Favourite Book to Movie Adaptations: Part 1

As a booklover, I sometimes have a love-hate relationship with movies based on books I’ve read. On the one hand, it can be awesome to see your favourite books brought to life on the big screen. On the other, it can be irritating or downright disappointing when certain details or subplots are left out, major events are changed, or the essence of a character is lost. Here are some of my favourite book to movie adaptations (more to come in Part 2).

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants
(based on The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants by Ann Brashares)

The ultimate friendship movie – lots of falling in love, making mistakes, growing up, family drama and, of course, being there for your friends no matter what. I have watched this movie many times and I’ll probably watch it many more.

Sisterhood Traveling Pants movie pic

Room
(based on Room by Emma Donoghue)

This movie was amazing and really brought the book to life. It was one of those movies that you keep thinking about long after you’ve watched it. There were several intense scenes where I was on the edge of my seat, hoping everything would work out. I’m thinking particularly of the scenes of Jack in the truck and Jack talking to the police officer. The mother-child bond and chemistry between Ma (Brie Larson) and Jack (Jacob Tremblay) was so evident on the screen.

Room movie

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
(based on Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins)

This was my absolute favourite adaptation of the series; I could watch it over and over. There were so many intense and emotional scenes. It has all the best of the first Hunger Games: the reaping, the training, the interviews with Caesar Flickerman, and of course the actual Games. But added to that is the growing tension of unrest and rebellion in the districts, the twist of the Quarter Quell, and the additional twist at the end – the realization that there’s a bigger plan being orchestrated.

Catching Fire gif

The Spectacular Now
(based on The Spectacular Now by Tim Tharp)

I haven’t read the book that the movie is based on, so I can’t speak to whether it’s a good or accurate adaptation. However, the movie itself was really good. It felt very realistic, with top-notch acting – it seemed as though the characters weren’t performing from a script at all but simply coming up with things to say as they went along, as you would in real life. They stumbled over words and talked over each other. They did things that made you want to shake them, scream at them, ask them what the hell they were doing. This movie is not a glossy, polished Hollywood blockbuster; it demonstrates the messy, imperfectness of life.

The Spectacular Now gif

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone
(based on – what else – Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone by J. K. Rowling)

Sometimes I have a bit of a love-hate relationship with these movies. It’s certainly awesome to see Hogwarts and the Harry Potter universe come to life on the big screen. On the other hand, some of the movies bug me, whether because they leave out so many details or even whole scenes that would’ve been amazing to watch or because they miss the boat in some way. I recently re-read the fourth and fifth Harry Potter books and then re-watched the fourth and fifth movies and I felt this way about those adaptations. But despite all this, I couldn’t NOT put Harry Potter on the list. I mean, come on. That’s why I chose the very first one. I quite like this one as an adaptation; it’s where everything begins and I think it captures the, well, magicalness of the magical world. We are introduced to that world along with Harry, and we’re just as much in awe as he is. Plus, who can resist baby-faced Dan, Rupert, and Emma?

Harry Potter trio

 

Harry Potter gif letters

 

More coming in Part 2!

What are some of your favourite book to movie adaptations?

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Re-Reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Rowling Harry Potter 5

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix is not my favourite book in the series. This may be because I don’t feel it has as much of a compelling and overarching mystery that makes you want to keep reading, at least not to the same degree that some of the other books do. Like in The Chamber of Secrets, you’re wondering, “Who has opened the Chamber of Secrets? Who is the heir of Slytherin? Why do students keep getting petrified?” And in The Goblet of Fire, it’s all about “Who put Harry’s name into the Goblet of Fire and why? What will the next task be?” etc. In some ways, OotP seems like a book that is setting up for the rest of the series: the political environment, the climax, how neither Harry nor Voldemort “can live while the other survives” and the implications of that. That said, it’s not that I didn’t enjoy it, because I did. It started out slow but picked up somewhere around the middle and became more interesting, and I flew through the last 200 pages or so with much more enthusiasm. Continue reading “Re-Reading Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix”

Re-Reading Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Rowling Harry Potter 4

The Quidditch World Cup! House elf liberation! The Triwizard Tournament and other magical schools! Malfoy as a ferret! Portkeys! Yule Ball drama!

Even though I’ve read this one multiple times, it’s been at least six years since I last read it and it was so amazing. I had a massive book hangover and didn’t want to read something new. What is it about these books that even when things are bad, they feel cozy, and when I finish I feel like I’m leaving behind friends. That’s rare; I don’t get that with many books, and I read a lot.

Harry Potter gif world cup

In this book I could feel Harry’s anxiety and dread about the next task and what he might have to face, his elation when the task’s over and all went well and he doesn’t have to think about the next one for months, his guilt over Cedric’s death.

I just can’t get over how immense and detailed the wizarding world is, AND all the clues and hints J.K. Rowling dropped regarding future events. She alludes to the Room of Requirement and horcruxes, for example. The whole series is like an intricate puzzle with millions of pieces, and in the end Rowling fits them all together just so. I think that’s part of why this series is so fun to re-read, because you can go back and see how the puzzle fits together after you’ve seen the end result.

Every time I read the fourth book, I think about Dumbledore’s portrayal in the movie and in particular the infamous “Harry did you put your name in the Goblet of Fire?” scene and I just cringe and cringe and cringe. Dumbledore is supposed to be calm, serene, composed, eccentric. Look at this description of him from Wikipedia: “He almost constantly gives off an aura of serenity and composure, rarely displaying intense emotions of anger or fear.” Why couldn’t he have been portrayed that way in the movies? Why was the Goblet of Fire scene in particular so off the mark?

Harry Potter gif gof

Tear Factor

I actually got teary on two different occasions. The first was when Harry, Ron, and Hermione banged on Hagrid’s door, shouting that they don’t care if he’s half-giant, they still like him and want to know him. It was just such a lovely example of true-blue friends who stick by and stand up for each other no matter what.

The second was when Harry was in the hospital wing after the whole ordeal of the third task and what happened after, and he’s on the verge of tears because he feels like it’s his fault that Cedric died, since Harry was the one who suggested they both take the Triwizard Cup. And then Molly gave him a huge hug, the likes of which Harry can’t remember ever receiving in his life, and I just wanted to cry over all Harry has been through, not only on the night of the third task (which would have been enough on its own!) but also during his whole life.

Favourite Quotes (more like scenes – the bantering and dialogue are top-notch in this one)

“Mr. Weasley, it’s Harry … the fireplace has been blocked up. You won’t be able to get through there.”
“Damn!” said Mr. Weasley’s voice. “What on earth did they want to block up the fireplace for?”
“They’ve got an electric fire,” Harry explained.
“Really?” said Mr. Weasley’s voice excitedly. “Ecklectic, you say? With a 
plug? Gracious, I must see that … let’s think … ouch, Ron!”
Ron’s voice now joined the others’.
“What are we doing here? Has something gone wrong?”
“Oh, no, Ron,” came Fred’s voice, very sarcastically. “No, this is exactly where we wanted to end up.”
“Yeah, we’re having the time of our lives here,” said George, whose voice sounded muffled, as though he was squashed against the wall.

(and basically the whole chapter of the Weasleys arriving at Privet Drive to take Harry to the Quidditch World Cup – pure gold. That would have been HILARIOUS if it was in the movie!)

“Well, I certainly don’t,” said Percy sanctimoniously. “I shudder to think what the state of my in-tray would be if I was away from work for five days.”
“Yeah, someone might slip dragon dung in it again, eh, Perce?” said Fred.
“That was a sample of fertilizer from Norway!” said Percy, going very red in the face. “It was nothing personal!”
“It was,” Fred whispered to Harry as they got up from the table. “We sent it.”

But Ron was staring at Hermione as though suddenly seeing her in a whole new light.
“Hermione, Neville’s right — you 
are a girl….”
“Oh well spotted,” she said acidly.

“Who’re you going with, then?” said Ron.
“Angelina,” said Fred promptly, without a trace of embarrassment.
“What?” said Ron, taken aback. “You’ve already asked her?”
“Good point,” said Fred. He turned his head and called across the common room, “Oi! Angelina!”
Angelina, who had been chatting with Alicia Spinnet near the fire, looked over at him.
“What?” she called back.
“Want to come to the ball with me?”
Angelina gave Fred a sort of appraising look.
“All right, then,” she said, and she turned back to Alicia and carried on chatting with a bit of a grin on her face.
“There you go,” said Fred to Harry and Ron, “piece of cake.”

He therefore had to endure over an hour of Professor Trelawney, who spent half the lesson telling everyone that the position of Mars in relation to Saturn at that moment meant that people born in July were in great danger of sudden, violent deaths.
“Well, that’s good,” said Harry loudly, his temper getting the better of him, “just as long as it’s not drawn-out, I don’t want to suffer.”

Read my thoughts on The Order of the Phoenix here.