Am I the only one that thinks Hollywood is running out of material? I feel like one out of every 2-3 movie previews I see these days is an adaptation from a novel.
Granted, this can be a good thing (The Godfather, Shutter Island, and the Harry Potters come to mind). But often, it is not (The Stand miniseries...GAH. And Jurassic Park the book, SO MUCH BETTER than the movie).
So I decided to see how Hollywood fared with some of my literary favorites. I went through my faves list on Goodreads, and picked out the books that had movie adaptations (that I've seen). Here's my assessment:
1. Atonement by Ian McEwan
This is a perfect example of a movie that was very good...just not QUITE so good as the book. The novel wow'ed me with the way McEwan used language to draw out these subtle undercurrents between all of the characters. This is not something that translates well into film. While I do think the movie retained an atmosphere similar to that of the book, there is just a feeling of something being missing when you compare it to the prose.
2. What Dreams May Come by Richard Matheson
Both the movie and the book made me cry. However, this is one of those movies that, though enjoyable, completely leaves out and/or changes significant parts of the novel. And when I like a book to begin with, it's tough to see significant changes made in the movie version...even if the movie is otherwise excellent.
3. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
Potentially my all-time favorite book, and a complete flop on screen. First of all, the time travel just does not translate well between how Niffenegger wrote it and how it was done in the movie. A lot was lost there. And THE ENDING. This goes up there with My Sister's Keeper for Worst Hollywood Butchering of a Book Ending. Horrid.
4. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (US version)
I have absolutely nothing bad to say about this movie. NAILED IT. Right down to the dark-and-depressing atmosphere/setting. I loved the opening song on the soundtrack (so fitting, and it's actually on my running playlist now), and Rooney Mara is a fan-fricking-tastic Lisbeth Salander.
5. The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
I felt kind of blah about this movie. It's an extremely Hollywood-ized version of the book. The whole illustration of Susie's "heaven" in the movie was quite obviously adapted so that it would be visually pleasing on screen. And a LOT of important details were left out regarding the circumstances surrounding Susie's death and the investigation afterwards. As a result, I think the book packs a much more powerful punch.
6. Matilda by Roald Dahl
Ah, a favorite from my childhood! And I'm happy to say that the movie did not disappoint. I adore the film version, and as a kid I loved seeing a visual representation of the book heroine I had come to love. Plus, the movie highlights some of the funny parts a bit better than the book. I am definitely due for a re-watch (and a re-read) of this one.
What do you think, readers? How has Hollywood handled some of your literary favorites?