Opinion Battles Round 9 Best Adapted Novel/Book

opinion battles

Best Adapted Novel/Book

When it comes to adaptation from classic books or novels we get a huge number coming out each year, some a great others are terrible. We are going to look at the ones we think are the best, which ones do you enjoy?

If you want to take in the next round of Opinion Battles we will be doing best Animé email moviereviews101@yahoo.co.uk The deadline will be September 6th 2015.

Darren – Movie Reviews 101

Of Mice and Men (1992)mice

When it comes to books too movies we have had many classic films come from source material, Shawhank Redemption, The Shining, Harry Potter series the list goes on but I don’t read too many books in fact I think I have only read about 6 books since school and I watch to pick my favourite of the film that read. The list includes World War Z (which I did really enjoy but isn’t close enough to the book) Angel and Demons (which we don’t talk about) and Romeo and Juliet (which has been done too many times) this pick work because it shows how simple we need a story is and how to deal with struggles in a different time. Malkovich and Sinise shine with Sinise also taking the director chair and I do believe this is one of the few books nearly everyone will have read so the film translating it to this level is all the praise needed.

Movie Rob

Shawshank Redemption (1994)shawshank

I remember seeing this movie in the Theater in 1994 and throughout the viewing, it nagged me that I was familiar with the story. I had forgotten that I had read the book 7 years earlier, written by none other than Stephen King himself.  This along with Apt Pupil(1995) and Stand By Me (1986) {known as The Body} were all in the novella Different Seasons. The story is only 109 pages, but it’s so rich with exposition that Frank Darabont was able to create a 2 and a half hour movie out of it.

This is one of the few movies where I can honestly say that the film version of the book was just as good as the book itself was. Usually the movie is missing so much from the book that you feel many plot points are absent.  Darabont did an amazing job adapting this movie [similar to what he would do 5 years later with The Green Mile (1999)]

I’m not an expert on technical categories, but this movie has two that stand out among others. The music score is very riveting and great to listen to. The cinematography is superb, Roger Deakins, did an amazing job especially during his birds eye view shots of the inmates in the quad. It really makes you lose your breath in awe.

Regardless, looking back 21 years later, it is still one of the best movies ever made and is quite comparable to the novel..

Not much else that I can about this movie that hasn’t already been said.


The Hunt for Red October (1990)hunt

We live in a time of “No, but I’ve seen the movie.” Not always a safe way to think. Films like Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings, though a worthy effort and quite enjoyable, leave the viewer completely unprepared for what’s actually written in the texts. Even worse, novels like Robert Ludlum’s Bourne Legacy have little more than the title in common with its script, telling an entirely other story.

The Hunt for Red October is a commanding naval thriller: solid directing of a smart cast in a taut adventure. Most importantly – the story is the book on film. Yes, Clancy’s novel offers far more information on the characters and fleshes out, in great detail, events only alluded to on screen: the loss of Ramius’ wife, Jack Ryan’s sacrifice for the other soldiers, etc.

But what’s on screen is precisely what one’s going to find in the novel – accurately represented and no less thrilling. Capturing imagery from a page and bringing it to life right out of our imagination is no easy task: Interview with the Vampire shines in this respect. Yet, The Hunt for Red October gets my vote for the best adaptation from a book/novel for its accuracy as well as its riveting on-screen portrayal.

Kim – Tranquil Dreams

Julie and Julia (2009)julie

This film adaptation of books or novels is totally out of proportion now.  I feel like 50% of the new releases are based on some novel or another and if its not that, its like remake of something.  But, I also gobble up this stuff.  It gives me suggestions on what book to read and what to watch afterwards.  I figured to choose for this one, it’d have to a movie where I’ve also read the book.  Believe me, my standards on that is a lot lesser than it used to be.  There are some great movies out there adapted from books (like Argo) but I haven’t read it so how do I compare, right? BUT, my favorite came down to Howl’s Moving Castle (which was adapted from a children’s book) and this one, Julie and Julia.  Julie and Julia is a fantastic movie and just as its a fantastic movie, its an awesome read as well.  The cast are ones I love: Meryl Streep and Amy Adams are two of my favorite actresses ever. I’m totally into food and cookbooks and well, I’m a blogger (duh!) so all this resounds with my life a little. Its fun, light and ever so entertaining as we watch the lives of Julia Child and Julie Powell intertwine as they each, although in different countries and time, embark on their own culinary adventure.

Drew – Drew’s Movie Reviews

Million Dollar Babymillion

Million Dollar Baby toys with my emotions so, so much. It’s an uplifting, feel good underdog story for the majority of the film, followed by a wrenching gut punch at the end.  It almost made it onto my don’t watch again list because of it but I just enjoy this film too much do deny myself the pleasure of watching it.  I heard that Million Dollar Baby was a good film but I didn’t realize how good it was until I actually watched it and started kicking myself for not watching it sooner.  This is easily Clint Eastwood’s best directed film, and I’ll dare say starring film as well.  Same with Morgan Freeman and Hilary Swank.  Freeman has had many great and memorable roles over the years but to me this is his best work.  As for Swank, I haven’t seen many of her films but I doubt any of them are on par with her here.  Everyone brought their A-game in Million Dollar Baby and it shows, creating one of the best films of the 2000s.

Khalid – The Blazing Reel

Goodfellas (1990)


Based on personal experiences I think its very rare for a film to top it’s source-material, but Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas isn’t just a great adaptation, it’s also one of the greatest films – in my opinion, the greatest – to ever don the screen. Now Nicholas Pileggi’s Wiseguy, which the film is based on is a great book but Goodfellas manages to not only bring the brilliance of the book to the screen but somehow make it better. And the credit of course goes to the sharply scripted screenplay, the excellent performances from Ray Liotta, Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci and Martin Scorsese’s immaculate direction that makes this film such a phenomenal experience.

That Other Critic

Lord of the Rings Trilogylord

Okay, okay, technically I’m bending the rules here, picking a trilogy instead of a single film, but I feel that I’m justified in doing so, as the book “trilogy” is in fact only one book, and was always intended to be read as such. It was only published in three volumes because of the paper shortage after World War II, which would’ve made a single volume edition cost a ridiculous amount of pounds and would also weigh a lot of pounds. Yay, history! And also lame puns!

Now on to the show. The Lord of the Rings film trilogy is the best-done novel adaptation that I have ever seen. All changes made are for the betterment of telling the story in a medium that is much, much different than print. For example, the second and third volumes of the book are split into two separate parts that are presented one after the other, the first of both following the Fellowship sans Frodo and Sam, and the second of both following said hobbits. Both parts occur simultaneously, but are not presented as such. For the big screen adaptation, this was altered so that both parts are shown simultaneously through the magic of editing, which actually removes the cliffhanger ending of The Two Towers book, as the Shelob fiasco was happening during the main body of Return of the King. A filmmaker has to be very bold to make a drastic alteration to such a beloved source material, but, at the same time, this move was entirely necessary to craft a cohesive story.

This, and other such beneficial changes (such as removing strange and unnecessary subplots *cough* Tom Bombadil *cough*) along with a good understanding of the rich source material work together to create masterpieces of modern filmmaking, films that revolutionized the fantasy genre, raised expectations, and won Oscars. Filled with incredible battles, mind-blowing special effects, a grand scale, and amazingly human performances to tie it all together, the Lord of the Rings can’t be beat.


The Shawshank Redemption (1994)shawshank

I found it really hard deciding on an entry this round (so many great potential choices!) – so I thought I’d do something I don’t often do and go for a complete classic. Everyone loves The Shawshank Redemption don’t they? Or at least must have done at some point (for me it was when I was a teenager). It’s one of those rare films that appeals to most people. It’s a brilliant story, uplifting and has memorable characters and scenes. To be honest I felt it was such a fitting choice mainly down to its popularity, which I think overshadows Stephen King’s original novella. It’s a fantastic adaptation! 

James – Back to the Viewer

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)

Book adaptations tend to be a touchy subject amongst cinephiles and literary connoisseurs, especially those that claim to be both so this highly subjective round promises to make for an interesting read. Having said that there are a select bunch of silver screen book adaptations that revel in universal acclaim. One such film is Milos Forman’s outstanding One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.

Ken Kesey’s critically lauded masterpiece is masterfully reworked by Forman with Jack Nicholson embodying the rapscallion Randall P. McMurphy. As good as Nicholson’s performance is, Cuckoo doesn’t depend on a sole, albeit, defining turn, to make it stand out from the crowd. The touching, often torpid tale as told by Kesey is reworked with an everlasting empathy that adds new depth to the colourful characters that is sometimes lost amid Chief’s metaphorical schizophrenic ramblings. While some of Kesey’s more intricate symbolism is side-stepped to make for a less abstract tale of institutionalisation Forman’s unerring loyalty to the subject is chilling in places and truly makes for one of the greatest films of all time, let alone one of the greatest book adaptations.

S.G. Liput – Rhyme & Reason

The Shawshank Redemption (1994)shawshank

I’ll admit I haven’t read the Steven King story Rita Hayworth and Shawshank Redemption, but I’m still amazed at how Frank Darabont crafted such a compelling and expansive film from a mere novella. The film and story cover the nineteen years that innocent Andy Dufresne spends in Maine’s Shawshank Prison, including friends and enemies made during his jailtime and his mysterious and soul-stirring “redemption.” From what I understand, the characters played by Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman are very different in appearance from their film counterparts (that “Irish” joke wasn’t originally a joke), but they are Andy and Red. Every actor, every scene, every detail of this film fulfills its purpose perfectly, and The Shawshank Redemption proves the skills of both King and Darabont as master storytellers.

34 comments on “Opinion Battles Round 9 Best Adapted Novel/Book

  1. Reblogged this on and commented:
    Check out the next round of Opinions Battle where we all get to choose our favorites in a given genre. This time it’s best movie adapted from a novel. Head on over and vote!

  2. Nice choices by everyone!!! I also considered Of Mice & Men and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. Cuckoo’s Nest especially as it’s another adaptation that’s popularity over shadows the original book.

    That particular version of Of Mice and Men is so wonderful though, it really is a terrific adaptation of a terrific book! Malkovich and Sinise are both 10/10 in it.

    Surprised no-one said To Kill a Mockingbird or Harry Potter! WTF!!!!!

    Great round everyone 🙂

    • i don’t read books so this became very difficult to choose, only seen the Harry Potter’s once and they are fun but don’t know how close to the book they are

      • I contemplated Harry P because they are pretty excellent adaptations. Of course they miss out some things but the essence of the books – the characters, the friendships, the humour, the bravery etc – is really well done. And I LOVE the fact they’re British, they weren’t Americanised at all. All Brit actors and filming locations etc. I was really pleased about that 🙂

      • Drat! I should have stayed true to my roots and gone British 🙂

        “stoner Tom Riddle” !!!! I NEED TO SEE THIS!

        “Voldemort – the drugged up crazy days!”

        P.S will speak to you soon about Skyping. I don’t have a laptop at the mo lol but later this week I can borrow my bfs. NEED to get cracking!!!!

      • it is the kid kind of grown up, but would explain the nose.
        i will let you off with Shawshank, its not like they turned a ginger haired irish character into Morgan Freeman.
        will speak to you later about skype too, i am off work today so Happy MOnday to me, only got to work tues & Weds too

      • Lol!!! You know what I’m laughing at!!! 😀

        At least they still called him “Red” :p :p

        Lovely, have a great day and speak soon Dazza 🙂

  3. Reblogged this on Tranquil Dreams and commented:
    Check out Round 9 of Opinion Battles! I’m sitting somewhere in the lower middle of the pack here in terms of results but its my fault that I choose these obscure movies. However, this round is right up my alley (not that my choice will be any more popular). We’re looking at Best Adapted Novel/Book.
    Hands down, this goes to Julie and Julia which is not only my go-to feel good movie but its a super fun culinary adventure that I wish I could someday incorporate onto my blog like how Julie Powell did. Plus, its an amazing team with Amy Adams and Meryl Streep! 🙂 I just love it!
    Head on over and check out the other great choices and drop a vote for whichever choice you agree with!!!

  4. Reblogged this on Rhyme and Reason and commented:
    For Round 9 of Opinion Battles, we all picked the best adapted novels. My choice was the classic Shawshank Redemption, a choice so good that two others picked it too. Lots of great picks, though, so vote for your favorite!

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