movie, and one in black and white, but I think Peck captures Finch's easy wisdom and the struggle between the black and white communities is aptly portrayed.

Cry, The Beloved Country
Starring: Richard Harris (the first and better Dumbledore from the Harry Potter movies) and James Earl Jones
When a white man is killed by a black man in South Africa, their fathers are brought together, forming an unlikely kinship that helps bring healing between the races. If you haven't read this book, I can't recommend it highly enough. Alan Patton has a unique, simple, writing style ... and yet there is great profundity in his story. The movie is OK. I think it leaves out some key elements of reconciliation found in the book. However, I think it captures well the tension between the races of that time in South Africa.

The Secret Life of Bees
Starring: Queen Latifah, Jennifer Hudson, Alicia Keys, Dakota Fanning
I cried during several parts of this movie. Now, if you know me, I cry easily, and that's not necessarily a sign of a good movie. However, I think the actresses in this movie do a phenomenal job of conveying the state of the heart while dealing with and healing from some really hard things. And like the book, the movie ends on a positive note, with hope that healing will continue. This is one of the best pieces of modern literature I've read, and again, I highly recommend the book.

Other decent adaptations:
All the Harry Potter movies
The Three Musketeers (Alexander Dumas actually had a great sense of humor, and the movie captures that well)
The Princess Bride (yes, it was a book first ... you should read it, its awesome)
The Lord of the Rings

Movies that make you wonder if the screen writer had ever even heard of the book, let alone read it:

The Firm (totally crapped out on the ending)
The Bourne Identity (completely changed Jason Bourne's identity)
The Count of Monte Cristo (changed the ending entirely)
Les Miserables (its simply impossible to tell that story in a two-hour movie)

What about you? Seen any movies that live up to their written versions? Do tell.


AedonTor said...

I am actually in the school that I would rather be its own art and thus different, than take the book word for word. If it is word for word it is usually an uninspired work and I'd rather read the book and inspire my own image. But a couple movies that I thought were better than the source material:

Last of the Mohicans. Movie isn't spectacular, but it was more enjoyable than the book. Coopers books were fairly empty of substantial content when I read them in high school. The movie does add substance but it adds flair.

Road to Perdition. The graphic novel isn't bad, but I was underwhelmed. Mendes took the movie much further than the book. The movie was held back by the main child actor, and Hanks was good but a tad miscast.

I've never read the Godfather books but I'd assume the movies (first two) were greater works than their written counterparts, considering the place the books have in literary history. This may very well be a false assumption. Though in Puzo's defense, he worked on the movies as well.

AedonTor said...

Wow, that was terribly typo-laden to the point of harming the sensefulness of it. Then again, I am probably found nonsensical most of the times I correct my typos as well.