5 of the Best and 5 of the Worst

For most works of classic literature, a movie has been made. Whether it follows the book or not, well, that’s a different story. In almost every book-to-film adaptation, parts end up being changed or altogether cut from the original novel, and, of course, some movies adapt a book better than others. What makes a good adaptation? A good adaptation doesn’t have to quote the entire book to be faithful, although it is important that it include portions of the original text. But just as importantly, it should capture the spirit and feel of the book, and the cast needs to capture the personality and essence of the characters. Here, listed below, are the top 5 best film adaptations I’ve seen followed by 5 of the worst.

Best:

5. Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel (1985 and 1987, starring Megan Follows)

These two were terrific. They followed the books very closely (especially the first book), and the casting was absolutely perfect. Megan Follows made such a great Anne. The second one is my personal favorite, but they are both faithful adaptations.

4. Sense and Sensibility (1995, starring Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet)  

While this movie didn’t follow the book exactly, and some characters were missing, it certainly did a fantastic job. It really captured the spirit of Austen’s novel, and the added scenes were ones that you could imagine actually happening in the book.

3. Sherlock Holmes (TV series, 1984, starring Jeremy Brett)

This was the absolute best Sherlock Holmes adaptation. There were moments when I was quoting the book as Mr. Brett was speaking his lines. There were a few episodes where I was like, “What? This never happened!” but 99% of the time, it stuck super-close to the book. And you can’t beat Jeremy Brett’s Holmes. He was Holmes. Absolutely fantastic.

2. My Fair Lady (1964, starring Audrey Hepburn)

I adore My Fair Lady. It stuck to the play, Pygmalion (the play it was based on), faithfully, added some great songs, and even a satisfying ending, making it a wonderful adaptation. Hepburn perfectly captured the main character, Eliza Doolittle. Here’s one of my favorite songs from the movie:

1. The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit (2001-2003 and 2012-2014, starring Elijah Wood in The Lord of the Rings and Martin Freeman in The Hobbit)

I know, I know. I know what the Tolkien purists are saying now, “What? Peter Jackson … he ruined the books! He changed so much!” Yeah, he changed stuff, but the changes he made, made sense. He created a fantastic series of movies, and without them, I doubt there would be as many Tolkienites as there are now. Even though there were changes, I still believe the movies did a great job of presenting and adapting the books for screen. And just in case there’s someone who hasn’t seen it yet (and because I want to share it!) here’s trailer number 2 for The Hobbit: Desolation of Smaug.

Worst:

5. Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story (2000, starring Megan Follows)

What happened?! How could the people who made the first two wonderful Anne of Green Gables movies make this bomb of a third. Did they lose their minds? It was as if they took the characters of Anne and Gilbert and ran with them off to Europe and a World War and forgot there was ever a book.

4. Treasure Planet (2002, starring Joseph Gordon-Levett)

One time when I was sick with a cold and bored, I decided to try this animated movie. It couldn’t be horrible, right? Oh, yes, it could. I didn’t even finish it, it was so bad. It’s based around Treasure Island, and boy, did they ruin it. They stuck everyone in space, for one. For two, Jim Hawkins was a whiny, troubled teen, and I couldn’t stand him. Lastly, they ruined Captain Smollett. They turned him into a her, named Captain Amelia. The worst part was … Amelia was a cat. Yes, a cat. Now, I like cats, I just don’t like cats to be Smollett. Right now for school I am reading the book, and every time I read about Smollett, I just picture Amelia. I’m forever confused because of this bad movie. XD

3. The Jungle Book (1967, starring Phil Harris)

The reason it made my worst list is because it barely followed the book. You can disagree, but in this case, I think it was a good thing. I didn’t particularly enjoy the novel The Jungle Book (except for Rikki Tikki Tavi), but I loved the movie. So, in a way, this could be considered a great adaptation because it took a book I disliked and turned it into a great movie.

2. Frankenstein (1931, starring Colin Clive)

In my post called “Going Where No Book Has Gone Before,” I related that the novel Frankenstein was mentioned in Star Trek: Enterprise. Well, in the episode, Commander Charles “Trip” Tucker told Sub-Commander T’Pol that the film selected for that night’s movie night was Frankenstein. Now, Trip is my favorite character from Enterprise, but he has no taste in movies. In Frankenstein no one could act, and the movie didn’t follow the book at all. They changed Victor Frankenstein’s name to Henry. Elizabeth wasn’t killed by the monster either. The monster was laughable, at best. I guess the public liked it though, because the filmmakers went on to make the movies The Bride of Frankenstein, The Son of Frankenstein, The Ghost of Frankenstein, and The House of Frankenstein. Here’s the trailer:

1. Heidi (1937, starring Shirley Temple)

It’s been years since I’ve seen this, but the very first movie that came to mind for the worst category was this one. The movie had very little of the original book in it. It was really just a showcase for Shirley Temple who made a terrible Heidi. The scene I can still picture is Grandfather running through the streets of a city, screaming for Heidi because she was kidnapped by gypsies, which, of course, never happened in the book. Actually, after some digging, I managed to find the clip on YouTube. It’s as horrible as I remember.

From Heidi to The Lord of the Rings, I hoped you’ve enjoyed my list of the best and worst film adaptations. Do you agree with my choices or disagree? Which ones are your favorites?

~ Kayla

Advertisements

My Top 10 Favorite Classics – Part 2

On Monday, I posted part 1 of this list, my Top 10 Favorite Classics. Today, it’s time to finish up! I realized I made a mistake on Monday and actually posted the first six of my list. 😛 So, here are the last four of my favorite classics:

4. A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court by Mark Twain
“You can’t throw too much style into a miracle.”
When I listened to this classic for the first time, I had just finished studying King Arthur and his knights so the legends were still fresh in my mind. That fact made this book even funnier. Both Mark Twain’s version of Camelot and the main character, Hank Morgan, the Yankee from the 19th century trying to “modernize” the 6th, kept me laughing from page 1 to page 575.

3.A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens
“And it was always said of him, that he knew how to keep Christmas well, if any man alive possessed the knowledge.”
This was the first Dickens novel that I’d read, and I’m very glad I read it! As Ebenezer Scrooge traveled back and forth through time with the three ghosts, I felt as if I was experiencing the same trip that he was. After reading the book, I watched several movie versions, and my personal favorite was the one where “Captain Picard” (Patrick Stewart) played Ebenezer Scrooge.

2. The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
“Maybe there is a beast… maybe it’s only us.”
At first, the book sounded like any other survival tale, but as the book progressed I started to see that The Lord of the Flies was much more than that. I enjoyed this book so much. It was delightfully creepy and held me on the edge of my seat with a kind of sickening fascination, as Golding began to reveal just what and who the beast really was.

1. The Merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare
“All that glisters is not gold; Often have you heard that told.”
After first listening to Macbeth, I was hooked on Shakespeare’s work. Last year for school we studied two more plays by the Bard, Romeo and Juliet and The Merchant of Venice, which became my favorite play by Shakespeare (so far) and my favorite work of literature. I loved so much about this play. Shylock made such a good, complex villain, not just a one sided “baddy” like so many others. Portia and Nerissa made incredible heroines who were smart, witty, and very funny. In fact, I loved the play so much, I named my The Hobbit OC (fan created, other character)and her sister after the two main heroines. Someone even created a manga for the play, which I read and reread and reread again. 🙂

At this moment in time, these are my favorites, though with all the books my mom has planned for this school year, I’m sure that I’ll be rewriting this list with new favorites soon enough!

~ Kayla

My Top 10 Favorite Classics – Part 1

I’ve been reading/listening to classic literature, including Mark Twain, Ray Bradbury, Louisa May Alcott, H.G. Wells, and many others, for a long time now! And although this is a writing blog, I decided to post this list of my favorite classics. These books have stood the test of time and are great pieces of work that writers can not only enjoy reading, but also can learn from. I will spoil the surprise now. My very favorite classics are The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, and Sherlock Holmes. The only problem was I couldn’t pick between the three to choose an official number one! I left them out of the running so I wouldn’t have to pick. 🙂 Here are the first five of my list:

10. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
“The more I know of the world, the more I am convinced that I shall never see a man whom I can really love. I require so much!”
This was Austen’s first published novel and the first novel by her I read. I’m not much for romance, but this was really very good. Though the book didn’t have epic battles, swords, or actually much action at all (what I usually like), the story kept me interested as I was caught up in the social lives of the young Miss Dashwoods.

9. Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
“I’ve got the key to my castle in the air, but whether I can unlock the door remains to be seen”
One of the things I remember most about this book was how many CDs the audio version had. It was either 18 or 19, and every one of those disks was worth it. Throughout the book, I felt as if I, too, were part of the March household, watching the four girls grow up into women. Out of all the girls, my favorite was definitely Jo. Being a beginning author myself, it was neat to watch her work on her novel and to struggle to be published.

8. Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
“Because when you are imagining, you might as well imagine something worth while.”
This was one that I’ve enjoyed since I was younger. Anne, the orphan adopted by Marilla and Matthew Cuthbert, was so imaginative and had some of the best lines ever written. One of the great things was watching how both Anne and Marilla changed. Anne brought Marilla up into the clouds a bit, and Marilla brought Anne down to the ground. I loved the adventures she had as she grew up on Prince Edward Island.

7. The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain
“Thou hast the same hair, the same eyes, the same voice and manner, the same form and stature, the same face and countenance that I bear.”
This was one of my favorite stories by Mark Twain. He was so skillful in working in the real historical facts of Edward VI’s life with the fictional situation he created of the boy prince and the poor boy switching places. Mark Twain was a master of irony and observation, and this book was no exception.

6. 20,000 Leagues under the Sea by Jules Verne
“The sea is everything. It covers seven tenths of the terrestrial globe. Its breath is pure and healthy.”
Jules Verne is one of my favorite “classic” authors. The two books I’ve read of his I’ve adored. Captain Nemo was my favorite character in the novel. I loved how he was shrouded in mystery and that even at the end of the novel you still weren’t sure who Nemo was.

5. Around the World in 80 Days by Jules Verne
“I see that it is by no means useless to travel, if a man wants to see something new.”
The book that no one could make into a good movie! I have seen several versions, and none of them (though the Jackie Chan version was entertaining), was even close to the book. While the movies were terrible, the book was fantastic. From saving an Indian Princess to losing his manservant to a company of jugglers to being attacked by Native Americans in the Midwest, the book is chock-full of the adventures of Englishman Phileas Fogg as he travels around the world in 80 days.

On Thursday, I’ll post part 2! What are your favorite classics and why? Thanks for reading!

~ Kayla