As book lovers, we all love to say that we read the book first, the book was better, and more in depth, and please Mrs and Mrs Film-maker don’t ruin our favourite books. But alas more and more books are finding their way onto the silver screen and we’ve decided to celebrate the best of them. So let’s cut to the chase with our picks for this years best adaptations.
10. The Great Gatsby
From the acclaimed director of Romeo and Juliet and Moulin Rouge Baz Luhrmann we expected a complicated web of glitz, glamour and heart from his adaptation of one of the greatest novels of decadence, corruption and nostalgia in the last 100 years, and for the large part he did not disappoint. Mashing together elements of wealth and status from both the roaring 1920’s and 2013 with Jay Z leading the way on the soundtrack the adaptation made the story relatable for an audience that had not necessarily read the book. And hearing the line “Cant repeat the past? Why of course you can,” being uttered by Leonardo DiCaprio was near perfection.
9. Enders Game
Despite the bad publicity that plagued the project due to homophobic comments made by the novels author Orson Scott Cards before the film was even released, director Gavin Wood managed to pull the movie out from under the shadows with the help of Harrison Ford, Ben Kingsley and Asa Butterfield. In the film the audience does miss out of a lot of Ender’s thought process which fans will miss from the novel however the overall performance from Butterfield easily makes up for the lack of inner monologue.
8. Warm Bodies
An interesting twist on the boy meets girl concept. Having one character as a zombie allows for a more comical development of the characters relationship. Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer have great chemistry together which makes the film compelling to watch. It may not be the greatest film ever made, but it was really refreshing to see a new take on a classic love story.
7. The Wolf of Wall Street
The Second film starring Leonardo Dicaprio to grace our list for this top 10 adaptations. However in this modern exploration of hedonism and corruption the effects of living a life as fast and loose as possible to not look nearly as glamorous as the flapper dresses and champagne fountains of Jay Gatsby’s lavish parties. This time it’s all cocaine, all money laundering, all the time.
6. World War Z
Isn’t it nice to see a film that reminds you why one of your favourite actors is your favourite actors. That was one of the best parts of this adaptation, the reminder that Brad Pitt is a very good actor and even though the idea of zombies has been done many times before, seeing the beginning of an zombie making illness outbreak gives it a different feel to simply just having zombies just being there. The film has deviated from the book, but if you look at the two as separate entities then the movie is becomes becomes worthy watching in its own right.
5. Thor: The Dark World
Ok so not technically a book, but a graphic novel that has a plot and characters worthy of any canonical work of literature. The acting is superb, seeing a 3D version of a two dimensional drawing brings an emotional wallop to anyone who thought that the characters were as simply as Thor= Good, Loki= Bad.
4. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
If you were slightly disappointed by the previous instalment of The Hobbit trilogy, the appearance of Smaug alone will be enough is enough to earn the ticket fee. For fans of the book it’s an excuse to indulge in the world of J.R.R Tolkien yet again (we’re running out of Tolkien books to adapt so jump at every chance to revel in the incredible work that the production team have done in creating Middle Earth.) The film doesn’t feel as long as the first instalment did due to the fact that we have already been introduced to the characters and the general plot, so the audience is thrown head first into the action of the film. And it is one hell of an adventure.
There’s not much that can be said about Filth that would do this adaptation justice. It is everything that you could possibly want in a film based on an Irvine Welsh novel. It’s got every imaginable deviant behaviour that you could be looking for, sex, violence, drinking, drugs, and a wonderful indulgence in madness that is present in Welsh’s writing. Not everything is neat, not everything is clean and wrapped up. But not everything has to be. James McAvoy out acts every other performance of his career and then some in his role as Bruce Robertson. It’s making us look forward to the Trainspotting sequel even more.
2. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire
The second novel in the Hunger Games Trilogy was where Suzanne Collins really began to pick up the pace in terms of plot development. As with the Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, the characters and basic storyline have both been introduced so the action begins almost straight away. We see a more world weary Katniss than we saw in the first instalment, with the weight of the districts on her shoulders, but the introduction of new exciting characters like fan favourites Johanna Mason and Finnick Odair the film is jam packed with a range of funny and heartbreaking moments.
1. 12 Years a Slave
Originally written in 1853 as a memoir by Solomon Northup, a free man who was abducted and forced in to slavery. This pick will come as no surprise to anyone who has seen Steve Mcqueen’s 2013 adaptation. The script manages to emulate the brutality, kindness and determination that made Northup’s account so moving whilst the phenomenal performances given by the cast throughout provide an experience that completely captivates the audience until the closing credits.
So that’s our round up of 2013’s best book to film adaptations and we’ll be eagerly the next instalments of The Hunger Games and The Hobbit alongside a number of adaptations that will be appearing on our screens in the coming year. But what do you think? Are film adaptations worthy of their own merit or are you a book enthusiast until the end?