With the recent release of The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, the second film based on the series of books written by Suzanne Collins, I have been thinking about what are my favourite films based on books. So I thought I would do a post featuring some of my top picks. There are hundreds of great ones out there but I have only included my favourites which are based on books I have read and loved. There are many brilliant ones missing off this list that I am yet to read, watch and enjoy!
The Social Network
Based on Ben Mezrich's The Accidental Billionaires, David Fincher's adaptation is true to the book telling the thrilling and fascinating story of the creation of Facebook. Jesse Eisenberg perfectly embodies Zuckerberg, the annoying genius behind the idea, and is contrasted neatly with Andrew Garfield's Eduardo Saverin, his partner in this creation. Aesthetically it is stunning with grey cinematography that absorbs the screen and audience, but the real star is the script written by Aaron Sorkin. Sorkin has adapted well the material of the book keeping all the key elements whilst making it enjoyable for everyone as a piece of cinema. The Social Network is funny, intelligent, fast, witty, tense, dramatic and slightly sinister, all thanks to Sorkin's script which deserved an Oscar and shows what a genius he is!
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
What can I say about Harry Potter that has not been said already? Based on J.K.Rowling's popular series of books the Harry Potter films, books and franchises is known around the world and is close to the heart to people of my generation. The first book was published when I was 3 and the last film released when I was 17 meaning I did grow up with them and so watching the last film was like saying goodbye to my childhood. The films are great adaptations of the book as proved by their popularity embodying well the magic, drama and horror of the novels. If I had to pick my favourite book and film from the series it without doubt would be The Prisoner of Azkaban for both. This third installment starts taking Potter's world in the darker and more mature direction making it grittier, tenser and thrilling to watch. It is the best acted, looks great visually and Alfonso Cuaron, now of Gravity fame, has done a great job in the directors chair.
The Jungle Book
Inspired by Rudyard Kipling's Jungle Book stories published 1894, Disney's film adaptation is classic animation that has stood the test of time still being watched and loved by children today! What is not to love about Baloo the lovable bear, Mowgli the Man Cub, Bagheera the Panther and the many songs that never get old and will keep you singing and dancing for hours on end after watching it. A great story, beautiful animation and catchy songs, this is animation at it's best!
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo
More David Fincher now, that man is a genius when it comes to adapting books for cinema, with his adaptation of Stieg Larson's The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, the first in the popular Millennium series of novels that follows computer hacker Lisbeth Salander as she works with journalist Mikael Blomvist to solve the case of a missing woman. Although the Swedish cinematic adaptation is very good, Fincher's is grittier, darker, mature and not afraid to shock. Rooney Mara and Daniel Craig are well cast and play off each other beautifully with great chemistry. The score by Trent Reznor is upsetting and edgy, creating an eerie atmosphere that works well with the grey and cold cinematography. This is not your typical American toned down adaptation of a foreign thriller!
Lord of the Flies
William Golding' classic novel is a tragic reflection on the nature of mankind using the microcosm of a group of boys stuck on an uninhabited island having to govern for themselves to explore human nature with devastating results. Peter Brook's 1963 adaptation of this story is a forgotten gem in cinema history that is not scared of horrifying and shocking audience's truly reflecting the novel's aims. With powerful imagery, stunning cinematography, an eerie and sinister atmosphere and great performances from the young boys, it is a shame this film is so often overlooked. Unspeakable acts are made even more terrifying by their understatement and the violence is portrayed as stark and brutal. It may not be the best film to watch if you need a cheer up, but The Lord of the Flies is essential viewing and reading.
More Scandinavian crime thrillers now with Headhunters, a Norwegian film adaptation of Jo Nesbo's book of the same name. I don't know what it is about Scandinavia, but they authors and film studios certainly know how to thrill audiences with crime drama. Aksel Hennie is superb as Roger Brown, a headhunter and secret art thief who finds his world unravelling as a theft goes wrong. Packed with bloody violence, funny black humour and tensions, it is exhilarating to watch. The end is incredibly satisfactory with twists, turns and conclusions that get you applauding the writer's genius. If you enjoy crime thrillers check out this and Jackpot, another film adaptation of a Jo Nesbo novel.