Adaptations we've loved and loathed

Like everyone else in the world, I’m reading George R.R. Martin’s Game of Thrones series right now. (I’m on number 3, Storm of Swords.)  You think I’m kidding about the everyone else part? I09  reported that Martin boosted August book sales pretty much by himself.  In my local library system, every single book of the series in every format (even on Overdrive) had a very long waiting period.  It’s not really a surprise: HBO series plus long-awaited 5th book = big sales of all books.  And now that the series got 13 nominations, and several Emmy wins, the wait at the library just got longer.

I’ve only seen 1.5 episodes of the HBO series, but it was enough to make me want to read the book. And now that I’ve read the first book, the series seems like a very good adaptation—which is a relief. I do plan to watch the rest once it hits Netflix.


On the other hand, I cannot watch True Blood. I’m a huge Charlaine Harris fan, but I hate how much Alan Ball has strayed from the books. I understand his rationale, but still. (And please, some of these new plots seem to come straight out of the bad arcs of Dark Shadows.)

So I hope some of the dystopian adaptations planned for the near future ( cough, Hunger Games) don’t stray too awfully from the originals.   I loved Jeanne Duprau’s Ember series but the movie, which bore only a passing resemblance to the first book, seriously sucked.

What are some of your favorite and/or least favorite adaptations of science fiction / fantasy books?



11 comments:

Josin L. McQuein said...

I'm with you on True Blood. There were points where I tried to watch it, but it seemed like the only thing that carried over from the books was the character names. I don't think I made it through a full episode.

Movie-wise, my biggest (recent) disappointment was The Lightning Thief. The whole plot was butchered in a way that, aside from cutting one of the main characters/sources of tension, there was no hope of the movie being a series.

Christine Hardy said...

I'm not a huge sci-fi reader, but I do recall being impressed with the adaptation of Contact, knowing how hard it would be to take something like that and make it into a movie. I they did a pretty decent job.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I love the adaptation of The Game of Thrones. I'd read more of the books but they're so long and I have too many other books to read.

Ingrid Jonach said...

Am I going to be super unpopular for saying I hated the first couple of Harry Potter films (and was lukewarm about the last few)? There was no way movie makers were going to live up to the world JK Rowling made up - although they gave it a good go.

Ava Jae said...

Probably one of the worst adaptations I've ever seen was Eragon. The movie was atrocious, changed major plot points and, in my opinion, was basically a movie with no resemblance to the original book safe for character names. Very disappointing.

On the other hand, I actually enjoyed the Harry Potter films. They weren't perfect, but no adaptation is, and I thought they worked with the books really nicely, the characters were pitch perfect and it covered (most) of the important bits without making huge changes to the plot.

Ingrid Jonach said...

Ava - you are totally right that the characters were spot on in HP and thankfully they stuck to the story.

I think what bothers me is that SO many ppl have loved the movies, but not given the books a go (or conversely hated the movies and then labeled the books likewise). I get SO much more out of the books. I have started loaning them out to offenders and I doubt I will ever see them again :)

I thought I would share this link for a bit of fun - it is the Top 15 Harry Potter film mistakes: http://www.moviemistakes.com/blogpost69

Bittersweet Fountain said...

I'm actually a huge fan of the new LOTR movies. I thought they did a good job of making a massive epic into a set of movies, and for the most part I understood why they cut everything they did and thought it made sense.

I concur that The Lightening Thief was a huge disappointment, but I have to say the WORST adaption of a book to a movie I've ever seen was I, Robot. Isaac Asimov is rolling in his grave because of that movie. It was terrible.

Matthew MacNish said...

The Game of Thrones show and the A Game of Thrones novel are both incredible. It's not a perfect, exact adaptation, but it's close enough for TV, and to be enjoyable.

People say I'm crazy for this, and I'm okay with that, but I actually prefer the True Blood show to the Sookie Stackhouse novels. At least for the first season. I don't watch it anymore, because the first episode of season three was just too ridiculous for me. I've only read the first three novels or so, but I couldn't go on. They just weren't my kind of thing.

Kate said...

I always look to see how much the author was involved in the adaptation. I think that has a lot to do with its loyalty to the books. I don't think that The Hunger Games to stray too much, for that reason. There is always that fear, though, especially when you really love a book that is adapted.

Angie Smibert said...

Good point, Kate. JKR was heavily involved in the movies, which made them great adaptations (imho). I also thought the LOTR movies were excellent.

But how could I forgotten about the Lightening Thief? Talk about seriously sucking.

KariBradley7 said...

I was so tremendously disappointed in the I am Number Four movie. Never mind the book was written in the James Frey book factory--I enjoyed the book and thought the movie was watered-down and even inaccurate at times. AND I think the author(s) were involved in production process which makes the adaptation worse in my book.