This week, we have an adaptation from novel to screen freebie. It’s easy to say the book is better and in many cases it is. But there are times when the screen adaptation ends up being more enjoyable than the source material. Here are a few:
- The Godfather by Mario Puzo. Given the iconic status of the movie version, it’d be easy to assume the book is awesome too. After all, Puzo did adapt his novel for the silver screen. And yet, reading the book, I wasn’t overly impressed with it in quite the same way as I was with the movie.
- Jaws by Peter Benchley. Another iconic film that you’d assume the source material is awesome. The screen versions hones the book down to its essentials and it’s much better for it. The book has so many unlikeable characters that by about halfway through it, I was rooting for the shark to just eat everyone already and be done with it.
- Forrest Gump by Winston Groom. If you love the movie, avoid this book at all costs. Forrest goes to outer space, is lost on a deserted island, and becomes good friends with a space chimp. Oh, and the reason Jenny loves him in the book has less to do with the size of his heart and more the size of something else…
- The Spy Who Loved Me by Ian Fleming. Even Fleming knew this was a terrible book. When he sold the screen rights to the Bond books, one of his demands was that while they could use the title from this book, the book itself couldn’t be adapted. And it’s a good thing since this one is a first-person narrated story by a woman, trapped in a hotel with some killers until Bond shows up in the last few pages to save the day.
- Planet of the Apes by Pierre Boulle. The movie takes the basic premise and runs with it in an entirely different direction. Thank heavens. This one tries hard to have a twist, but it’s so silly.
- The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R..R. Tolkien. Before Fellowship of the Ring hit theaters, I joined a Barnes and Nobel on-line read-a-long of the books, hoping this was the time I could slog through them all. I left the group when some participants were posting long diatribes that the movies were leaving out small details from the books and, thus, ruining them. Again, this was BEFORE the movies came out. I’ve tried hard to enjoy the books but find them a bit of a slog. The movies eliminate page upon page of walking around and simply get us there.