I was going to make up a List Of Horrible Movies Based On Great Novels, but then I realized that turning good literature into mediocre or downright unwatchable films is pretty much a Hollywood pastime. After having my high hopes for the film version of Pullman’s “The Golden Compass” shattered, I think I’ll lay off the movies-based-on-books for good, and stick to the movies in my head that are automatically generated when I read the books.
(It’s not that “The Golden Compass” was bad, it was just not nearly as good as the book, so I was disappointed at the wasted potential. It was like providing a high school cooking class with expensive ingredients like truffles and mascarpone, and then having to watch as they use them as ammunition for a food fight. Also, I hate it when they streamline and alter plotlines for convenience. It’s all I can do not to jump out of my seat and yell, “That wasn’t in the book!”)
So, what are some great movies based on great novels?
Some of my personal favorites are To Kill A Mockingbird, Blade Runner, and The Shawshank Redemption (although that one’s based on a short story rather than a novel.) The recent Lord of the Rings adaptation is good, too, despite the occasional liberties taken by Peter Jackson regarding the source material.