July 9, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Best/Worst Book-to-Movie Adaptations

The Top Ten Tuesday meme is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish, and this week's topic is film adaptations of books, both the good and the bad. For a longer list of "best" adaptations, check out my previous Top Ten Tuesday post.


1.) Just generally, Andrew Davies' period dramas. This includes, of course, the famous BBC Colin Firth version of Pride & Prejudice, but also less well-known ones like Northanger Abbey, Little Dorrit, and Wives & Daughters. An exception would be the 1996 Emma, as I prefer the version featuring Gwyneth Paltrow and Jeremy Northam. (Mainly because, hello, Jeremy Northam.)

Catherine and Henry in Northanger Abbey... aren't they adorable?!
2.) The 1983 version of Jane Eyre, which I know practically nobody is familiar with (it stars Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke). It's probably the version that is most faithful to the original book, although the 2006 version does a decent job as well.

3.) Anne of Green Gables and Anne of Green Gables: The Sequel. Megan Follows and Jonathan Crombie play off each other really well as Anne and Gilbert. Even though there are some major liberties taken with the storyline in the second movie (they kind of mashed together plots from a few different books in the series) the two main leads still manage to make it an entertaining movie-watching experience.

4.) Lord of the Rings. It's not a perfect rendering of the books, but hey, it comes pretty close. And it definitely gives off that necessary EPIC feel.

5.) The 1996 Much Ado About Nothing film. This is one of my favourite Shakespeare plays, and it's done wonderful justice in this version. The roles of Beatrice and Benedick are critical, and Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh play them pretty much to perfection. Honourable mention to the new Much Ado About Nothing film, which I saw just a couple days ago and was really quite good (certain scenes were absolutely hilarious!).


1.) The 2011 adaptation of Jane Eyre. I saw this in theatres and I kid you not, my friends and I were cracking up practically the whole way through. And Jane Eyre is not a comedy.

Rochester: "It is your SOUL that I want." Me: Run, Jane!!! Run!
2.) Ella Enchanted. I know I've used this example before, but this shouldn't even be considered an adaptation. It's appalling how they completely massacred Gail Carson Levine's novel.

3.) The 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice. There are certain aspects this one has going for it (the panoramic shots of scenery are breathtaking) but I don't think either of the leads are particularly well-cast. I'm not a huge Keira Knightley fan and I liked Matthew MacFadyen better as the character he plays in Little Dorrit (*points up*) than Mr. Darcy.

Darcy: "You have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love...I love... I love you. I never wish to be parted from you from this day on." Elizabeth: "Well then...your hands are cold." Me: ... WHAT??????
4.) The Princess Diaries 2 movie. Technically I guess this one isn't really an adaptation, because it's not based off of any storyline Meg Cabot wrote, but it's a very cheesy, cringe-in-places kind of movie. (To be fair, it is funny in spots too.) It bugs me how Michael is completely written out of it, though.

5.) Anne of Green Gables: The Continuing Story. This is the third Anne movie and it departs significantly from L.M. Montgomery's original books. As in, they didn't even bother mashing together her storylines this time, they just came up with something totally different. For the most part it is pretty ridiculous — I like the scene where Anne and Gilbert find each other again, but that's about it.
No, that little boy is not Davy from the original series. That's Dominic, one of many new characters inserted into this rather pathetic attempt to 'continue Anne's story' without, um, consulting the books or anything.

What are your top ten best/worst book-to-movie adaptations?


  1. I agree with you about the casting of the 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice- I thought Keira Knightley didn't fit as Elizabeth Bennet- also Elizabeth isn't supposed to be this stunning English beauty, which Keira is.
    I also have the Colin Firth version of P & P on my list.
    Ciara @ Books are my Bling

  2. Gah! I forgot about the Anne of Green Gables movies - LOVE the first two and hate the last

  3. I love Lord of the Rings! It's so interesting to see the same movies on different sides of the list. People either love or hate a lot of the same movies!
    If You have a sec please check out my top ten http://www.bookcrackercaroline.blogspot.com/2013/07/top-ten-tuesday-3.html

  4. I love this list! I absolutely agree with the BBC dramas, although I prefer the newest version of Emma to the Gwyneth Paltrow version. But yeah, Jeremy Northam is amazing. And I love Shakespeare adaptations. Much Ado About Nothing is so good.

    I love your comments for Jane Eyre and Pride & Prejudice. I also did not understand that line from P&P. It didn't make any sense. And the 2011 Jane Eyre was so disappointing to me because they shortened that awesome ending when Jane & Rochester are reunited to one line.

    Ashling @ Reading, Writing, & Anything but Arithmetic

  5. I can not WAIT to see Joss Whedon's Much Ado!! Sadly my theatre is a tiny 4 screen thing, so it hasn't made an appearance here, and I'm getting the feeling it won't make an appearance at all. This is such a great list!

    (And oh god words cannot describe the horror I felt sitting through Ella Enchanted. But I got it for 25c at a thrift store so I felt like I had to give it a shot...*shudders*)

  6. I LOVE the ann of GG adaptions. They make me nostalgic every single time.

    Also, I actually like the second princess diary movie, but I feel it has nothing to do with the books. (although I only read the series to number 5...)

    I love the epic feel of the lord of the rings. it is so well brought to life (except I really missed the Bombadil scenes from the book! Loved the magic in that)


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