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Best and Worst Book-to-Movie Adaptations
Delightful and disenchanting film versions of books

Some movies adaptations do books justice, while others do them a disservice. From well-crafted tales to disappointing depictions, here are five motion pictures that range from the bewitching to the befuddling.

The Lord of the Rings

The masterful CGI effects and story-telling prowess of Peter Jackson’s 2001-2003 film adaptation of J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Lord of the Rings” render the 1978 cartoon version passé. In the words of Melissa Katsoulis, contributor to The Telegraph, “Until Jackson’s triumphant trilogy of films, all attempts to bring Middle Earth and its hairy denizens off the printed page had fallen flat.” From an aptly-chosen cast to epic scenes to unforgettable scenery, this cinematographic excursion stays true to the essence of Tolkien’s characters and the heart of the plot. It also does a superb job of shrinking down the extensive 1,008-page trilogy into the short span of a 557-minute movie series.

Jurassic Park

Stephen Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” was not only a cutting-edge contribution to the film industry back in 1993, but it continues to present a believable depiction of the book by Michael Chrichton, as Amy West, contributor to the International Business Times, relates. The movie stays true to the novel that inspired it, by playing with the idea of genetic modification gone wrong in the fictional setting of a theme park with scientifically-engineered dinosaur species. Though its special effects aren’t as revolutionary today as they were when it first came out, the movie is still a rewarding one if you like a thrilling storyline that leaves you on the edge of your seat with suspense.

The Cat in the Hat

“The Cat in the Hat” might be one of author Theodor Geisel’s most well-known books, but there are no decent adaptations of it to date. The 2003 film version of it is certainly the worst one ever produced. Jeremy Smith, contributor to Thrillist.com, describes the film as “[a] misbegotten adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ blithely chaotic children’s book [that] is a showcase for an immensely talented comedic performer who hasn’t heard the word "no" in a very long time.” If you cherish this story, avoid this cinematographic flop at all costs. 

The Fault in Our Stars

Novels with heavy topics and a poignant tone can often fall flat when modified for the screen. “The Fault in Our Stars,” however, is a stunning exception. Shailene Woodley and Ansel Elgort depict the raw emotion and heart-wrenching challenges of the storyline while skillfully highlighting the nuances of these characters’ stoicism and fragility.  The movie sticks closely to the text of the book — a wise decision considering the novel’s expansive themes. In the words of Clive Hendelson, writer at CREATORS.CO, the movie also encapsulates a perfect balance “between sentimentality and cynicism, between bathos and bitterness.”

Beautiful Creatures

Some movies are more captivating in the trailer than in the actual film; “Beautiful Creatures” falls into this category. As Jasmine Celeste McSparren, contributor to The Odyssey, writes, “Though well-casted, [the movie] lacks the intrigue of the novels. The side characters are hardly acknowledged, and until the final act, the film feels entirely like exposition.” If you want a more engaging experience and more fleshed-out characters, the book definitely proves more rewarding than the film adaptation.

Whether you crave a true-to-the-book interpretation or a laugh-worthy adaptation, one of these films should provide you with the audiovisual escape that you seek.

This article is presented by Key Hyundai in Jacksonville, FL.

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December 2017
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