All the Adaptations I’ve Loved and Hated

Hello all! inspired by the recent Shadow and Bone adaptation, I decided to make a list of TV and movie adaptations I feel strongly about. As you can imagine, this could’ve been an absolutely ginormous list, so I decided to stick to best and worst adaptations (in my opinion of course 😉). So there’s nothing here I feel lukewarm or so-so about. I also didn’t include adaptations where I hated the books to begin with (Divergent, Twilight) or where the book series hasn’t finished yet (GOT). And, obviously, I have to be familiar with the original series.

Let’s get started with my favourites:

The Lord of the Rings– well, obviously. These movies were a massive part of inspiring my lifelong love of reading. And I’m one of those people that prefers the Lord of the Rings movies to the books (sacrilege, I know, but they’re my favourite films of all time).  

Stardust– this movie is *magical*. Again, it’s one where I actually prefer the adaptation to the book, because it’s just so damn good. I will happily rewatch this over and over!

Shadow and Bone– this may be a bold choice, since I saw this really recently (and isn’t a complete series yet). That said, going off of what I’ve seen so far, I think it both captures the best aspects of the Grishaverse and improves upon the source material. I can’t wait to watch more of it!

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before– switching things up, this contemporary perfectly adapts the source material, bringing all the humour, quirky characters and sisterhood to the screen. I’m not ashamed to say I’ve rewatched it *so many times*!

Love Simon– this is another contemporary I love to rewatch. Personally, while I enjoyed the book, the film felt a little slicker and I got more out of it.

Atonement– I’ve made no secret of the fact I don’t love McEwan’s writing style… but I adore this film. It’s an exquisitely shot, beautifully acted historical romance, with a brilliant soundtrack. And even if that wasn’t enough to make me love it- I also love the slightly different ending. It worked so well for me.

Pride and Prejudice– there’s a lot of debate about the best Austen adaptation, but quite simply, this is it for me. I can happily rewatch/reread anything Austen related- yet this is the one I binge annually. It is just classic bliss.

Bleak House– another perfect adaptation from Andrew Davies, this TV series has such strong  Dickensian energy and brilliantly brings the story and characters to life.

And now let’s move onto adaptations I DESPISE- WARNING UNPOPULAR OPINIONS AHEAD!!!!!!

The Hobbit– well I have to start with the most egregious example of an “adaptation”. Because this butchers the source material and brings nothing good to the table. I won’t go on about this too much- as I’ve already discussed it at length– but this adaptation still makes me mad. It doesn’t help that the Hobbit is one of my all-time favourite books- yet I’m still amazed that they managed to mess it up quite this much. Choosing Peter Jackson to adapt this book- when he doesn’t even like the original story- makes no sense (even if he did a great job with LOTR).

Harry Potter– okay, *deep breath* everybody, I know this is an unpopular opinion. I’ve just never enjoyed these movies. I know that a lot of people are very attached to them, but I have remained the kinda disappointed, hipster child that couldn’t get on board with these adaptations. It certainly didn’t help that they left out huge things and changed a lot (though I do like the videos by Dominic Noble exploring all the ways they messed up on that front)- I just never vibed with them. I tried to rewatch them at the beginning of lockdown 1… and gave up after trying the first couple of movies because they weren’t for me. Maybe one day I’ll challenge myself and try again- yet I don’t see myself changing my mind- sorry!

The Golden Compass– there were actually things about the movie that I liked (most specifically, some aspects of Lyra’s portrayal). However, we all know this is nothing like the book, starting with the dumb title change. If you want to see an actually good adaptation (though not perfect) definitely try His Dark Materials… but in both cases I still recommend sticking to the books first and foremost.

The Mortal instruments– I mean, do I even need to get into why? This is just one in a long string of Hollywood badly adapting a YA series (and I’m only picking on it cos it’s the one where I’ve read the whole series and watched the adaptation). They messed up half the story and the way they did Valentine was laughable… and then they blamed fans for not liking it enough for a second movie adaptation.

Shadowhunters– okay, this one might also make people angry… but I don’t like the show either! For very different reasons. I hate the acting and the weird changes and the special effects look really unnatural to me. I gave up on this show very quickly and just watched the Malec scenes (cos they’re what it’s all about anyway). Still, I do think it’s astounding that there are two adaptations of the same story and I hate them both (maybe it doesn’t help that I’ve since gone off the source material too).

Always and Forever Lara Jean– annnd this also did everything I hate in Hollywood adaptations. With this one, I think it’s more of a shame, as I actually enjoyed the way the book series ended. It stripped the story of all its meaning and most of its subtlety. I wasn’t a fan of the second movie, but then I didn’t enjoy the second book. Worst of all, I felt like where the book finally brought the couple back together, this removed any remaining chemistry they had. Not worth watching.

My Sister’s Keeper– bit of a random throwback, yet I can never quite forget how utterly betrayed I felt by this adaptation. Changing the ending ruined everything this story had to say.

And that’s all I’ve got for now! Do you agree or disagree with any of my picks? And what are your favourite book adaptations? Which ones do you hate the most? Let me know in the comments!

Books I’d Love to See Adapted and Ones I’m Excited For!

orangutan list

After months and months of (trying to) watch my way through Netflix, I’ve found myself thinking *a lot* about all the books I’d LOVE to see adapted (and all the ones that are in the works that I wish were available now!!).

However, even with some of my favourites recently being made, and done well (ie His Dark Materials), I’ve seen so many flops over the years that I’m still a little cautious about certain books being made into movies and shows. Some books may very well be better left as books. So, to be clear, this list isn’t just my favourite books in the world– these are just some of the stories I think could work:

shadow-and-bone_hi-res-677x1024

Shadow and Bone– starting off with one of my most anticipated adaptations, I’ve been eagerly watching announcements as this has gone into development and been bouncing off the walls with every casting. It’s safe to say I *cannot wait* to see how it turns out!

a darker shade of magic

A Darker Shade of Magic– and this is another one we will hopefully get to see, Schwab’s fascinating world and characters would *definitely* be suited to an adaptation!

Throne_of_Glass_UK

Throne of Glass– while I’ve not loved every part of this saga, I do still think this would make for such a fun fantasy TV show. Though I haven’t heard anything in a while, there have been rumours over the years… so who knows?

illuminae

Illuminae– another one that may very well be in the works- and it would be a good decision if they tried it out! Yes, there would be parts of the books that would be lost in translation if it was adapted, but I think if they tried to capture the unusual style of the books in a visual it’d be very special indeed. Besides, space opera’s make for great movies. On that note…

Red Rising Pierce Browns

Red Rising– BLOODYDAMN, this would make for an amazing adaptation!  I mean, who wouldn’t want to see (what is effectively) Romans fighting it out in space?! Plus, there’s so much content to mine and complex themes, you could have a brilliant series on your hands (if done right). And the rumourmill says it’s in the works as well…

skyward

Skyward– if film goers are craving DRAMA and EXCELLENT CHARACTERS, then ye gods, you cannot go wrong with Sanderson’s Skyward. This would make for an absolutely STELLAR blockbuster! Aside from the brilliant twists and turns that’ll keep audiences on the edge of their seats, this also has one of the most likeable mcs that anyone could get behind!

renegades

Renegades– for me, Marissa Meyer’s books are *totally* translatable into TV/film. And none more so than her take on superheroes. And yes, I know that genre is pretty oversaturated right now, but I’d see this as being something that could satisfy a different demographic from the mainstream Marvel/DC movies. (But you know, if this isn’t possible, I wouldn’t say no to the Lunar Chronicles instead)

diviners

Diviners– I’ve been loving the performative element of these books, which makes them so entertaining as audiobooks… which makes me think, why not make this into a TV show? I think they’re a little too dense to have them be a film, but you could really go to town with the fascinating world building, characters and spooky atmosphere.

wicked deep

Wicked Deep– speaking of spooky, this standalone could easily grip viewers with its unique story. Netflix has apparently got the rights to this one, so *fingers crossed* they do something good with it!

to kill a kingdom

To Kill a Kingdom– I’d love to see more movies partially set under water and I think this Little Mermaid retelling absolutely has enough excitement to make for an awesome movie.

night circus

Night Circus– this one is a bit more of a risk, because it’s such a brilliantly written book and a film might not capture its magical atmosphere. That said, if done right, this would be a visual treat.

the secret history

Secret History– I’m kind of amazed this has never been adapted, cos it’d be so. damn. good. With a captivating cast of characters and a great plot, I completely see this being made one day (I hope).

with the fire on high

With the Fire on High– yeah I can’t shut up about this book lately, sue me. I love contemporary movies and could easily stuff this list with a whole bunch that could work- however none of them have the *special sauce* that this one does. I think this goes the extra mile and would be especially moving.

eliza and her monsters

Eliza and Her Monsters– like, I said I love contemporaries that get made into movies, so I could easily say “just do them all!!” This one is at the top of the list for me, because, with its focus on mental health and internet culture, it’s got a bit more going on than a standard YA romance. Plus, if it was done in a stylised way, with some element of animation, it would be especially cool.

guards-guards

And a BIG *BONUS*: Discworld– well, obviously. Yes, I know some of these books have already been adapted; yes, I know that there have been little pieces of optimistic news here and there. BUT GUYS I’M SO IMPATIENT!!

And though I have a ton more, I think I’d better leave it there for now! Do you guys agree with any of the books on this list? Do you have any personal faves you’re dying to see adapted? Let me know in the comments!

My Top 5 Austen Adaptations

I’ve been in a really romance-y mood lately… which has led me down an Austen adaptation rabbithole. Watching and rewatching a crazy amount of these has got me thinking about which ones are my favourites and I thought it would be fun to share them with you lovely people. Quick note: it’ll be glaringly obvious to fans that Mansfield Park is missing- that’s not cos there aren’t any good versions, it’s cos (as is no secret) I’ve never liked the story. Now that’s out of the way, onto the list!

 

BBC Pride and Prejudice- to my mind, this is THE BEST adaptation of anything, ever! Yes, this is my completely biased view 😉 I tend to rewatch this every. year. (thank you Beebs for including this in your boxsets!) This is, in every sense of the word, PERFECTION. The acting, the first class writing lifted from the book, the wonderful choice of locations… this is always going to be my favourite.

BBC Sense and Sensibility- so, confession time: I’m not hugely fond of the movie version- though it has some sensational performances from the likes of Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant, I feel like the story could’ve done with a bit more space to breathe. Which is why I was so excited to check out the new(ish) BBC adaptation- and I wasn’t in the least bit disappointed! I watched this for the first time recently and almost felt the need to rewind and watch it all again. The acting and writing was brilliantly done- but most importantly this hit me right in the *feels*!

Emma 1996- this might be an unpopular opinion, because I think most people prefer the TV version (which is understandable, because that’s a great version too). In truth, I don’t know why I love this version so much- especially since I often prefer the TV serials for Austen, given they allow the stories to develop over a greater time span. That said, I simply LOVE the performances in this- particularly Jeremy Northam who is my definitive Mr Knightley (who, yes, just happens to be my favourite Austen love interest).

Northanger Abbey– even if this wasn’t the only Northanger Abbey version that I’ve seen, it’d make the list, because it’s a lot of fun! It’s completely different to a lot of other Austen adaptations, playing on some of the themes in quite a hilariously modern way, upping the imaginative gothic levels and heroines’ fantasies… and for some reason this rather tickled my fancy.

Persuasion 1995- I watched this most recently and I was delighted with it. I’d seen a more recent version and wasn’t quite blown away (especially disappointing because at the time I watched it I probably would’ve classed this as my favourite Austen). I was so happy with this version however and would definitely recommend it for those looking for an Austen fix! 

Have you seen any of these? Which are your favourite Austen adaptations? Let me know in the comments!