Recently, I have done what no serious bookworm should ever do. I watched Insurgent before I had finished reading the book. After seeing the extreme differences, I decided that this Tuesday I will Top Ten my most memorable book adaptions. As most memorable, I mean they stick out in my mind when I think adaption. They can be horrible as well as good. So here we go, my top ten.

  1. Insurgent
  2. Pride and Prejudice
  3. Vampire Academy
  4. Harry Potter Series
  5. Lord of the Rings
  6. The Hobbit
  7. Twilight Saga
  8. Eat Pray Love
  9. Eragon
  10. The Other Boleyn Girl

Insurgent written by Veronica Roth

Directed by Robert Schwentke

This sticks out in my mind the most as I am making my way through Insurgent at the moment. The first movie Divergent wasn’t bad, fairly similar to the book, couldn’t complain in any big way. So I was looking forward to Insurgent and when Ross bought it on DVD for me, I figured that they did all right with Divergent, that it wouldn’t hurt to watch it before finishing the book.

Now that I am more than half way through Insurgent, I see how wrong I was. There are huge differences. It is like they went “okay we have the rights, lets do what we want, what do we want to do?” “Rewrite the entire book” “yep that sounds perfect, lets do that”. Bloody stupid.

As I am yet to finish Insurgent, I obviously haven’t read or seen Allegiant. I didn’t realize that they had decided to split the last book into two movies until recently when I saw articles surfacing on the Internet stating that the final installation might go straight to a TV movie. Apparently Allegiant absolutely dived at the box office. I can see why. Divergent made so much money because loyal fans turned out to see it. Insurgent because everyone was reasonably happy with the first but then Allegiant bombed because the fans thought “you bastards, that’s not how the story went”. Divergent grossed $150 million at the Box Office (US only), Insurgent $129 million and Allegiant $66 million. In comparison, you can see that the figures speak for themselves.

I will eventually watch the final two movies in the series, once I have completed the books. I am anticipating disappointment. Isn’t it a shame when you write it off without really giving it a chance?

Pride and Prejudice written by Jane Austen

Directed by Joe Wright

This is a happier tale. Now I know there are a few adaptions but I will talk about the Kiera Knightly version. I love Kiera Knightly but when I heard she was to be Elizabeth Bennet, I had my reservations. However she blew me out of the water. I loved the book and I love this movie. I could read the book over and over. I watch the movie on repeat. As always there are a few discrepancies but overall, they did such a good job.

In fact, I just want to say that I think they did an amazing job with the cast. In particular, the roles of Jane Bennet, Lydia Bennet and Caroline Bingley. Rosamund Pike does the quietly reserved Jane so well. She is beautiful, absolutely stunning in my opinion which makes her so believable. Jena Malone plays Lydia and oh my goodness doesn’t she do the impetuous brat so well? I have seen a few movies with Malone starring, including The Hunger Games, and I can confidently say that she does this type of role well. The best casting though in my opinion is Kelly Rielly as Caroline Bingley. Excuse the language but Rielly perfected the role of snobbish bitch so well.

The movie was nominated for 4 Oscars, 2 Golden Globes and 6 BAFTA Awards. Joe Wright (director) won the BAFTA for the Most Promising Newcomer.

Vampire Academy written by Richelle Mead

Directed by Mark Waters

So I have mixed feelings about this adaption. I think that on its own as a movie, it is great. I just have to pretend that I never read the book. Comparing it to the book though, it was a flop. Too much creative license again. Directors need to stop changing the storyline. I get cutting out things to make it all fit, but changing the ending? Adding bits? NO.

The saving grace is that I think Zoe Deutch did a brilliant job at Rose. She isn’t quite what I had pictured but that smart alec wit is spot on.

Other than Rose, I think the casting was way off. Dimitri was not very godlike, Lissa was too comedic and that accent? Natalie was too pretty and not geeky enough and Mia was no real opposition to Lissa. I would go so far as to say that this movie was more of a spoof than anything. Which was disappointing. You can see why they haven’t continued to turn any of the others into movies.

Harry Potter Series written by J. K Rowling

Directed by Chris Columbus (Philosopher’s Stone & Chamber of Secrets), Alfonso Cuarón (Prisoner of Azkaban), Mike Newell (Goblet of Fire) and David Yates (Order of the Phoenix, Half-Blood Prince, Deathly Hallows Parts 1 & 2).

I think the movies were fantastic. I had enjoyed the books well before the movies came out and yes the movies are not perfect but I don’t think they could have been any better. After all Rowling herself played a huge part in making the books come to life on the movie screen. I will happily watch these movies again and again.

Where my problem lies is in the consistency. I definitely think the series would have benefited from having the same directors. For instance, they wear their robes most of the time and then BOOM they are in normal clothes. With each change of director, part of the world was tweaked. It chopped and change.

My favourite movie was Prisoner of Azkaban, I think that Alfonso Cuarón did a great job of delving into the Wizarding World. I know others will disagree, but each to their own.

The main characters definitely carried it throughout the movies. We grew up with the books and in a way we grew up with the actors as well.

Lord of the Rings written by J. R. R Tolkien

Directed by Peter Jackson

This is my favourite adaption. Jackson brought this universe to life. Absolutely brought it to life. Jackson was very detailed. Some would argue that he left so much out but I think for the mammoth job they had, he has done fantastic. The important thing is he told the story and he captured the essence of Tolkien’s world. The costumes, music, language, scenery, weapons. I watched one of these movies every Friday night with my brother. Lord of the Rings was magical and watching the special features, you could see how much work and commitment went into bringing the books to life.

You could tell that Jackson was a fan. You could tell that Jackson’s goal was to bring these books to life. I believe Jackson was successful.

Obviously I wasn’t the only one as The Two Towers was nominated for 6 Academy Awards.

The Hobbit written by J. R. R Tolkien

Directed by Peter Jackson

After the success of Lord of the Rings, you would think as I did, that The Hobbit would be just as amazing. Oh I was so wrong. I watched the first movie and thought, “well this isn’t too bad”. I kept in mind that they were using Tolkien’s notes. After the release of the other two movies, I was disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, the movies are wonderful on their own, completely unrelated to the books. Compared to the books, it was clear to me that Jackson was money grabbing. Why else would they split the movie into three? Why else would they add all these other characters and change the story line? Now I haven’t read all of Tolkien’s notes and books but I don’t see how all of the additional material could fit into The Hobbit as written by Tolkien.

While again costumes, scenery, language and music were all amazing, I was caught up on the downsides. I also have to point out that The Hobbit was CGI OVERLOAD. I mean Legolas running on air?

Twilight Saga written by Stephanie Meyer

Directed by Catherine Hardwicke (Twilight), Chris Weitz (New Moon), David Slade (Eclipse) and Bill Condon (Breaking Dawn Parts 1 & 2)

Everyone has an opinion on Twilight. On the books, on the movies, you name it and everyone has an opinion.

My opinion is this. I loved the series overall. I liked Twilight, hated New Moon (it was way too slow), liked Eclipse and loved Breaking Dawn. The movies were okay. Twilight was good, New Moon was the best (ironically), Eclipse was okay and Breaking Dawn was split into two parts and was crap, absolute garbage.

I was so infuriated that they had changed the end of Breaking Dawn. WHY? WHY DID YOU DO THAT? The books worked, why would you change that ending… I mean, splitting it into two movies worked. It was money grabbing, but it worked too. But why did they change that ending? I think that another case of consistency would have worked well here. I suppose that they don’t care because in the end, they all made heaps of money. I care though. I do not understand the reasoning and if you have read the books and watched the movies, you might agree with me.

Eat Pray Love

This book was inspirational and uplifting. This book lived up to the hype. It was beautiful, her journey was beautiful. The book was realistic and gritty. It gives you perspective. Immense perspective. I cannot describe how fantastic this book is.

So what do you do when there is such a best selling book? You turn it into a movie, much to the detriment of the book.

I had seen the movie first. I have no idea why I watched it. I really didn’t like it all that much. Elizabeth Gilbert’s story just did not translate onto the screen well. It wasn’t Julia Roberts fault, she was fantastic, but it just didn’t translate.

Please just read the book. Do not bother with the movie.

Eragon written by Christopher Paolini

Directed by Stefan Fangmeier

This was the worst book adaption ever. Talk about absolutely butchering a story. I honestly believe this movie was a royal screw up.

The Inheritance Cycle was an unbelievable series. I am talking about same level as Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.

But the movie was horrendous. Yes, I just said it was horrendous. I don’t even think it was a good movie on its own. They changed the story. The actors were awful except Jeremy Irons but even then he was not the right choice for Brom.

There was no way they could continue the books to movies as they butchered it. I have never met anyone who enjoyed the movie. Plenty of people who love the books.

Eragon was actually nominated for The Stinkers Bad Movie Award “Least Special Effects”.

The Other Boleyn Girl written by Philippa Gregory

Directed by Justin Chadwick

Philippa Gregory is one of my favourite authors. The Other Boleyn Girl as the second book of hers that I had read. It was right up my alley. Historical Fiction based on true events. It kicked off my addiction to Gregory. So when I found out that they were turning it into a movie, I was excited.

To be completely disappointed by the movie itself. As much as I love all the actors, they just weren’t suited for their roles. Who on earth would cast Eric Bana as Henry VIII, he does not even faintly resemble the famous portraits we have seen. The Other Boleyn Girl is actually suppose to focus on Anne Boleyn’s sister but the movie does not do that. The movie just focuses on Anne.

Now I want to know what your most memorable book adaptions are. I want to know what you hated, what you loved and what you would like to see adapted!

Cai xx

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