Whenever Hollywood announces a book-to-movie adaptation, bookworms everywhere tremble with fear and excitement. With such a hit or miss genre, it’s hard to be excited when you just want the details to be in order. I decided to do something different and give you all a list of some of the better and more accurate book transformations to have premiered on the small and big screens. Some of these are more mainstream while other are not but, either way, I hope you appreciate these suggestions. Also, I will only be focusing on novels and not comics or graphic novels. (Note: These will also be in no particular order.)
The Harry Potter movie series (2001-2011): Arguably the most successful adaptations, Rowling’s novels helped kick off the adaptation craze. With Rowling involved in the script writing, the details and continuity are in place for an enjoyable eight-part series.
The Princess Bride (1987): This cult classic movie based off of William Goldman’s novel is a hilarious, action-packed, and romantic adventure that is so unique in its own right. The memorable quotes and iconic moments help to solidify the well-achieve notoriety this movie has acquired.
The Great Gatsby (2013): Baz Luhrmann’s take on F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most famous novel is full of beautiful cinematography, awesome music, and verbatim scenes from the book. While there were certain parts I didn’t particularly like concerning Nick Carraway’s personal story, the movie is still enjoyable nonetheless. Leonardo DiCaprio emulates Gatsby’s charisma, charm, and dark past perfectly.
Pride and Prejudice (2005): This adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel avoids any melodrama that is typically associated with romance. The chemistry between Elizabeth and Darcy is palpable and eloquent in this particular adaptation. Paired with some gorgeous cinematography, any Austen fan is guaranteed to enjoy this movie.
The Shining (1980): Based on the novel of the same name by Stephen King, Stanley Kubrick’s famous horror movie has still held up as being one of the most terrifying psychological thrillers. While King himself has spoken about his distaste with the adaptation, it is still a hypnotizing movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003): J.R.R Tolkien’s famous series bursts to life on screen with Peter Jackson’s direction. Though the movies are certainly lengthy, fans of fantasy still gush about this movie series. Though The Hobbit adaptation does not hold up as well, the first set of movies still holds its own to this day.
The Hunger Games trilogy (2012-2015): I actually saw the first movie in a midnight premier. Suzanne Collins’ intense YA thriller about a girl who must compete in a deadly arena-style competition provided four successful movie adaptations. While the fourth movie felt unnecessary and the movies fell under controversy for white-washing, the first and second movies are still enjoyable and provide plenty of gritty action.
Casino Royale (2006): Ian Fleming’s famous fictional spy steal the screen once again in this adaptation starring Daniel Craig. Though the James Bond films have been popular for since the 1960s, this one is unique because it is based on Fleming’s first 007 novel. This movie shows a darker take on Bond as he goes up against Le Chiffre, a man who finances terrorists, played by Mad Mikkelsen (who will show up again on this list soon.)
The Martian (2016): Andy Weir’s self-published novel packed a punch in this adaptation by famed director, Ridley Scott. When astronaut Mark Watney is mistakenly stranded on Mars, he chronicles his struggles to survive on this deadly planet. Surprisingly funny and written with real science in mind, this faithful adaptation is perfect for science geeks and bookworms alike.
Game of Thrones (2011-2017): Though George RR Martin’s hit series is about to finish up its run on HBO, it has still proved to be a cultural phenomenon. Based on The Song of Fire and Ice book series, this popular show does not hold back in its shocking violence, dark story lines, and compelling characters. With plenty of action, this show about the struggle to rule Westeros is endlessly entertaining and will live on with its fan base even after it ends.
A Series of Unfortunate Events (2017-?): This Netflix adaptation of Daniel Handler’s (aka Lemony Snicket) dark children book series was a hit with its witty and dark tone. Neil Patrick Harris as the infamous Count Olaf is hilarious as he manages to make the character as charming as he is evil. The newcomers who play the Baudelaire siblings are mature beyond their years and their talent holds true. Anyone who grew up with this book series is sure to enjoy the Netflix series as well.
Hannibal (2013-2015): Hannibal Lecter has long been a horror icon on the big screen but Bryan Fuller’s series shows Dr. Lecter before he became the killer in the glass case we know. In this short-lived series, Hannibal assists reluctant FBI investigator Will Graham as he solves the gruesome killings of the Chesapeake Ripper. This series does take some liberties from the original Thomas Harris series but it is still beautifully morbid and intense.
Sherlock (2010-?): This mini-series based off of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective has also become a pop culture phenomenon. This modernized take on Sherlock Holmes is surprisingly accurate and provides clever twists on the original. With a nice balance of humor and drama, this adaptation is a wild ride and will keep you guessing to the end.
American Gods (2017-?): You can check out my review of the original Neil Gaiman novel on my blog. This series is profound as it is darkly humorous. With Gaiman as an executive produce for the show, it maintains accuracy while building on the characters as well. Any mythology buff will love to binge watch this new and unique show about the old gods and new gods.