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The Lucky 13: Favorite Book Adaptations

March 23, 2012

In honor of “The Hunger Games” release, I’ve decided to countdown to my favorite book adaptions, some of these movies I’ve read the previous source materials, others I may have skimmed through. So here we go:

13. “Jurassic Park” – Based on the novel by Michael Crichton. I read Jurassic Park in high school, and I noticed there were a lot of elments in that book that showed itself in the movie sequel “Lost World”, nevertheless, the movie surpassed the book by creating a classic for the ages, and handled justly by Steven Spielberg, the only director Crichton trusted with his source material.

12. “Casino Royale” (2006) – Based on the book by Sir Ian Fleming. I recently read the first original three James Bond books over the holidays, and I have to say I love the first incarnation of 007. The 2006 movie grasps a lot of the grit and meaniness of the character of Bond, but still maintains to balance it out with the charisma we’ve come to know and love.

11. “The Hunger Games” – Based on the Young Adult Novel by Suzanne Collins. OK, I know this is a little too sudden, but I finshed this book not too long ago and then saw the movie this week. As I stated in my early review, this was one of the best faithful adaptations in a long time.


10. “No Country for Old Men” – Based on the Novel by Cormac McCarthy. The Coen brothers bring Cormac McCarthy’s dark 80’s western to the big screen with no remorse. It’s dark, it’s brooding, it’s violent, and it has Javier Bardem as the iconic villain Anton Chigurh. This Oscar winning adaptation is one of the ages in my oppinion.

9. “Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban” – Based on the Novel by J.K. Rowling. Perhaps the one Harry Potter film that sticks to the book as close as it’ll ever get. It’s the most superior film thanks to Alfonso Cuaron’s direction and new style on the film overall look and feel. This is a movie/book where Voldomort wasn’t the primary focus, it’s about a boy, going through problems, and vying to learn about certain lies that have been bestowed upon him.

8. “Blade Runner” – Based on the book, “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep”, by Philip K. Dick. It’s interesting how this movie came to be, because it doesn’t come close to the books overall narrative, except for the terms of ‘Blade Runner’s’ and ‘Replicants’ used throughout the film. It’s Ridley Scott’s definitive sci-fi film, and movie that inspired many sci-fi films to come.

7. “Band of Brothers” – Based on the Novel by Stephen Ambrose. OK, it’s a TV mini-series, I’m aware, but it’s not TV, it’s HBO. I read this book in high school and the series does a fantastic job adapting it into this grand epic World War II masterpiece of storytelling, entertainment, and drama. It’s the quintessential WWII film, if you ever want to get a truer in-depth look at WWII, watch “Band of Brothers”.

6. “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (2011) – Based on the Novel by Stieg Larsson. I partially read this book, and I saw the original foreign film, but David Fincher’s adaptation seems to have a better grasp, as well as a better flow in telling the story about cyber-punk hacker Lisbeth Salander. You’ve got some top of the line actors, and all the signature Fincher touch you need in a murder myster crime saga. Here’s hoping for the other two books to be adapted.


5. “True Grit” (2010) – Based on the Novel by Charles Portis. The Coen’s are at it again. “True Grit” was a perfect example that a once previous adaptation didn’t do the original source material justice, and it took a second go around to get it right. Jeff ‘The Dude’ Bridges takes on the iconic role that made John Wayne an Oscar winner, in the role of Rooster Cogburn. The films also had another shining star Hailee Steinfeld.

4. “Drive” – Based on the Book by James Sallis. The BEST crime-noir in ages! Ryan Gosling & Nicolas Winding Refn make absoulte gold together, but we should not forget the films screenwriter, Hossein Amini, adapting James Sallis’ book so well. LOVE LOVE LOVE this movie!

3. “Ordinary People” – Based on the Novel by Judith Guest. Had to read this book in high school and then I decided to rent the movie, little did I know Robert Redford makes his directoral debut, adapting this mellodrama about a Chicago family who’s dealing with love, life, death, and depression. A truthful Oscar winning adaptation that I can easily say it’s one of my favorite human drama pieces. The Oscar for best adapted screenplay alone gives this movie itself rightful place on my list.

2. “Watchmen: The Ultimate Directors Cut” – Based on the Graphic Novel by Alan Moore. Zack Snyder’s take on the Pulitzer Prize winning comic is controversial at best, it’s casting, it’s length, and it’s change in the ending. As a die-hard fan I’ll admit it, I was crushed that the squid ending was no more, but much of my dismay was whisked away with Snyder’s ultimate directors cut that stays true to the comic by a good 85%, including more deleted scenes; Hollis Mason & the animated comic “Tales from the Black Freighter” woven into the film. For any Watchmen fan out there, the Ultimate Directors Cut is the one to watch.

1. “The Lord of the Rings Trilogy” – Based on the Trilogy of Books by J.R.R. Tolkien. Many have wanted to bring Tolkien’s iconic books to the screen, but few possessed the vision of the New Zealand-based helmer Peter Jackson had. With his homeland as the background, Middle Earth had its landscape. Ian McKellen would star as Gandalf and Viggo Mortensen was Aragorn. The convergence of talent that went to the Kiwi country to film all three movies back-to-back knew their place in history. It is firmly written as the absolute standard for bringing a book series to the big screen.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Chris Olivier permalink
    March 28, 2012 3:17 pm

    I have not seen the Ultimate Director’s Cut of Watchmen. This review definitelty is setting me on a course to Amazon!

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