Monday, January 25, 2016

Top Ten Books That Were Better as Movies (or Musicals)

I'm linking up with The Broke and the Bookish for another Top Ten Tuesday.

Inspired by a recent Modern Mrs. Darcy post, I'm using this week's freebie to share my picks for the ten books I liked better on screen or stage. Let's face it — the book is almost always better. Here are a few times when that's not the case.

1. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I know everyone loves this book to pieces, but I've read it twice and the writing just got in the way of the story for me. Even though a lot of details were changed in the movie, I was able to experience the heart of the story so much better on the screen.

2. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
This is not to say that the book's not enjoyable, because it certainly is, but you simply can't capture the magic of Gene Wilder's facial expressions on paper.

3. The Devil Wears Prada by Lauren Weisberger
The movie did a much better job of showing Andy slowly getting sucked into the world of her job, whereas in the book she just suddenly becomes a different person overnight.

4. High Fidelity by Nick Hornby
This is one of my husband's favorite movies, and while it wasn't nearly as memorable for me, it was definitely better than the book. The plot of the movie is just a small part of the book, which consisted mostly of a lot of whining and talking about sex.

5. Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers
The original book is pretty weird, and there isn't really a coherent story arc — it's just a series of other-worldly adventures, some of which don't even involve the Banks children. The movie is much sweeter and more rewarding as a story.

6. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux
It took me literally years to get through this book, as I kept putting it down. I am a huge fan of the musical, which takes a so-so plot and dresses it up with amazing music and wonderful special effects.

7. The Princess Bride by William Goldman
The movie captured everything that was good about the book and cut out the less interesting parts. I particularly couldn't stand how much of the book was devoted to author's commentary that took the blending of fact and fiction way too far for my taste.

8. A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
A plot and characters that fell flat in the novel came to life in the actors on screen. The small changes that were made for the movie (Jamie gifts Landon her mother's journal rather than a Bible) were well chosen and made the story much more realistic.

9. Wicked by Gregory Maguire
This is my favorite musical ever, and I couldn't believe how awful the source material was. All of the clever wordplay and sly links to the original story are absent in the book, which drops a bunch of obscure hints but manages never to answer any of its own questions.

10. The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Although much of the movie comes from the book, there are plenty of parts that were altered or not included, and for good reason. The book gets quite dark and complex at times, whereas the movie manages to stay lighthearted even though the scarier moments.

Which movies or musicals do you like better than their original books?

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