While some may argue over that this stretches the definition of ‘book’, it is a comic-book and therefore counts. Nerds the world over have embraced the term ‘graphic-novel’ and in that spirit I believe the best film adaptation of a book of any sort is V for Vendetta. The film of V for Vendetta is not only brilliant, but much much better than the original material.
The film version of V for Vendetta is equal parts cool, moving and inspiring. It makes you want to stand up and fight for a cause, even if you are both cynical and incredibly lazy like me. The book on the other hand, is a bit… weird. The film is is a lot more black and white than the book, and loses a lot of the subtly of characterisation of the novel. But unlike every other film-of-a-book in history, this actually makes it better. In delving so far into the psyche of it characters the book gets quite disturbing, with V becoming horrifyingly focused at all costs, Evey as a pathetic broken mess and that police man Finch going on a crazy LSD trip for no reason at all.
The book is dark, but not in an interesting way. By stripping back some of the complexity, the film allows for a much more powerful story to emerge. The story of injustice, and the power of the many. It gives hope. It has Stephen Fry in it. It’s basically the perfect movie.
Verily I ask you to Vote and Verify my View, and Vouchsafe my Victory in the Verdict of… Vatal Vourway.
By Emer Sugrue
Perks of Being a Wallflower
It’s not often that a book translates well to the big screen, because usually the audience knows the book inside out and different factions are invariably disgruntled by some major cut to the story or even the slightest plot change. Perks of Being a Wallflower gracefully sidestepped this complete landmine, crowning itself king of book to film adaptations; a feat made even more impressive when you consider how hard core Perks fans are.
The book made you fall in love with Charlie, Sam and Patrick, and the film retains every ounce of the book’s honesty and truth. It’s keeps the book’s tone and steers clear of being patronising, unlike so many coming-of-age movies. Perhaps this is down to the book’s author, Stephen Chbosky also taking the reins on the film’s screenplay and direction, but either way, even the most die-hard fans were impressed by the movie.
The film keeps the magical scenes magical, ensuring the ‘I feel infinite’ car scene is as amazing as it is in the book, and Paul Rudd as Mr Anderson, Charlie’s English teacher, plays their relationship perfectly. And though Charlie’s heart-wrenching suicidal poem is left out, the Secret Santa scene still works, and is very lovely and perfect.
The painful scenes from the book aren’t glossed over in the movie, either. Remember when Charlie kisses “the prettiest girl in the room” and it’s not Mary-Elizabeth? Almost worse in the movie. The Aunt Helen flashbacks are handled brilliantly as well, though you won’t make it to the end of the film without turning into a blubbering mess. In a good way.
Also did I mention Ezra Miller is in it? Because he absolutely kills it as the most perfect Patrick you could ever imagine.
By Aoife Valentine
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
Maybe no film, no matter how brilliantly adapted, can ever match the fantasy and excitement of your own imagination of the novel it’s based upon, but it can certainly come very close. Hunter S. Thompson’s drug induced escapades, which are so wonderfully bizarre and often highly disconcerting, do indeed make the stuff of fantastic cinema.
A simple trip to report on a motorcycle race form the premise of the story, however don’t let this fool you into thinking that Fear and Loathing is some mild-mannered sporting tale. This is a film filled with sick, twisted surrealism, scattered with copious drug use, murder, crocodile heads on women, and Johnny Depp with a receding hairline; it is the stuff of nightmares.
I can’t help but feeling somewhat of the cool kid in this Fourway; the brooding smoker in a group of snorting lemonade drinkers if you will. Perks of Being a Wallflower suggests to me that some of my competitors have yet to reach that joyous stage of puberty and are trapped in notion that Emma Watson is actually a good actress. Age and sophistication proves both of these as false, cementing Fear and Loathing as the far superior choice.
Sure you can opt to relive the geeky teenage life you more than likely led (let’s not lie, you’re reading a section of the newspaper called Fatal Fourway), or you can choose the far more badass, not to mention artistically credential, choice of Fear and Loathing. So stop being such a loser and succumb to the peer pressure; voting for Fear and Loathing is scientifically proven to make you cooler, and that’s not even a lie.
By Anna Burzlaff
A lot of films based on books make the catastrophic mistake of making their celluloid recreations too similar to the word-filled page-athon that inspired it, forcing audiences to jerk out of their seats in disgust, monocles dropping into their popcorn, proclaiming: ‘Boo! I’ve already read this in word form! Why are you showing it to me again?!”
Except that doesn’t happen because, for some reason, people adore having the thing they read made again as accurately as possible but starring John Cusack. For example, Watchmen decided instead of doing anything new with the book that they should literally film the comic’s pages and attach and awful soundtrack to pretend it was a bit different. They were far too concerned with upsetting fans and being ‘loyal to the text’ that they forgot to actually have any original thoughts (though the opening montage was deadly).
The Shining, in contrast, is a film where the makers clearly skimmed the book, thought ‘that’s an interesting idea’, then flung the book to the other side the room and just typed out whatever they wanted. Which is exactly how you should make a film; Kubrick was on the ball. I’ve never understood people complaining that a film wasn’t enough like the book.
It’s not like a Hollywood release means that all the copies of the source material spontaneously combust, the innards of the original story lost forever. If you want the story of the novel, read the novel. A film should take the general idea of the book and then go off in some mad direction with it, interpreting it however they like. Which is why The Shining is the mother of all adaptations, because it barely resembles the original work.
By Conor Luke Barry