For this Top Ten, I am listing all the adaptations I love -- some are better than the source material, some are just as good, and some don't quite live up to the novel(s). Either way, these are the movies and shows of books that I find worth watching.
1. How to Train Your Dragon (movie > book)
Anyone who knows me or follows me on twitter is not surprised by this pick at all.
I admittedly read the books after seeing and loving this movie. To say I was disappointed with the book version is a vast understatement. There's no Astrid (or any real female characters), Hiccup is a brat, and Toothless is not even a Night Fury, nor particularly endearing. I was ????? for the whole book and DNF'd the series. I'll stick with the kickass movie versions, thank you.
2. A Song of Ice and Fire (tv but I am counting it - books > show)
I love both versions of this but I have to admit the book series has more of my heart. There's just so much good stuff that the show leaves out for whatever asinine reason -- Arianne Martell, Stoneheart, the prophecies, etc etc. I have to hand to HBO for getting a lot of right and it is the best adaptation for these books that we are ever going to get. They also get kudos for casting by and large --- especially for Pedro Pascal.
3. Stardust (movie is better)
Another that the movie is better than the book. I also saw this a movie before reading the book and while the book is good -- really good -- it misses the spark that the movie has. I was really surprised to feel this way but though Gaiman's novel is excellent, I had so much fun watching this movie. From Robert De Niro's Captain Shakespeare to introducting me to the wonder that is Mark Strong, Stardust the movie is pretty much perfect.
4. The Princess Bride (movie > book)
I can tell you why this is such a great adaptation: casting. Casting made this movie. The book is so wonderful that this is a close race. However -- young Cary Elwes? Young Mandy Pantinkin at his Inigo Montoya-est? Billy Crystal's oneliners?! Andre the Giant?! This is a whirl of charm, humor, good looks, and memorable quotes. I defy you to find anyone with a heart that does not find something to love about this movie.
5. Jurassic Park (movie > book)
As vivid as my imagination is, nothing can really compare to Spielberg's work here, am I right? I didn't read this til I was in high school -- ten years after viewing the movie -- and the looks lacks the visual impact. Crichton is good at writing thrillers and tension but the visuals are weak in his novels. For that reason and for the impact Alan Grant had on a young Jessie (thank you casting people), this movie is one of the best book adaptations out there.
6-10. Harry Potter 5, 6, 7pt. 1, 7pt.2 (books > movies)
I like the firt four Potter movies but they are not the best, in terms of child acting, directing, or plot-following. I enjoy them because they are HP but it's not til later movies do they become some of the best book to movie adaptations. And though I loathe the trend of breaking up final movies, Harry Potter was a series that actually warranted it.
I actually kind of hate book to movie adaptations? A faithful adaptation will be too long and generally slower paced, while the pacing and length that makes a good movie cuts important details out of the book. I generally end up not reading the book if I liked the movie first and vice versa, but here are five that I did enjoy.
2. The Importance of Being Earnest (2002) - Colin Firth. Don't we all have a favorite Firth adaptation? Bridget Jones and Pride & Prejudice routinely make best adaptations lists, but TIoBE is mine. It's unbelievably silly and hammy and I don't date anyone who won't sit though it, because that means they hate fun and joy.
3. Stardust (2007) - This is a pretty faithful adaption, but, gun to my head, I prefer the movie for some truly committed performances.
4. The Princess Bride (1987) - Duh?
5. Harry Potter and The Prisoner of Azkaban (2004) / The Hunger Games (2012) - These are the only two adaptations on this list that are undeniably better books than movies and I'm grouping them together because they represent my favorites in their series and in the YA movie dump of the last decade.
And, to round out this list, here are five book to movie adaptations I want to, but forgot to watch. Oops.
1. The Martian (2015)
2. Mockingjay Part 1 (2014)
3. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (2010/2011) (I know, I know.)
4. Mr. Holmes (2015)
5. PrideandPrejudice (1995)
I know, I KNOW!