An irregular foray into The Broke and the Bookish‘s Top 10 Tuesday.
There have been some cracking adaptations of books into films over the years. Stardust. The Thing (John Carpenter’s, not so much the new one and definitely not the original). Voyage of the Dawn Treader. And then there have been some truly excremental adaptations. Just about any Stephen King adaptation, The Golden Compass. A lot depends on how faithfully you want a film to stick to a much-loved book. Take Voyage of the Dawn Treader. I read it not long before watching the film and if they’d filmed the book straight it would have been a poorer film for it. Likewise Stardust, taking the essence of the book and distilling it into a superb movie. The Alan Moore adaptations, League of Extraordinary Gentlemen and V for Vendetta, are both excellent films in my opinion but they’re not shot-for-shot adaptations of the comics. Watchmen is much closer to the comic and is a far poorer film for it. I’m in 2 minds about Hitch-Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy as no 2 versions of that story were ever the same. Alan Rickman did a great job as Marvin, though.
So. 10 books I’d love to see as films (with the caveat that they should take the essence of the story and make the movie from that, not do a direct scene-for-scene adaptation).
1, Good Omens, Terry Pratchett & Neil Gaiman
A recent interview with Terry Gilliam leads me to believe this one may actually be happening. And he’s the right man for the job.
2, Sandman, Neil Gaiman.
I don’t actually know which of the Sandman stories I’d pick to adapt. Perhaps it’s more big-budget-miniseries than blockbuster movie territory. Perhaps the road trip, Dream and Delerium looking for Destruction… Or “The Shadow of Her Wings”, which has one of my favourite Sandman quotes: “You got the same as everybody else. You got a lifetime.”
3, Full Dark House, Christopher Fowler.
Why no-one has picked up on the Bryant and May books as TV/film fodder yet is beyond me. Superb stories, a wonderfully eccentric cast of characters. Works of brilliance. Bits and pieces of the BBC series Luther came close, very close indeed, to capturing the feel of the Bryant and May stories.
4, The Atrocity Archives, Charles Stross.
First of the “Laundry Files”, centering around poor Bob Howard and the surreal Civil Service department he works for. Defending the UK from Lovecraftian Horrors Out of Time and Space with only a Civil Service pension to look forward to at the end of the day.
5, The Magician’s Nephew, C S Lewis.
Why does all the love go to the other Narnia books? How wonderful would it be to see Charn on the big screen, Queen Jadis and the birth of Narnia itself? Come on, people! Let’s see this one. But please, please, don’t film The Last Battle. I finished reading that to my son last night and no film could ever do it justice.
6, Weaveworld, Clive Barker
Another one that would better fit the miniseries than the movie, perhaps. I must re-read this one, especially since it’s having it’s 25th anniversary this year. The Rake, the loom, the jacket of wishes…
7, The Book of Lost Things, John Connolly
Suitably strange. There’s a fair bit of the Urban Fantasy about at the moment, with Once Upon a Time and Grimm on TV, this would tie in nicely with that genre. Communist dwarves, werewolves, wishes granted, the lot.
8, The Second Book of the Tenth Kingdom
Okay, so technically I’m not sure if this book even exists. But the ending of the first Tenth Kingdom is this: “Here ends the first book of the Tenth Kingdom”. So that means there’s a second, right?
9, Carpathia, Matt Forbeck
100 years on from the sinking of the Titanic and people can still write new stories about it. In this horror masterpiece, surviving the wreck is just the beginning of their problems.
10, Every single adaptation of a book that I’ve hated, various authors.
I’ve hated some adaptations of stories that I love. Stephen King’s IT, for instance: Pennywise the Clown was spot on but the giant plastic spider at the end? Come on! Do it again, get it right. There’s always room for improvement, a different take on the subject. I’m not fond of the casting or the execution of the Terry Pratchetts that have been filmed – Death, for instance, was wrong in Hogfather, and David Jason as Rincewind? Nope. So come on, folks. Get it right.