The 1967 cartoon version of The Jungle Book has been one of my all time favourite movies for most of my life. So of course I had to run out and see the new live-action version…and read the book too! Click here to read my comparisons between the three!
Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Book to Movie Adaptations
Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.
It’s been forever since I did a TTT, but I finally carved out some time to put this together!
This week’s prompt is Top Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I’m Looking Forward To or Ten Book To Movie Adaptations I Still Need To Watch. I’ve tweaked it slightly, so I’m doing Ten Book to Movie Adaptations I Own.
- Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2: Yes, I know, a lot of stuff was missing from the movies, and I’ll never get over how Ginny’s character was treated, but they were still enjoyable and rank among my favourite films ever!
- The Princess Bride: “Hello, my name is Inigio Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die.” Enough said.
- Northanger Abbey: My friends and I swooned over Henry Tilney when we watched this for our Austen course in university. And it’s my favourite Austen novel (sorry, Pride & Prejudice, you’re a close third – after Persuasion).
- Stardust: Mostly, I just remember Robert de Niro as a gay pirate, but as a Neil Gaiman fan, I love everything about this.
- Coraline: Ditto (minus the gay pirate, of course).
- A Series of Unfortunate Events: Again, there’s a lot missing from this adaptation and they gave it a whole different ending, but visually, it’s so much fun.
- The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants: While I didn’t love the sequel (because it skipped the middle books and changed the story lines a lot), this first one is girly fun at its best!
- The Princess Diaries: One of the rare times I saw a movie before reading the books, the only thing that makes me sad is how Grandmere is not nearly as sweet as Julie Andrews makes her out to be (also the fact that it took THREE BOOKS for Mia and Michael to get together!!).
- Beautiful Creatures: I enjoyed the books (though after hating the sequel series, I’m not sure if I can re-read them), and while the movie deviated somewhat, it was still cute.
- The Great Gatsby: Visually gorgeous. Plus who can resist the always-charming Leo DiCaprio??
- 10 Things I Hate About You: Based on Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, this teen romcom is one of the greatest things to exist. Come for a young Joseph-Gordon Levitt, stay for Heath Ledger-with-his-Australia-accent (RIP, Heath).
- Easy A: Based on Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter. I’ve said it before: the only unbelievable aspect is the idea that someone as gorgeous as Emma Stone could be invisible to her classmates.
- She’s the Man: Also based on Shakespeare (Twelfth Night), this was Amanda Bynes at her funniest. Also a then relatively unknown chap by the name of Channing Tatum who sticks a tampon up his nose. Hilarious.
All three of these bonus movies are high on my list of favourites; I’ve always loved retellings!
What adaptations made your list? Are there any I should check out immediately?
The Giver: Book vs Movie
Earlier this year, I was reluctant to watch the Jeff Bridges’ adaptation of The Giver because I remember reading and loving the book when I was about 12-13, and based on the trailer, it seemed like a lot had changed.
A few weeks ago, when I was sitting on an airplane, mildly stressed out (I get nervous when I fly), I decided to watch it because it wasn’t like I was doing anything else. It seemed like my initial reaction was on point: a lot had changed. But then I started wondering if maybe my memory of the book was a little fuzzy so I re-read it.
“Jonas’s world is perfect. Everything is under control. There is no war or fear of pain. There are no choices. Every person is assigned a role in the community. When Jonas turns 12 he is singled out to receive special training from The Giver. The Giver alone holds the memories of the true pain and pleasure of life. Now, it is time for Jonas to receive the truth. There is no turning back.”
I could ramble about the differences for a while, but I chose to focus on the five points that bothered me the most instead. NOTE: spoilers (book and movie) and Adventure Time reaction gifs abound!
1) Ageing the characters.
Holy frack, it drives me insane when characters are aged in movie adaptations. 99% of the time it’s because the filmmakers find it necessary to introduce a love interest who either a) doesn’t exist in the original book or b) doesn’t become a “love interest” until later in the series (I’m looking at you, Percy Jackson). Here’s a tip: if the source material is already good and/or beloved, it’s not necessary to add romance.
According to the IMDB page: “Jonas and Fiona were aged up four years* because they can not show a twelve year old have stirrings to the public.”
*I read somewhere else that they were aged six years (18 instead of 12), but it doesn’t really matter.
“Stirrings”, if you’re wondering, are dreams that Jonas has about his female friend. Nothing too scandalous or sexual but growing up in a community without love (i.e. love literally doesn’t exist), he doesn’t understand his feelings for her. In the book, he describes his dream to his parents…and yes, when we read it in school, there was a lot of tittering and no one could take it seriously, but the movie didn’t have to show it. They could talk about…you know, exactly the way it plays out in the book.
Honestly, their relationship was awkward. SPOILER ALERT: he can’t share memories with everyone, that’s literally the whole point of the story and it’s why Jonas is the ONLY Receiver of Memory. So if he can start sharing memories with Fiona, the whole plot line becomes pointless.
Yes, it’s a dystopian novel set in the future where a lot of things (including colours and feelings) are controlled. But nowhere in the book does it say that their technology is super advanced. I always assumed they lived in a sort of backwards world with little to no technology (apart from planes). But that’s a personal thing, I guess.
Asher goes from being the Assistant Recreational Director to becoming a Pilot.
*mouth popping noise to indicate confusion*
Two completely different careers, not even remotely related. SPOILER ALERT: it’s because they needed Asher for the BIG DRAMATIC ENDING. Instead of just making him comic relief, like in the book.
Similar to how they made Fiona a Nurturer instead of a Caretaker of the Old because then she too could be all “I love you, Jonas, even though I don’t know what love is. Here, let me help you steal a baby.” Which, I mean, yay for strong female characters but that plot point was a little more impressive when book Jonas did it on his own.
Let me be completely honest: I don’t like Taylor Swift. I’m sure she’s a lovely person, but there was a year when all I heard at work was Taylor Swift and now her voice hurts my brain. I also don’t know why they needed her to play Rosemary (the Receiver of Memory who failed before Jonas was selected) because in the books, the Giver hints at music but doesn’t share it with Jonas. This was clearly a scene dropped into the movie to give T-Swizzle more exposure because she’s so obscure…
5) The Chief Elder
I like Meryl Streep as much as the next person, but she was the BIG BAD VILLAIN and honestly, the Elders were only in the book for 5-10 pages TOTAL. It’s more of a philosophical text and less of a “here’s what GOOD looks like and here’s BAD”, so her character was sort of out there. She made for a lot more drama though, so I guess that’s a good thing?
It wasn’t terrible. It definitely wasn’t the worst adaptation I’ve ever seen, but for something that claimed to be “loyal” to the original, it strayed awfully far from the source, presumably to make it more accessible (even though it really didn’t help but it didn’t do well in the box office).
If you genuinely love the philosophical nature of the book, don’t bother watching the movie. Otherwise, it was decent, if a little slow.
Top 10 Movies
Once more, I’ve decided to tackle a “top ten” list, and this time, I’m going with favourite movies.
For previous top ten lists, please see books, albums, and songs.
Thus, in no particular order:
1) The Nightmare Before Christmas
I’m pretty sure I’ve explained my love for Jack Skellington before.
2) 10 Things I Hate About You
Forget that time he played the Joker – Heath Ledger as Patrick Verona is one of the best things to ever exist. I should also note that the first time I watched this, I was going through a 3rd Rock from the Sun phase, and I loved seeing Tommy and Alissa (aka Cameron and Bianca) together again.
3) Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Of course I have to put a Harry Potter movie on this list. I chose Prisoner of Azkaban because it was my favourite book for the longest time (it’s slowly being replaced by Deathly Hallows, but still holds a special place in my heart). Plus I think this is the one where my love for Daniel Radcliffe reached a whole new level.
4) The Sandlot
Ro and I (and, on occasion, our brother Kevin) quote this movie all the time. It was a summertime staple, and everything I know about baseball, I learned from Benny “the Jet” Rodriguez. Base up, you blockheads!
5) School of Rock
This movie made me want to start a band when I was 13 (it still does). Jack Black is hilarious and I only wish we had had cool substitute teachers like him in school.
6) The Jungle Book
My favourite Disney movie in general. I watched this a million times as a child. My nieces have all, at some point, been obsessed with it, I, for one, never complain about watching it with them.
My favourite “classic” Disney princess is Belle (because I relate to her on so many levels), but Rapunzel is one of the best recent princesses. I would argue that Tangled is more enjoyable than Frozen (yeah, I said it!).
8) She’s the Man
Remember when Amanda Bynes was a promising young actress? It makes me a little sad to re-watch this, knowing that she has all sorts of problems now, but this was probably the peak of her popularity, and she was so talented.
9) Easy A
Emma Stone is one of my girl crushes. I want to be her (or at least be friends with her). The only unbelievable thing about this movie is trying to convince me that someone who looks like Emma Stone could be invisible in high school. No es posible. Otherwise, it’s flawless (like Emma Stone!).
10) The Princess Bride
Three words: as you wish. Enough said. (Also, I can’t truly hate Prince Humperdinck – even though he’s a tool – because Chris Sarandon was the voice of Jack Skellington – see #1).
A long time ago, we used to be friends
I can’t claim that I’ve been a Veronica Mars fan for 10 years or thatI desperately waited for the movie and donated $213564 to their Kickstarter…but after watching all three seasons in 2 months or less and seeing the movie last night, I can claim that I am a fan.
Sorry this song is now stuck in your head for the next week.
Here’s the summary from IMDB:
“After her best friend is murdered and her father is removed as county sheriff, Veronica Mars dedicates her life to cracking the toughest mysteries in the affluent town of Neptune.”
I don’t know why I didn’t watch VM when it first started. Apart from the fact that I was 14 and didn’t watch much TV (in that aspect, I haven’t changed a lot in 10 years). But Ro watched it all and owns the DVDs…so last year, when they announced the Kickstarter for the long-awaited movie, she insisted that I watch the series. It took me several months to actually sit down and start watching, but it didn’t take me very long to get through it all.
Never underestimate the size of my bear claws.
The first two seasons were excellent. I think I stopped breathing at one point when watching the season one finale: even though I knew for a fact that Veronica would make it through (otherwise how did the show continue for another two years?), it was so well-written that I was literally on the edge of my seat.
The show found its strength in its depiction of relationships: the realistic parent-child pairing of Veronica and her dad, Keith (who, by the way, should totally win “Best TV Parent EVER” because he was incredible); the loyal friendships, especially Wallace and Mac, but also – on a different level – Weevil, the thug with a heart of gold; and, of course, the romantic relationships: her first love (and her dead best friend Lily’s brother), Duncan; Logan, the guy I believe she was meant to be with; and Piz, who I probably would have liked if he wasn’t blatantly introduced as a rival love interest in season three. Plus, you couldn’t help loving Veronica, who is basically the epitome of a bad-ass female lead who doesn’t take nothin’ from anybody (plus she has fantastic hair).
The supporting characters were equally fleshed out: Dick Casablancas was mainly there for comedic relief but was more complicated than you’d think (his brother, Cassidy, played a huge role in the second season – NO SPOILERS); the incompetent Sheriff Don Lamb; Meg, Leo, Parker…the list goes on. I may not have liked all the characters (I could have lived without Parker, for example), they were real. Maybe some of the story-lines were a little unbelievable or conveniently glossed over without a lot of explanation (and perhaps a lack of continuity, though that was a bigger problem in the movie than in the series), but they added depth to the show.
Team Logan forever!
The writing took a bit of a downward turn in season three, which probably didn’t help an already floundering show. The excitement and tension that made the series so addictive were diluted and there were a lot more filler episodes in season three than in the other two seasons combined.
I imagine it was hard to watch the show on actual TV and find out it was cancelled (not to mention, the series finale is so anti-climactic and very unsatisfying , especially compared with the first two seasons’ finales), but it makes sense that it ended when it did.
The movie, by the way, was very good and brought back a lot of characters, but there were SO MANY DETAILS that I wanted resolved (the thing with Keith!!) and occasionally it seemed like they were stretching the plot to include random characters (why focus on Carrie Bishop if Leighter Meester couldn’t reprise her role?!). But there’s talk of sequels or spin-offs, so Veronica Mars will never really leave.
[insert some witty reference to “We Used to Be Friends” here]
This is Halloween
If you’ve ever met me, it should come as no surprise to learn that I am a huge Tim Burton fan.
My obsession started with The Nightmare Before Christmas (which is celebrating its 20th anniversary!!!!)
The eternal question.
Personally, I like watching it all year, but if I had to choose, I’d watch it in November (Ro recently said that most Tim Burton movies are perfect for “American Thanksgiving” – right between Halloween and Christmas!).
I don’t remember how old I was the first time I saw it. To be honest, I don’t think it really stuck with me until I re-watched it when I was about 12 or 13. And I can’t quite explain why it means so much to me.
For one, it’s absolutely beautiful and took an absurdly long time to make (approximately one minute of the movie took almost an entire week to film!).
Plus, I just love the story. The idea that Jack, tired of being the “Pumpkin King”, discovers Christmas and decides he has to experience it in his own way (Christmas is my favourite holiday). Maybe it’s the whole identity quest thing – is Jack better suited as a Pumpkin King or a Sandy Claws? What lesson will he learn at the end of this experiment? etc etc
I don’t know. I try not to over-analyze it because I don’t want to ruin it.
Then there are the songs, which I sing all year ’round (thanks, Danny Elfman):
Not only is this one of the best songs of the movie, but this particular version is a cover by one of my favourite bands, Panic! at the Disco!!
Of course, my favourite character is Jack Skellington himself:
Jack’s first scene. I squeal every time.
He’s tall and lanky and has musical tendencies. If he was real (i.e. not a skeleton), he would be my ideal man (he still kinda is…).
He’s also ambitious and intelligent and optimistic and generally a fantastic hero.
And now it just sounds like I’m fangirling over an animated character, so I’m going to stop before I make things weird.
Long story short: this is my most favourite movie of all time. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to give it a chance. Even if you think it’s cheesy or lame or whatever, I think everyone can appreciate the amount of effort that went into making this beautiful film.