Top 10 Tuesday: Book Adaptations I’d Like to Watch

This week’s Top 10 Tuesday topic is a freebie relating to Page to Screen. As I’ve already done two lists on great book adaptations and another on books I wish would be adapted, this time I’m doing a list of adaptations that I haven’t yet seen but would like to! Admittedly, I haven’t read many of the books these films & shows are adapted from, but I guess that doesn’t really matter all that much.

There are a lot of books out there where the rights have been purchased for adaptation or an adaptation is currently in the works but still a way off. For the purposes of this list, I’m just focusing on adaptations that have already been released or will be very, very soon.

Killing Eve (2018 – Present, Series)

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This series has been “killing” it lately (Drums: Ba dum tsh). But really, I have yet to hear a negative thing about it and it’s winning a bunch of awards. I love the fact that it features two strong female leads and Sandra Oh is absolutely fabulous. It’s about an MI5 agent, Eve, who becomes obsessed with catching a talented assassin known as Villanelle, leading to a high stakes game of cat and mouse between the two. The series is based on the Codename Villanelle novella series by Luke Jennings.

Good Omens (2019, Limited Series)

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Okay, technically this adaptation isn’t out yet but considering it’s set to be released at the end of the month, it counts. Based on the book by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett, the series follows a demon, Crowley, and an angel, Aziraphale, who team up to prevent the end of the world following the coming of the anti-Christ. The series has a fantastic cast, with the two leads played by Michael Sheen and David Tenant (who are both amazing!). It just seems like it’ll be a lot of really weird fun.

Gone with the Wind (1939, Film)

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Both the book and movie adaptation of Gone with the Wind are considered classics. It’s one of those films that you see pop up every so often, mostly because people are quoting Rhett’s parting line. I’ve always been curious about seeing it and almost did watch it on a international plane trip but somehow it’s never happened. Maybe because it’s about 3 hours long? Still, I’d like to give it a go and see for myself how the failed romance between good old Scarlett and Rhett went so very wrong.

The Green Mile (1999, Film)

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People have been telling me how good The Green Mile is ever since I was a kid. It’s considered to be one of the better Stephen King adaptations and what can I say, it’s pretty much impossible not to like Tom Hanks. The film (& book) tells the story of an African American man who is charged with the murder of two young girls and brought to a correctional facility. Shortly after, the guards begin to notice him performing what appear to be miracles of healing. I’ve actually seen a few small snippets from this but I’d like to see the whole thing. I know the ending is sad, but I’m sure it’ll be a good watch.

The Miseducation of Cameron Post (2018, Film)

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I’m not entirely sure why I’m keen to watch this one, I just am. The word is that Cameron Post is supposed to be a decent coming of age film with wit and emotion. It tells the story of a lesbian teen in the 90s who is sent to a conversion therapy centre by her conservative relatives after she’s caught kissing a girl on prom night. It’s always good to see stories not shying away from some of the murkier parts of history and featuring sexually diverse characters. At the very least, I think it’ll be something different from my usual.

V for Vendetta (2005, Film)

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I’ve been putting this one off for years now. Worse, we even have it on DVD and I STILL haven’t got there. Like, what are you doing, Ashley? Technically this one’s based off a comic series (by Alan Moore & David Lloyd) so I’m stretching the whole “book” thing here, but it’s an adaptation so I’m counting it. I like Hugo Weaving and Natalie Portman so the idea of seeing them portray masked vigilantes using terror tactics to fight back against a fascist regime sounds pretty darn cool.

A Walk to Remember (2002, Film)

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Yes, yes, we all like to make fun of old Sparky and his tear-jerker books, but there’s always a time and a place for them. This movie was extremely popular back when I was at school and yet, somehow I completely missed seeing it. Who knows how? I don’t mind The Notebook and I like Safe Haven, so I may end up enjoying this one. Next time I’m up for some emotional manipulation and a chance to get reacquainted with the black hole of sadness in my chest, I’ll pop it on.

After (2019, Film)

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Yes, you read that right. This dumpster fire of a film is on my to-watch list – just look at the poster, for crying out loud. I haven’t read the book but after watching the trailer for the movie, I feel the desire to watch the damn thing just to see if it can possibly be as bad as it looks. Well, that and because guaranteed there will come a time in the future where I need some trash viewing. Come on, we all do it. I’m hoping to find a heap of so awkwardly bad moments, much like Fifty Shades (the toast!), that it ends up being funny.

The Expanse (2015 – Present, Series)

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Finally! A book I’ve actually read…that’s part of a series of seven other books which I have not read. Regardless, I like a good bit of sci-fi and I’ve heard great things about this series. Its fans love it so much that Netflix actually saved it when Syfy decided to cancel it. The plot is complicated – a ragtag crew of ice haulers travelling across the universe, a conspiracy that threatens galactic peace, and a police detective tracking down a missing woman. I’ve had this on my to-watch list since it first started but I’ve just never been in the right mood for it. I’m hoping I’ll get there soon.

The Man in the High Castle (2015 – Present, Series)

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I love a good period piece and the concept of this series just sounds great. Based on the novel by Philip K. Dick, it looks at what would have happened had the Axis powers won WWII. The series is set in alternate 1962 and details what happens when several people mysteriously find reels of film showing Germany actually losing the war. I was a history major at university, so this kind of thing is right up my alley. Now that I’ve got an Amazon prime subscription, I should probably sit myself down and finally watch it.

And there we have it, ten adaptations I’d like to see. Sometimes adaptations are good, sometimes they’re…well downright terrible. I haven’t read the source material on a lot of these but I feel as though that can often be beneficial because there’s nothing to compare it to. Guess I’ll have to find out.

What book adaptations have been on your to-watch list for a while?

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Top 10 Tuesday: Books that Should be Adapted for Film or TV

This week’s topic for Top Ten Tuesday involved picking characters you’d swap places with. Now, that just wouldn’t do for me because I honestly don’t want to swap places with ANY characters from the books I read. Why? Because if the story is semi-decent, there’s stuff happening to that character and you can bet that stuff is BAAAAADDDD. So nope, nope, nope. I will just happily read from the sidelines as they deal with their various fictional woes.

Instead, this week I’ve decided to go with books I’d like to see adapted for TV or film. As it turned out, it wasn’t as easy as I thought because while I absolutely love some books/series (*ahem* ADSOM), they’re likely to prove difficult to adapt well. I’ve also tried not to include books that I know are actively making their way to the screen already e.g. Six of Crows, The Hating Game. However, books that have had their rights acquired and then been sat on for YEARS are free game. Let’s get a move along studios!


The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo – Taylor Jenkins Reid

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Medium: Film

I absolutely love this book but that aside, even as I was reading it, I was thinking about how good a movie it’d make. Provided it had the right script and a fantastic cast, as a movie about the darker side of the film industry itself, I believe it’d translate perfectly to screen. There’s meaty roles, strong conversations that’d translate well into visually powerful scenes, and moviegoers happen to love a good period piece. Plus, it’s always wonderful to see more LGBTI romances in film.

Skyward – Brandon Sanderson

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Medium: Either

This is another book I could see playing in front of my eyes like a film as I was reading. The battle sequences in this would make for fantastic action on screen with good CGI techniques. I mean the climax of this has ALL the necessary components for a winning movie moment. It’s basically sci-fi Top Gun. However, at the same time, the book’s also got some solid character moments to stop an adaptation feeling like a giant explosion fest.

Vicious – V. E. Schwab

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Medium: Film

While I absolutely love the ADSOM series, their scale might make it very difficult to showcase decently on screen. Vicious isn’t a huge book and it focuses on some interesting characters, which is likely to make for a good adaptation. One of the most compelling parts of the X-men franchise is the Magneto-Xavier dynamic and that’s somewhat present here in a much more grey-scale kind of way, which I think people would enjoy. Plus, who doesn’t love superpowers?

Warcross – Marie Lu

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Medium: Film

If there’s one thing the Ready Player One adaptation showed me, it’s that entire CGI sequences can work and be exciting. I would love to see the Warcross matches played out on screen for me to see in real time. But other than that, I also think the story’s modern, tech-savy, and would appeal to a lot of people. It’s got a little action, a little mystery, some romance, and also, go Asian representation!

Leah on the Offbeat – Becky Albertalli

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Medium: Film

After the success and adorableness of Simon in 2018 I feel like it’s only natural to adapt Leah as well. The actors in Simon were all very well suited to the original book characters and I feel like Katherine has the acting chops to take centre stage in a follow-up. I just want more gushy, marshmallow sweetness, okay? And as if this thing would not make some decent cash at the box office.

Illuminae – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

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Medium: TV Series

So technically the rights for this one have been sold but considering we haven’t heard anything since 2015, it seems fair to include it here. The story for Illuminae is so out there, and so much fun, that I think it’d be a blast as an adaptation. What would be cool is to see how they manage to incorporate the changes of style to the screen – show scenes through ship cameras, have typed conversations, it’d be very interesting.

Red Rising – Pierce Brown

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Medium: TV Series

There seems to be a lot of sci-fi on this list somehow? This is another book that’s already had the film rights sold and then disappeared off the face of the earth. The scale of this series is enormous, and it’d likely be a challenge to do, but it’s so fantastic, it’d be worth it. The action sequences would be amazing. I think the first book as an adaptation would do particularly well due to its similarities to The Hunger Games (with many differences of course). There are also some great plot twists throughout the series which always do well in adaptations.

I’ll Give You the Sun – Jandy Nelson

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Medium: Film

Studios seem to have been on a bit of a YA contemporary streak lately. Both The Sun is Also a Star and All the Bright Places are scheduled for release this year, and I feel as though this would be another good pick in that vein. The key is to make sure the script doesn’t end up reading sappy. With this one, I’d love to see the two different time periods play out with different sets of actors. My favourite part of the book is the fact that the relationship at its heart is a sibling one involving two messed up people who make some big mistakes but ultimately come back to each other.

Cinder – Marissa Meyer

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Medium: Film

Now, I can hear you crying: Ashley, no more sci-fi! BUT NO. THERE’S ALWAYS MORE. The Lunar Chronicles is another fun series which takes something people love (fairytales) and turns them into something else. I mean, the series pretty much has everything necessary for a good movie – a kooky cast of friends on the run, an evil queen determined to take control of the universe, multiple super shippable-ships, a sassy ship AI, solid ethnic diversity, political intrigue, mystery and some badass women. Honestly, I bet everyone would be along for the ride on this one. They’re also the kind of books where they’d be able to cut down for time without damaging the story too much.

The Seven Deaths of Evelyn Hardcastle – Stuart Turton

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Media: TV Series

Okay, I know I said I’d be avoiding ones that’d be too difficult to do, but eh. This one would need a hell of a scriptwriter and an absolutely fabulous director, but if they managed it, boy, would it make an interesting mini-series. Shot in the style of an Agatha Christie mystery (but of course, with the fantasy element), I think this would work really well. I’m just imaging the large, talented cast (much like the And Then There Were None adaptation) and the beautiful cinematography to show off the crumbling manor house.


Which book would you most like to see as a TV series or movie? Why do you think it’d work?

Page to Screen: To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

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I’m back with another edition of ‘Page to Screen’ and today we’re looking at the new Netflix adaptation of Jenny Han’s To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. Having just recently finished the series for the first time, I was very eagerly awaiting this release. There are definitely some changes but was I disappointed? That would be a no.

TATBILB centres around sixteen-year-old Lara Jean Covey. For every intense crush she experiences, LJ writes a highly personal love letter which she keeps locked away inside a hat box in her closet. One day, all five letters are mysteriously sent out, leaving LJ in an awkward position as one of the boys happens to be her sister’s ex-boyfriend, Josh. In order to convince Josh she’s moved on, LJ makes a deal with Peter, another of her letter receivers.  By them pretending to be in a relationship, LJ can throw Josh off the scent and Peter can make his controlling ex, Genevieve, jealous.

What’s Different? (Beware – Book Spoilers!)

  • The End: One of the biggest changes from the book here is that the last third of the movie meshes in a few elements from book two in the series, PS. I Still Love You. This includes the drama resulting from a dodgy hot tub video taken at ski camp but also the ending of the film. If you’ve read the first book, you’d know that its ending is quite abrupt and really forces you to read on to find a happy ending. The movie, thank god, doesn’t do this and in true rom-com fashion ends with the reunion that kicks of LJ and Peter’s relationship in book two. I was very much on board with this change. The only thing I wish had been included was Lara Jean’s reconciliation letter to Peter which is pretty dang sweet. Why you gotta deprive me of my aww moment Netflix people?
  • Less Filler: Due to time constraints a lot of the activities that Peter and LJ do together during the novel, like baking and antiquing, which help cement their bond have been cut, but this is easily forgiven. I mean, it’s only a 1 ½ hr or so movie. However, we do get to see them watching movies together and going to parties. There’s also a lovely conversation regarding the death of LJ’s mum and Peter’s father walking out on him which lays some huge groundwork for their changed feelings.
  • Kitty’s Motivations: In the novel, Kitty spitefully sends out LJ’s letters after a heated argument. Here, she mails them with more positive intentions, in the hopes it’ll help her sister connect with someone. This was another change I really loved and it was nice to see Kitty acting with more pure intentions which seemed much more in tune with her ‘I know what’s best’ kind of personality.
  • LJ’s reaction: Unlike in the book, LJ has a much stronger reaction than a mere shrug to finding out Kitty sent her letters. It’s more realistic but still manages to remain sisterly and amusing.
  • Josh x LJ: In the novel, there’s a love triangle between LJ, Peter and Josh in that LJ’s letter pushes Josh to tell her that he’s previously had feelings for her as well. This creates a lot of confusion for LJ as she’s unsure if she still likes Josh but at the same time, she has to consider the fact that he’s her sister’s ex. The focus in the movie is much more on Peter and LJ’s relationship, and in a healthier approach, Josh simply accepts it when LJ tells him that she’s over him. No awkwardness and no messy kiss that causes major problems between LJ and Margo.

Other Thoughts

  • The Cast: Whoever did the casting for this movie was spot on and in my opinion, each of the actors fit their roles perfectly. Lana simply is Lara Jean; she plays her with the perfect combination of sweetness, romanticism, strength, and vulnerability – exactly how I imagined the character to be. Likewise, Noah does a great job in capturing Peter’s cockiness and charm while still doing justice to his softer side. The two have good chemistry and watching them interact with one another on screen is very enjoyable, especially when they’re taking photos of each other with silly faces. I also have to give points to Anna Cathcart as Kitty (straight off the page with all the necessary sass) and Madeline Arthur as Chris.
  • Hallucinations: One of the things I wasn’t such a fan of was the film’s approach of occasionally having Josh, and at one point Peter, talking to LJ as almost hallucinations to help her sort through her feelings. Yes, LJ is a bit dramatic at times, but I felt like this inclusion was perhaps a bit odd and silly. It also just randomly stops out of nowhere making me wonder why they bothered with it at all.
  • Slow Start: The movie takes a few minutes to get into the swing of things and find its groove. For those of us who know the story and characters, this is fine, but for others who don’t, it may be a bit slower to get into the feel of things.
  • Comedy?: TATBILB is marketed as a rom-com and while I do agree with this, it’s more of a high school coming of age, romance film than a comedy. Think John Hughes (Sixteen Candles is actually referenced in the film). Sure, there are a few amusing moments but it’s not something you’ll burst out laughing at, as infectious as Lara Condor is as LJ.
  • Representation: YAAAAS an Asian female lead in an American Romantic Comedy. WOOO!

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AS AN ADAPTATION: Pretty good! Changes are for valid reasons and mostly good deviations.

AS A FILM: The adaptation of ATBILB has the charm and adorableness of the novel. If you’re looking for something short, fun, breezy and sweet, this is a great choice. 7/10

You can find my review of the book here.

Love Ashley

 

The Ultimate Harry Potter Tag

You know me, I never go too long without expressing a lil’ bit of the old Harry Potter love. Tomorrow night I’m attending an HP trivia, dress up, and treasure hunt event at my favourite bookstore so it seemed like the perfect time to tackle this chunky HP Q&A tag. It’s an oldie, but a goodie. I’ve no clue where it originated from but if you know, pop it in the comments and I’ll give them the credit they’re due.


1. Favourite Book?

Goblet of Fire has always been my favourite. I love the challenges (come on, dragons anyone?), Draco Malfoy as a ferret, the Quidditch world cup, introduction of the other schools onto the scene, and dramatic ending. Plus, it’s the last book before things become dark and serious.

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2. Least Favourite Book?

Order of the Phoenix. It’s not that I don’t like Order of the Phoenix, I do, it’s just a lot heavier (in tone and physically) than the previous books. Harry’s extremely angsty through large chunks of it, Sirius dies at the end, and I hate how Dumbledore spends the entire book blowing Harry off. Also, Umbridge. She’s worse than Voldemort.

3. Favourite Movie?

I adore Philosopher’s Stone because it’s the very first and has such a purity to it but my favourites are probably Prisoner of Azkaban (Buckbeak, Lupin, time turners, werewolves, so much to love) and Deathly Hallows Part 2 (it’s not exactly true to book but I love the epicness of the fight sequences).

4. Least Favourite Movie?

Order of the Phoenix. Now, this was a book that could have used two films. They stripped that novel down to the barest of bones and left it feeling hollow and bleak. There’s barely any of the character building elements other than the DA and I feel sad when I think about all of the wonderful side plots that were missed out on.

5. Favourite Quote?

There are so many wonderful quotes in this series, I couldn’t possibly pick just one so here are some of my favourites (which I’m sure you’ve all heard many, many times before):

“…[T]he world isn’t split into good people and death eaters. We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” – Sirius Black

“If you want to know what a man’s like, take a good look at how he treats his inferiors, not his equals” – Sirius Black

“Words are, in my not-so-humble opinion, our most inexhaustible source of magic. Capable of both inflicting injury, and remedying it.” – Albus Dumbledore

And a quote that’s especially important to remember in the world of today:

“We are only as strong as we are united, as weak as we are divided.” – Albus Dumbledore

6. Favourite Weasley

Fred and George – they’re a package deal. They never fail to make me laugh and I enjoy every scene they’re in.

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7. Favourite Female Character?

Hermione Granger – it may seem a bit cliche but Hermione was one of my favourite characters growing up. She was brave, hardworking, smart, and without her, poor Harry would have been a very dead chosen one not far into the series.

8. Favourite Villain?

This is a tough one. Umbridge, for example, is a “good” villain but she also happens to annoy the hell out of me. I think I may go with Barty Crouch Jr/Mad Eye Moody for this one. Mad Eye is such an entertaining character in Goblet of Fire, but because it’s not actually him, I guess it’s Barty I find so enjoyable. I like the unpredictability, the thought and patience that went into his plans, and the backstory to him ending up masquerading as Moody.

9. Favourite Male Character?

I have a bit of a soft spot for Neville. He’s such a sweet character – clumsy, forgetful, and loves plants. How could you not love that? I also like the fact that over time he gets more chances to showcase just why he got selected for Gryffindor house – deep down, he’s got the heart of a lion (well, except where Snape and his Grandma are concerned).

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10. Favourite Professor?

Minerva McGonagall – that woman is amazing. The sass alone is enough but she also happens to be a badass who can shapeshift into a cat. Need I say more?

Lupin gets points as well for always having a stash of chocolate on hand.

11. Wash Snape’s Hair, or Spend a Day Listening to Lockhart Rant about Himself?

Snape’s hair because I’m sure there’s an easy spell for that somewhere.

12. Duel and Elated Bellatrix, Or an Angry Molly?

An angry Molly because Bellatrix is freaking scary and crazy as hell. At least Molly could probably be reasoned with. Probably.

13. Travel to Hogwarts Via Hogwarts Express or Flying Car?

The Hogwarts Express, hands down. Watch all the beautiful scenery go by and eat a million sweets from the trolley at the same time, yes, please!

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14. Kiss Voldemort, or Give Umbridge a Bubble Bath?

Er, neither. Is that an option? If not, maybe the bubble bath provided I get earplugs and a blindfold.

15. Ride a Hippogriff, or Ride a Firebolt?

Definitely a Firebolt. As lovely as Buckbeak is, I’m not so big on birds (terrified of them actually) and hippogriffs have eagle heads so that’d be a no. Broom all the way.

16. Is there a Character you felt Differently about in the Movies VS the Books?

Ah, Ginny. I really, really like Ginny in the books – she’s such a strong character but she’s massively shortchanged in the films to the point where she’s almost a non-entity unless the plot specifically requires her to show up e.g. Chamber of Secrets, romancing Harry. So disappointing

17. Is there a Movie you preferred over its book?

I do love the movies, but no. The books are better.

18. Richard Harris or Michael Gambon as Dumbledore?

I think Richard Harris is absolutely the perfect Dumbledore. Visually he’s fantastic and just has the perfect combination of quiet strength, quirkiness, kindness, and intelligence that Dumbledore possesses. However, there are moments where I wonder how he would have done with some of the more action-packed parts of the books such as the fight with Voldemort in book 5, especially since Michael Gambon managed these very well. Guess we’ll never know.

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19. Your Top Thing (Person or Event) which wasn’t Included in the Movies that Annoyed you the Most?

God. Just one? Peeves, SPEW and the house elves (especially Winky), Hermione & Ron’s prefecture, Hermione blackmailing Rita Skeeter to help Harry, Cho blowing up at Harry in some teeny-tiny teashop, there are so many things I wish had been included but I recognise the fact that a lot of them weren’t necessary to the overall plot.

20. If you could Remake any of the Potter Movies, which would it be?

Order of the Phoenix, surprise, surprise. I’d split it in two and add in more of the side plots from the book to enrich the characters and story.

21. Which House was your First Gutfeeling you’d be a Part of?

I think everyone wanted to be a Gryffindor when they were little but as I got older I came to realise that Hufflepuff is where my heart truly lies. Loyalty, honesty, and dormitories right near the kitchen. Sounds about right.

22. Which House were you Actually Sorted into on Pottermore?

Back before Pottermore was re-vamped, I did the quiz and got sorted into Hufflepuff. After the changes, I had to do the quiz again for some reason and ended up in Gryffindor, surprisingly. I guess I’m more a Gryffinpuff (or Huffledor) than I realised.

23. Which Class would be your Favourite?

I think Charms would be a lot of fun – levitating feathers, freezing things, making your wand light up, and so on, but Defence Against the Dark Arts could be exciting as well.

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24. Which Spell do you Think would be the Most Useful to Learn?

Lumos would certainly be useful when you need to do something in the middle of the night without waking everyone up (or stepping on a cat, in my case), but I’m extremely lazy so Accio would probably be my pick.

25. Which Character do you Think You’d Instantly Become Best Friends with?

Hagrid – I could teach him how to bake better and he could convince me to get out of the house more. Plus the hugs would be amazing, and I’d get to pat Fang.

26. If you Could Own One of the Three Hallows, Which Would it be?

The invisibility cloak. Nobody should have the power of the Elder Wand, plus I don’t want people murdering me for it.  The stone scares me a little and it seems a bit unhealthy in encouraging you not to let go of those who’ve died. However, I can’t deny that it’d certainly be cool to have conversations with some famous dead people.

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27. Is there any Aspect of the Books You’d Want to Change?

Hm, I haven’t read them in a few years now so things aren’t as fresh in my mind as they could be. The only thing that comes to mind at the moment is maybe the first section of Deathly Hallows. There’s a lot of what feels like nothing and during my first read, it did get a bit boring. I wish there’d been more direction, less bickering.

28. Favourite Marauder?

All of them are great except Peter but if I had to pick, probably Lupin as James and Sirius did some bullying in their teen years which I’m not a fan of.

29. If you could Bring one Character Back to Life, which would it be?

Hedwig. I don’t even like birds and her death was bloody traumatising. I get it was supposed to be about the loss of innocence and all that, but really, WHY??

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30. Hallows or Horcruxes?

Hallows. I’m not really up for (a) murdering people, (b) tearing up my soul, or (c) living forever. Nope, nope, nope.Divider

There we have it, 30 questions done! Some of them were quite difficult, too. Doing this definitely made me want to do a re-read of the series. It’s been AGES. But when do I find the time? The TBR just never stops growing (aka. I never stop buying new books, so it’s my own fault).

Enough from me, tell me all about your own HP favourites and disappointments! What’s your house, favourite book, and fave character?

Love Ashley

Top 10 Tuesday: Best Book to Movie/TV Adaptations, Part 2

I wasn’t really in the mood to do this week’s TTT post because (a) it’s winter here, (b) then I have to ask, what the hell is a “winter read”, and (c) I’m likely to do a TBR post soon. Instead I’m doing an older topic from The Broke and the Bookish‘s archives which is top ten best/worst book adaptations. The criteria for making this type of list is always hard because is it a matter of how closely the adaptation followed the source material or is it about the quality of the actual adaptation? In my case, it’s usually a bit of both. I’m cool with the adaptation making changes to the book’s story as long as they’re good changes and don’t mess with my enjoyment of the movie/show. I actually did this same topic for a top ten last year but since then I’ve seen a few other adaptations that I’ve thought were pretty good. Then there were others that missed out on my original list. Besides, no-one’s ever said you can’t do the same topic twice. And well, if they have…er, my blog, my rules, I guess.Divider1

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Gone Girl – Gillian Flynn

This is a dark and slightly odd book with a significant shift right in the middle. The movie does a great job of matching it’s eerie tone and remains very close to the book’s plot. Rosamund Pike is perfect as deranged “cool girl” Amy, while Ben Affleck also does a great job as her imperfect husband, Nick. The only thing I wish it’d done was include the couple’s final lines of dialogue.


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Thirteen Reasons Why – Jay Asher

Controversy aside, in my opinion TRW is a good adaptation of Jay Asher’s book and in a lot of ways, I think it even surpasses it. Often where adaptations deviate from their source material, it’s a bad thing but with this one it works well. The decision to spread Clay’s experience with the tapes over several days instead of one night and actually taking the time to flesh out each of the characters involved enhances the story and ideas of the novel rather than damages them.


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Call Me By Your Name

Call Me by your Name – Andre Aciman

This is a beautifully written book, and although it’s difficult to transfer prose and imagery over to film easily, this adaptation manages to capture the tone of the novel instead through scenery, music, camera angles, and expressions. The set locations are stunning and the casting is absolutely perfect. Also, while the ending is a little different from the novel (which is sort of an extension on the film), it’s still fits the spirit of the story whilst still being damn heartbreaking.


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Love, Simon (Simon vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda) – Becky Albertalli

I had high expectations for this one and to my relief, it met them. This is another adaptation where there were a few changes made to the plot, mostly in terms of cuts (likely for time reasons). However, the movie never strays from the feeling of the book and is always true to the characters. It’s super adorable, majorly feel-good, diverse, and an easy movie to re-watch.


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The Martian – Andy Weir

The success of The Martian as a book rests heavily on the humour, sass and strength of it’s main character, Mark, and this translated extremely successfully over to the adaptation. Matt Damon is fantastic in the role, as is the rest of the cast of famous faces. The movie’s funny, visually striking, and also manages to get a bit less bogged down in some of the scientific elements than the book, which is a big plus.


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The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood

I had heard that this particular series was quite different from the book but after recently, finally, watching it, I found it to actually be quite similar. Yes, some of the ages are different and you get a lot more background with regards to the characters and how Gilead came about, but for me these additions have enhanced the story and answered a lot of questions that I know I had while reading the book. The acting is great all around and the show itself is extremely addictive, even if it’s sometimes hard to watch.


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It – Stephen King

I don’t usually do horror movies, at all. I am the biggest wuss you will ever meet but I was determined to see the 2017 movie adaptation of this book and despite looking through my fingers at several points, I really, really enjoyed it. The child actors are all great in their roles and Pennywise is damn scary. Although the movie only focuses on the child part of the book, it’s still a HUGE book and they did a great job cutting down the story while still keeping the important parts intact. Definitely looking forward to part 2 next year.


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And Then There Were None – Agatha Christie

There have been a lot of adaptations of this particular story, because it’s just so good! In this instance though I’m referencing the 2015 BBC mini-series. This version dwells on the darker undertones in Christie’s story, making it a little bit more modern somehow but it still remains both stylish and true to the novel, right to the very, bitter end. Also, it doesn’t hurt that there’s some eye candy in the form of Mr Aidan Turner.


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Divergent

Divergent – Veronica Roth

Say what you will about the later entries in the series, both films and books (*cough* they sucked *cough), but I really like the adaptation of the first book (Yep, judge away, I know). I’ll admit, they did cut out and strip down some characters (e.g. Edward), and rework certain plot elements but I liked the casting and the story changes never really impaired my enjoyment of the movie. Now I just happily watch it as a stand-alone.


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The Fault in Our Stars – John Green

Alright, I’m not a huge John Green fan but having read the book and seen the movie for this particular one, even I have to say that it’s a well done adaptation that should have satisfied fans of the book. The actors are chosen well  (Shailene does a great job as Hazel), the plot sticks closely to the book, the tone of the movie is very JG-esque, and the ending is still grab your tissues worthy (okay, well, for those people that aren’t me).


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The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Stieg Larsson

Two adaptations were made of this novel, one English speaking and the other in Swedish and surprisingly, both of them are not only very close to the book but well done too. The actors in each version do a great job bringing the characters to life, especially Rooney Mara and Noomi Rapace as Lisbeth, and the plot is mysterious and engaging. Be warned though, this isn’t a lighthearted book and neither movie shies away from the darker content.

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And there we have it, another top ten done and dusted. Was there a favourite of yours that I missed? It might have been on my first list on this topic published last year. You can find that Top 10 here.

What are some recent adaptations that you’ve enjoyed?

Love Ashley

 

Page to Screen: Ready Player One

Image result for Ready Player One

Today I’m adding a new segment to my blog (woo hoo!), ‘Page to Screen’, where I’ll look at book adaptations, compare them to their source material, evaluate what worked and what didn’t, determine which medium reigned supreme, and so on. First up to the plate is Spielberg’s adaptation of Ernest Cline’s, Ready Player One.

Let me say, first and foremost, there are some huge changes from the book in this one. So, if you’re a purist or massive fan of the novel, you’re likely going to be uncomfortable or mad for at least the first half hour or so before you adjust. Prepare yourself.

THE CHALLENGES

The biggest change from the book was the clues and challenges to find Halliday’s egg. In the book there are three keys and three gates, each with its own test. In the movie there’s one gate and the tests are limited to the keys ONLY. This cuts down a lot of the book but for time constraints, it’s perfectly reasonable. Additionally, almost none of the challenges in the movie are taken directly from the book and it’s for one obvious reason: to make the movie more understandable and marketable to the masses.

The movie begins with the test for the first key which is, believe it or not, a freaking car race. I almost spat the dummy right then and there. But once Wade actually had to do some thinking and research to beat the challenge, I calmed down a bit. By the time we’d reached challenge two, which involved a fantastic sequence set inside the film, The Shining, I began to realise that these changes were probably a good thing. While they aren’t a direct adaptation of the book, they remain largely in the spirit and tone of it.

THE WORLD

As this is a movie, there’s a lot less time to spend describing the conditions in the real world or the nature of The Oasis in lengthy detail. The film does its best through the use of Wade’s voice over and a short, flashy sequence at the beginning but the book has the one up on this one purely due to available time for exposition.

Also, in case you weren’t aware, ¾ of the movie is CGI Oasis. The real world is showcased a bit more in the second half but you’re going to be looking at the characters’ avatars A LOT, so get used to it fast.

CHARACTERS

Wade

I’ll be blunt: Wade’s character is lacking here. The degree of  credit he’s given in the film is increased but at the same time, the amount of stuff his character actually does is less. There’s no period in which he re-evaluates his priorities and shapes himself into a mentally and physically stronger person, and no infiltration of IOI (the bit from the book that really does show him off as the hero Cline wants him to be). And still, we get a scene in which Art3mis tells Wade he’s the best of them all and that he’ll win because of it. I mean, really?

Art3mis

On the flip side, Art3mis is given a lot more screen time and things to do, taking over some of Wade’s roles. Compared to the book, we see her in the real world far earlier and it’s Arty that ends up stuck in IOI. At first this seems like it’ll just be a rescue situation but then she starts kicking ass, and I’ve come to see it as another solid deviation choice. Extra depth is also added to Art3mis’s back story regarding IOI and her father. She’s given motives aside from simple altruism and a role in the film’s so called resistance (an unnecessary new element that isn’t really developed or explained).

The Other Top 5

Diversity was maintained here and one character survived where their book counterpart did not. However, notably, Shoto and Daito do get short changed in the development department as the section of the book in which they go questing with Wade has been cut. It’s a sad but understandable loss but then again, even with more screen time, some of the other major characters are still somewhat difficult to connect with at times.

IOI & Sorrento

IOI and Sorrento remain very much the same – they’re still complete dicks and very much the greedy corporation, desperate for power and money. Sorrento comes off as a bit of a lame villain at times and is perhaps given maybe a touch too much screen time whilst his side kick of sorts, Zandor, is a tad wooden for my liking.

OTHER MINOR POINTS

  • Time constraints also restrict the development of Art3mis and Wade’s relationship, with him dropping the L bomb ridiculously and creepily early in the time line.
  • The climax of the movie drags on too long. Sure, giant robots fighting and watching IOI goons get wiped out is fun, but there is a limit.
  • I liked how the film dealt with James Halliday’s character – he’s a sad figure with good motivations behind his actions but I wish we’d been able to see more of his history

Overall, the film manages to improve on some of the weaknesses of the novel but it comes with new flaws of its own. Yet, despite its problems, Ready Player One was an entertaining way to spend a few hours and I’m glad I went to see it.

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AS AN ADAPTATION : Not good, a lot of changes from the book.

AS A FILM : Entertaining, but not amazing. 6.8/10

You can find my review of the book here.

Top 10 Tuesday: Best Book to Movie & TV adaptations

TTT is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. As I said last week, it’s currently on hiatus and because I haven’t been participating until now, I have heaps of past topics to choose from until it comes back in August! This week I’m doing adaptations. The original topic was just movies but I’ve decided to extend it to include TV shows as well. So here are 10 adaptations that I feel managed to live up to the source material, or even managed to exceed it. I’ve only listed ones that I’ve both seen the adaptation and read at least one book (that is, if it’s a series). Trust me when I say this is just a very small portion of the adaptations out there that I completely love.


1. Harry Potter

How could I not put this on my list? While the bigger book adaptations did have their flaws, I still enjoy the film series massively as a whole. However, the first three movies are really close to the books and are absolutely fantastic. I still get the same amazing feeling of wonder every time I see Philosopher’s Stone.


2. The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The author wrote the screenplay, the cast was perfectly chosen – enough said.


3. Silence of the Lambs

Such a great thriller in both forms. Hannibal Lecter does come off a little differently in the book to the film but each form is fantastic.


4. Poldark (2015)

The show, the first season at least, is ridiculously close to the first and second books and has the benefit of (a) Aidan Turner and (b) being able to see the beauty of the sweeping Cornish landscape.


5. The Lord of the Rings

I actually am not a fan of these books. The films, however, are one of my favourite film series ever. They’re shot spectacularly, acted well and manage to bring out Tolkien’s great plot without having to deal with his smug, over informative writing style.


6. Game of Thrones

This is a fantasy adaptation done extremely right. I love this show. Me and millions of others around the world. It’d be a crime to leave it off a list like this. Great characters, amazing shooting locations, appreciation for the source material, and a willingness to go big, this is definitely the adaptation fans deserved.


7. Outlander

One of my favourite shows as I’m currently doing a rewatch, it’s very much on the brain. I’ve mentioned it a hundred times, and I’ll mention it a hundred times more in the future. The actors are perfect in their roles and the story follows the books quite closely, even when it comes to things you’d rather not see. Action, romance, history, beautiful scenery, a swoon worthy lead… I’m in heaven, really.


8. Matilda

I almost put Roald Dahl’s Charlie and the Chocolate Factory here, but I’ve decided to go with Matilda. It’s a great story and translated really well to screen. Definitely something I enjoyed watching a lot as a kid.


9. Anne of Green Gables (1985)

So, let’s just ignore the third TV movie and focus on the first two which are really great, especially the original. It’s really close to the book and Megan Follows is perfect as Anne. To be honest, I find the most recent Netflix adaptation a bit too dark and gritty which is not why I enjoy Anne. These films encapsulate the feeling of Montgomery’s characters and story really well.


10. The Hunger Games

Fantastic adaptations of a great series of books. I even feel that the second movie, Catching Fire, improves on the book in many ways. It always hits me hard when I finish the series in either form.


There we are, finished! There are a lot of other amazing movies and TV shows I’ve seen which were adaptations of books but because I haven’t read the original source material, I couldn’t list them.  Guess I’ll have to get reading! I’m definitely looking forward to seeing the new It adaptation later this year even though I get absolutely terrified in horror films and it’s recently been announced that Maggie Stiefvater’s Raven Cycle will be getting it’s own Syfy TV series soon so that’s exciting!

Which adaptations have been your favourite? Which adaptations are you most looking forward to?

Love Ashley