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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    From page to pixel: the best book-to-movie adaptations


    Though I love movies just as much as the average popcorn-mongering American consumer, I usually prefer the book version of an adapted tale. There are, however, a few exceptions where the visual spectacle, live action or killer special effects tell a story so well that film is just a better medium. To honor the Friday release of a little movie called “”The Twilight Saga: New Moon,”” here is a list of the best book-to-movie adaptations to add to your Netflix queue while you await the 2010 release of “”The Twilight Saga: Eclipse.””

    1. To Kill A Mockingbird (1962):

    While it is no substitute for reading the original, this movie based on the American classic about racism and growing up in the Depression-era South is a classic on its own. Gregory Peck gives a wonderful performance as the inimitable Atticus Finch, making this my all-time favorite black-and-white movie. The main character’s friend Dill has one of my favorite lines spoken by a five-year-old this side of a Peanuts comic strip: “”I’m little, but I’m old.””

    2. Alice in Wonderland (1951):

    As I never would have imagined while watching this animated acid trip as a kid, the book upon which it was based is even more off-the-wall than the Disney classic. While there is no matching the oddly-childish menace of author Lewis Carroll’s poem/prose edition, the movie’s smoking bugs, size-altering ‘shrooms and lingering Cheshire smile capture the fun/fever-dream essence of the beloved children’s book. The new Tim Burton version sounds intriguing, but it won’t replace the first movie in my heart.

    3. The Notebook (2004):

    The Nicholas Sparks novel upon which this chick flick favorite is based is more nuanced and life-like than the movie it inspired. But really, no one watches “”The Notebook”” for nuance and realism. You watch “”The Notebook”” for kisses-in-the-rain scenes, love like you believed in when you were a little girl and to seem like a softy to attract chicks. I like unhappy endings and storytelling subtleties more than most, but I love a shirtless, wet, decidedly unsubtle Noah Calhoun, too. If you like “”The Notebook,”” get excited for the movie version of Sparks’ novel “”Dear John”” starring Amanda Seyfried and Channing Tatum, which comes out in 2010.

    4. The Shawshank Redemption (1994):

    Based on a Stephen King short story, this moving tale of Morgan Freeman and Tim Robbins in prison changes a pretty major part of the plot. But unlike most butchering book-film changes, this one actually makes the story better. A touching tale of guilt, life and doing the right thing, this is the Stephen King you probably don’t know about, but should. And come on, it’s Morgan Freeman.

    5. Into the Wild (2007):

    The Jon Krakauer book about the life of runaway eccentric Chris McCandless is deep, moving, and a wonderful book. But the Sean Penn film based on Krakauer’s book is in every way more kind and reverent to the brave life of the disillusioned college grad who takes to the vagabond life to escape his family, expectations and society. To see where McCandless went and what he did instead of getting a nine-to-five, rather than just reading about it, helps the viewer understand McCandless’ decision with much more sympathy and clarity. It’s a great book, but it’s a transcendent movie.


    6. The Lovely Bones (2009):

    So this movie based on Alice Sebold’s 2002 novel doesn’t hit theatres until next month. But based on the solid casting, Peter Jackson as director and the crazy, awesome trailer I’ve been watching way too often, I’m pretty sure this adaptation will do justice to the bestseller on which it’s based. The book follows the imagined afterlife of a girl who gets raped and dies in the first 50-odd pages, so it has the potential to be really depressing. So far, it looks like Jackson is thankfully focusing on the more positive parts of the book: the very human characters, imaginative premise and lovably awkward protagonist Susie Salmon. My favorite line from the book sets the tone for this dreamy, teary story: “”Our only kiss was like an accident, a beautiful gasoline rainbow.””

    Whether you like only books or only movies or both, I hope you enjoy this list of the Bibliophile’s favorites from Kindle screen to big screen. See you in the line for the midnight showing of “”New Moon”” … it’s okay, I’ll pretend I don’t recognize you either.

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