Monday, May 03, 2010

Movies that are better than the books they're based on

Apropos of nothing, here are some movies I've been thinking about that are actually better than the books they're based on. You have to admit, these are the exception rather than the rule.

1. The Last of the Mohicans. Really, you could pronounce the movie better than the book based solely on the fact that the movie does not feature a scene in which Natty Bumppo dresses up as a bear. Or, for that matter, the fact that it never refers to Hawkeye/Nathaniel as "Natty Bumppo." But there are many other reasons. Michael Mann took a so-so classic book (along with many liberties) and made it AWESOME.

2. I Am David. Maybe this one is my fault - I read the book and I didn't really "get" it. I "got" the movie. So there you go.

3. The Painted Veil. I looooooved the movie so I was really excited to read the book. Too bad it was only meh AND the ending is different, and worse.

4. Gone With the Wind. This movie isn't better than the book it's based on, just as good as it. This is quite remarkable considering how epic and complicated it (the book) is. The casting alone is superb and my sister and I have fun thinking about who we would choose to play the main parts if they ever do a remake of this movie (Rhett Butler = George Clooney and Scarlett O'Hara = ...Jennifer Connely? I don't know if we ever decided.)

5. The Phantom of the Opera. In this case, I mean the musical is better than the book. I have to wonder if this book wasn't really a classic until Andrew Lloyd Webber made it so, because to me the story seemed uneven and poorly developed.

6. Mansfield Park. Sorry, Jane Austen, Fanny Price as written in the book may be righteous but she is also BORING. My favorite thing that the movie changed was that we can actually believe that Henry Crawford reforms himself for Fanny's sake. The book never misleads you like that. But in the movie, it's a pleasant misdirection.

What did I miss?

17 comments:

Aimee said...

I do love "The Painted Veil" and the scenery in it is amazing!

Liz Johnson said...

I thought "Jurassic Park" was better as a movie... it blew me away when it first came out.

I can't think of any others. Though I realize this might enrage some people (please don't hate me), I generally have a "if they're going to turn it into a movie then why bother reading the book" policy.

:)

Natchel said...

Chocolat for me. I liked how she was a little more mystical in the book but I didn't like how she leaves things with Roux in the end. I loved the movie and have often wanted to live like her.

Fromagette said...

Northanger Abbey. The most recent TV adaptation was wonderful. So wonderful I decided to reread the book to see why I wasn't so impressed with it the first time. And while I read the book I could see that they took everything good about the book and livened up the dull stuff and made a movie true to the book but that has so much more life and interest.

Shannan said...

I am on the eternal lookout for movies that are better than the books. The only one I can name off the top of my head is Julie and Julia. Much better than the two books that they are based on (My life in France and A Year with Juila)

Anna said...

So do you recommend all these movies? I've never heard of some of them and they look pretty cool.

Spencer said...

For me--Cold Comfort Farm.

The book is fantastic, but the casting is so good in the movie (I think this is what allows a movie to the book it came from) that I would choose it over the book.

Tyler Ball said...

I'd have to go with all three Lord of the Rings movies. I know there are a lot of nerds out there who would rather live in middle earth, but I'm not one of them. I'm sure many would argue that the movies were too long and involved. If you think that, try the books and the movies will be a breeze.

Nancy said...

I read "The Painted Veil" after watching the movie and was also quite disappointed with the ending. Ugh.

Suzanne Bubnash said...

I would add "The Princess Bride" to this list.

Lisa Lou said...

I was also thinking "The Princess Bride!" I tried to read it and promptly fell asleep. The movie is classic though.

Lark said...

What a great list of outstanding movies. I've seen them all except the "I am David" one...

Ok, so maybe this is lame, but I would add "Marley and Me" to the list. I loved the movie - I laughed and cried. Then I read the book and was a little bored. In fact, I didn't even want to finish it. I thought he would be funnier? But I think Owen Wilson is funnier. Maybe I just read it too soon after seeing the movie? Dunno.

Teresa Jane said...

Yes, George Clooney is SO Rhett Butler. There really isn't another Scarlett out there... yet. I really would love an updated version of this movie to come out, but it would have to be perfectly casted, huge budget, and just all around perfect. So I am almost afraid of the disappointment. Speaking of disappointment, would you not say that the movie Phantom of the Opera was a bit of a disappointment to the musical soundtrack with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman?

dave said...

Agreed on "The Princess Bride." Also, "The Road."

Jessie said...

I actually feel this way about most of Jane Austen - particularly Mansfield Park, Emma, and Pride and Prejudice. She's definitely not my favorite author, but her books translate so well into movies.

Melody said...

Unfortunately I haven't read the book AND watched the movie of any of the ones you mentioned. I'll have to get on that.

I would have to disagree on "The Princess Bride" and "The Lord of the Rings." "The Princess Bride" is probably the funniest book I've ever read, but I have been told that I have an odd sense of humor. "The Lord of the Rings" movies are just too dark. Since they had to keep only the most important parts, they had to leave out the funny, light hearted parts.

I would add "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" to the list

Jennifer said...

Ok, maybe I should watch the movie again and see if I can appreciate it more. :)

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