Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince came out of video today.

(Or whatever we call it these days, since nothing really comes out on video anymore...but on DVD and Blu Ray. But that's irrelevent.)

Yes, despite the fact that I've been essentially living in a trauma team room for the last two weeks, I know that Harry Potter is now available to own.

This may because that's part of what Hubster is getting for Christmas. (And he already knows this, so it doens't spoil any surprises. )
I have made my love of Harry Potter obvious. I have read these book more times than I have read Pride and Predjudice or The Hobbit.

The amazing thing is, I also like the movies.
It's a hard thing to do, to take a book that is adored and make a movie that is equally loved.
When making a movie from the book, so many different elements need to be considered. First, there is the overall feel, mood, and tone of the story. There are the characters, and how the reader pictures them compared to what they look like on screen. And then there is the plot and storyline. How closely should it be followed and what deviations and variations are okay, and which are simply just wrong?

We all know I love lists. So here is my list of best movie based on a book. I'm not saying best movies ever, or best books ever. But best interpretation of the book into a movie.

1. Harry Potter:
Okay, obviously this was going to be number one. The characters are extremely well casted. When you re-read the books, how can you not see Daniel Radcliff or Robbie Coltrain? The magic of the stories is present at every turn.

All except Prizoner of Azkeban. I dislike this one. I felt that the change of the plot to let you know that Peter Pettigrew was alive in the middle of the movie was a let down and took away all the suspense. Also, what is with the shrunken heads and the singing frogs?

2. Bourne Identity:
I really mean all three movies. This is one of the best triologies out there. Because don't you feel that most trilogies are excellent...until you come to the third movie (Think Spiderman, The Matrix, and X-Men.) However, the Bourne Trilogy doesn't disappoint from Identity to Ultimatum. I loved the movies so much, I decided to read the books. The books are terrible. Horrible. Okay, the first one is okay. The second two...ridiculous. The movies are only loosely based on the books. So this movie makes it on the list by being the rare time that the movie is better than the book.

3. Pride and Prejudice (BBC Version):

If you didn't see this one coming...well, then I've done a terrible job of proclaiming my love for all things Austen. I do like the Kiera Knightely version as well, with all it's beautiful cinematography and heightened sense of romance. But that version fudges over some of the subtleties of character and plot that I feel are essential to understanding Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy. Which is why the BBC version of Pride and Prejudice wins out. Yes it is long. But it so well captures the characters and plot that you can almost (almost) get away with not reading the book. (Almost.)

4. Lord of the Rings Triology

Yep, another triology made the list. Peter Jackson's attention to detail, amazing casting, and mind-blowing special effects and sets make this hard not to put on this list. Any variation from plot is easily forgiven by the adventure and magic that fill this epic.

5. Angels and Demons:

As far as books go, I like Da Vinci Code more than Angels and Demons. But as a movie...Angels and Demons wins out. This movie makes it on my list because it captured the beauty of Rome, and the horror of the events. And honestly, I'm pretty sure that if you hadn't read the book, finding out who the true villan was would be just as shocking watching the movie as it was reading the story.

There are movies based on books I read that I want to see. These include The Time Travelers Wife, Revolutionary Road, Where the Wild Things Are, to name a few.

I'm sure that I should include a list of worst movie interpretation of a book. I'll work on that.

What do you think? Anything I missed?


  1. I'd pretty much have to agree with your entire list.

    Seriously, I don't think ANYONE's Mr. Darcy can ever hold a candle to Colin Firth.

    And Harry Potter will probably always be my favorite book series. Forever. And the movies definitely live up to the magic of the books. Although I will never forgive Alfonso C├╣aron for the shrunken heads.

    And Lord of the Rings. Yeah. Amazing.

    Love the Bourne movies but never read the books. I'll probably skip them.

  2. I agree on most f the books, but I can't get through the first Bourne Book. And I've tried many times. But loved the movie. Revolutionary Road the Movie was well cast and conveyed the same as the book. I'm hoping the Road will do that for me. It was beautifully depressing. And I hope the movie will be as well.

  3. I almost always prefer the original novel to its film version, but I've got to agree with you on the Bourne trilogy. I tried to read the first book and just couldn't get into it . . . but I sure loved the movie!