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 Which film versions of books can you recommend?

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PostSubject: Which film versions of books can you recommend?   Mon Dec 28, 2009 4:03 pm

...and which would you rather not have seen yourself? Smile

Usually, I have a very traditional taste in book-to-film questions: The characters must look the way I imagined them, everything must be true to the book, and so on. But there are exceptions, especially one very notable one: "Romeo and Juliet". It may sound blasphemic, but: I like the Baz Luhrman version about a hundred times as much as the traditional one by Zeffirelli. Sure, the 1996 version is a modern interpretation of the material, and it does leave out things, but Zeffirelli's version clings to early modernity in an overly nervous, unrelaxed way, leaving the love story entirely in the background. In the newer version, the language seems to come naturally, in the older one, I keep feeling reminded of twelve-year-olds reciting long poems in class which they do not understand.

What are your "strange" preferences?

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PostSubject: Re: Which film versions of books can you recommend?   Tue Dec 29, 2009 5:55 am

I am also pretty picky over movie adaptations of films. I strongly disliked Frankenstein (1931 version) which (in my opinion) made a mockery of Shelley\'s classic. I also felt that Prince Caspian should have resisted the temptation for extra violence and focused more on the character development.
On the other hand, I thought that Much Ado About Nothing was a wonderful depiction of the play. Not only did they include everything in the play, but they also found brilliant actors for the characters Bendick and Beatrice. The Merchant of Venice was also well done.


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PostSubject: Re: Which film versions of books can you recommend?   Tue Dec 29, 2009 11:58 am

Whenever I see a question like this I always turn to The Godfather. The Godfather parts 1 and 2 are among my favorite movies. I have them both on DVD. Yet when I read Mario Puzo's novel (admittedly after I saw the movies) I was disappointed with his writing. For me, this is one of the very few times where the movie was superior to the book.

On the opposite end of this spectrum for me was The Choirboys. The novel by Joseph Wambaugh, about a group of Los Angeles police officers and how they deal with the stress, horror, and humor of their everyday lives is one of my favorites. Yet the movie version was shockingly awful. It kept in all the raunch and left out all the heart.

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PostSubject: Re: Which film versions of books can you recommend?   Sun Aug 22, 2010 7:29 pm

I am odd in the sense that I'm not a purist in terms of cinematic adaptions...I don't necessarily believe that every character should fit word-for-word with the descriptions in the book, nor do I believe that it is wrong to take creative license and edit some scenes and dialogues. What most people don't understand is that it's very hard to work with a book as base material: the art forms of cinema and literature are COMPLETELY different. I prefer movies that capture the essence of the book, even if this requires changing a few minor details.

For example, as an avid Jane Austen fan, it would be considered blasphemous for me to admit that I prefer the 2005 Keira Knightley film version of "Pride and Prejudice" to the 1995 BBC version. But I do prefer it! Even though the BBC version follows the book word-for-word, it's honestly quite boring to watch your favorite book pretty much read aloud with a few droll people acting it out. The 2005 version has revitalized dialogue, a few new scenes that fit in well with the original ones, and a few minor characters are taken out to maintain simplicity. I see nothing wrong with this, and honestly, when I watched this newer version, I felt the exact same way I did when I read the book. It captured the essence of "Pride and Prejudice", which to me is far more important than the minor details.

So there you have it. I want movies and books to make me feel a certain way. I don't necessarily care about the facts, even though those are important, don't get me wrong. (The Demi Moore version of "The Scarlet Letter" made me cry with anger. How could they change the very fundamentals of such a great work! How dare they turn it into an unrecognizable pile of junk with nothing in common with its source material other than the name!) But when it comes to a little bit of creative license, I'm all for it.
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PostSubject: Re: Which film versions of books can you recommend?   Mon Aug 23, 2010 4:16 pm

I've always said that making a book into a movie is going from one art form to another. When we all as individuals read a book we each picture different images in our minds going off of what the author wrote. This is the same for the director/screenplay writer of the movie they are trying to adapt. So I can appreciate the things they've made come alive on the screen, but at the same time I'm disappointed at the restrictive creativity some directors have.

I read Pride and Prejudice long ago and absolutely love it. And then I watched the movie (keeping in mind how different it could be) and was quite pleasantly surprised. I also feel that Lord of the Rings was a great book-to-movie.

One I was really disappointed with would be The Lovely Bones. I read the book a year ago and loved it. It was personal for me and when I heard it was coming out as a movie (by Peter Jackson no less!) I was ecstatic. I felt he has proven his creative point and I felt he could handle it. After watching the movie I was terribly disappointed. He didn't show some of the most important scenes (or ones that I felt were important) in the movie and he cut out at least 60% of the book. I realize the book was long, but the story was changed from what I had grown to love. I felt the point where the mother leaves the family after cheating, was important. It showed her in the emotional turmoil she was in and what she did as a result of it. And then that is just cut out? I was very disappointed.
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PostSubject: Re: Which film versions of books can you recommend?   Fri Aug 27, 2010 6:00 am

sbredbenner wrote:

For example, as an avid Jane Austen fan, it would be considered blasphemous for me to admit that I prefer the 2005 Keira Knightley film version of "Pride and Prejudice" to the 1995 BBC version. But I do prefer it! Even though the BBC version follows the book word-for-word, it's honestly quite boring to watch your favorite book pretty much read aloud with a few droll people acting it out. The 2005 version has revitalized dialogue, a few new scenes that fit in well with the original ones, and a few minor characters are taken out to maintain simplicity. I see nothing wrong with this, and honestly, when I watched this newer version, I felt the exact same way I did when I read the book. It captured the essence of "Pride and Prejudice", which to me is far more important than the minor details.

I liked them both equally, but I do agree with you about the 2005 film capturing the essence. It's much shorter and does cut out some scenes that I had rather stayed in, but for me, Knightley's portrayal of the high spirits and youthful braggadocio of Elizabeth was much more riveting and 'by the book' than Jennifer Ehle's sweet-spirited adaptation.

I also really liked the Sherlock Holmes film of 2009. *Hides from purist fans* Although I don't really associate "book Holmes" with "RDJ Holmes" I enjoyed it for what it was worth. I guess I liked it so much because it captured the "bromance" of Holmes and Watson, which I felt was essential to any Holmes film.
The modern "Sherlock" TV show ... has anyone seen that? It's REALLY brilliant. REALLY good. Holmes in modern London - oh God, it's wonderful. The amusing part is that Watson is constantly trying to deflect the 'gay' aspect that the fans keep wanting to push on them ... in modern London, it's even more difficult. Hee. Razz
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PostSubject: Re: Which film versions of books can you recommend?   Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:19 am

My favourite book to film adaption has always been (and I suspect always will be) "A Room with a View". The film remains tremendously faithful to the book. There was no need for the direction to change such perfection, so she left everything exactly as it was in the book.
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PostSubject: Re: Which film versions of books can you recommend?   Sat Sep 18, 2010 10:21 am

Also, not technically a film, but I felt that Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie did a wonderful job bringing the PG Wodehouse characters Jeeves and Wooster to life in their television series.
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PostSubject: Re: Which film versions of books can you recommend?   Fri Sep 24, 2010 3:53 am

Kathryn wrote:
My favourite book to film adaption has always been (and I suspect always will be) "A Room with a View". The film remains tremendously faithful to the book. There was no need for the direction to change such perfection, so she left everything exactly as it was in the book.

OOOOoooh, seconded. That was wonderful, and Maggie Smith and Helena Bonham Carter are riveting. It was astounding, and my first time seeing a young Helena work the silver screen - she was perfection, even then.
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