From Novel to the Big Screen: *Meh*

Two popcorn buckets over a red background. Movie stubs sitting over the popcorn.

The blog hop topic this week is my “favorite movie made from a book”. It would have been so much easier to write about favorite books that had been ruined by being made into a movie. I’m not generally a fan.

One of my earliest favorite movies is The Haunting (1963) based on The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson. It was a faithful adaptation as far as the technology of the day allowed. Now, 54 years later, I still consider it the scariest movie I’ve ever seen. I was thrilled when it was available on Amazon a few years ago.

Another favorite of my youth was the Conan series by Robert E. Howard, which appeared in the 1930’s. Three movies have been made from it. I liked them all but have to admit the one with Jason Momoa as Conan is my favorite because, of course, Jason.

The movies from Salem’s Lot and The Shining by Stephen King were also fairly effective. Usually, however, movies from books fail (in my opinion) because they choose actors who don’t quite fit or change important factors. One example is a television show made from an urban fantasy series by Tanya Huff. The TV version turned my favorite male character into a very irritating young woman, and “updated” the vampire’s career from romance novelist to graphic artist. The same is true for the Janet Evanovich movie based on her Stephanie Plum series. I don’t know who those people were, but they were definitely not Stephanie, Morelli and Ranger.

The takeaway on this is that if you make a movie based on a vastly popular book, perhaps you need to put some thought into why it’s so popular before you consider any changes.

11 Comments on “From Novel to the Big Screen: *Meh*”

  1. I couldn’t agree more about the actors in One For the Money. The movie was probably somewhat entertaining for people who haven’t read the books, but very disappointing for those who have. Also agree that the wrong actors in a part are often why I leave a movie feeling dissatisfied!

  2. Learning new things today. I watch so many movies and pay no attention to whether they are inspired by books. I’ve seen all the Conan movies (and I agree about Jason!) but never knew they came from a book.

  3. There’s nothing more disappointing than reading a book, having characters pictured in your mind, and then seeing the movie and the actor is completely wrong for the character.

  4. I agree about the Stephanie Plum movie, and that was a huge opportunity lost to bad casting and screenwriting, given how popular the books were. The only one who came close, IMO, was Sherry Shepherd as Lula. Too bad.

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