If you have been following my writing on here (you probably haven’t), you will know that I am not usually a fan of book-to-film adaptations. The books are almost always better than the films. It’s the same thing with sequels. The original movie is almost always better.
But did you notice how I used ‘almost always‘ twice up there? That’s not just because of my limited vocabulary. I was trying to get a point across. The point being there are exceptions. Some films have managed to outperform the books they are based on.
Check out the list down below to see my terrible opinions.
No. 6 – Election (1999)
Some of the characters are certainly more likable in the book, including Tracy and Paul. We also see a little more character development in the novel, but I am really just nitpicking with those two things. The film did a great job of making the Election world come to life, and a few of the characters were actually better outside the book. One of those characters being Mr. M, played wonderfully by Matthew Broderick. The film focuses more on his character, which results in better chemistry with Reese Witherspoon’s character, Tracy Flick.
In addition to all that, the film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay, so they obviously did something right.
No. 5 – Holes
Oh, geez. I might be digging myself into a hole with this one. So many people adore the 1998 novel, and I certainly don’t blame them. As I am writing this, I am still not even 100% sure the film is better, but the film was just so special that it would feel wrong not to include it. Louis Sachar wrote both the novel and the screenplay, so it’s not surprising that the film is just as good (if not better) as the book.
Shia LaBeouf was outstanding as Stanley. The friendship he had with Zero was played perfectly, and it’s the only film that has made eating raw onions seem like a delightful experience. Plus, the director, Andrew Davis, managed to execute the perfect flashback scene, which is not an easy thing to do.
I mean, who could forget this?
No. 4 – No Country for Old Men
It would be easy to say, “Well, this film won Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay! It’s obviously better than the book!” And while the amount of awards this Coen brothers film has received is impressive, the awards alone don’t automatically make it better than the novel. Look at To Kill a Mockingbird as a prime example of this. It was an amazing film, won three Academy Awards, but it was not better than the book. A lot of things had to be left out of the film adaptation.
I don’t feel the same way with No Country for Old Men. In fact, I feel like the film actually added a few details that improved the story. They were able to create this fog of suspense, which added a new layer of emotions not felt inside the book.
No. 3 – Limitless
This is obviously not the best film on this list, but that’s because the novel it is based on isn’t the best. There will be some people who disagree with this; however, I felt like the movie was smoother than the source material. The relationship between the book (The Dark Fields) and the Neil Burger directed film is extremely difficult to explain.
They are similar to each other, but also totally different. Does that make sense? No, it doesn’t. You will just have to read the book and watch the film to understand. The novel is a bit darker, which didn’t really work for me in this setting.
Watching the movie was just a more enjoyable experience for me. It’s that simple. Please don’t hurt me.
No. 2 – The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
You know how I just told you not to hurt me? I feel like I should say it again: don’t hurt me! Let’s get something straight here. I am certainly not claiming the entire Hunger Games film franchise has been better than novels. In my opinion, the first book in the Hunger Games trilogy was significantly better than the first film. I wasn’t a huge fan of the first movie, but then everything changed when Francis Lawrence jumped in as the director for The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
I think he understood the message behind the books more, and that translated to the big screen. Everything just clicked with the second movie. The cast was more comfortable with each other, we saw Katniss transform into a complete badass, and the way Francis Lawrence set up the arena by shooting in IMAX was the cherry on top of the Peeta-baked cake.
No. 1 – Forrest Gump
Pretty obvious choice here. I am not one of those people who believe Forrest Gump is one of the greatest films of all time; however, it’s definitely better than the book. The film removed some of the more ridiculous situations found inside the novel, and replaced them with a lot more heart. We saw that the only thing in control of Forrest was his heart. He loved his mother, he was there for Jenny when she needed him the most (and when she didn’t need him).
He may not be a “smart man” but he definitely knows how to love. The film focused more on the amount of love in his heart, instead of how physically strong he was or how impressive his junk was.
Movie Forrest > Book Forrest.