"The book is always better than the movie" is an old adage that I have never gotten behind, but I can't deny that I love to compare the two. Going into a theater totally blind to the plot has its own benefits, but sometimes you get a taste of a story and just can't wait to see how it ends.
In the case of these upcoming adaptations, some of the books are well-respected classics, some of the books are contemporary stunners, but all are worth your time. Here are the top 10 books being turned into movies in 2015 and 2016 that will serve you well before they hit the big screen.
1. The Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling
Plot summary: An imaginative collection of stories set in the Indian jungle. The tales follow a young orphan boy named Mowgli who is raised in the jungle by a bear, a panther, and a pack of wolves after straying from his native village. A tiger named Shere Khan is determined to bring down the human, but with help from his animal friends, he learns to survive and thrive.
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Idris Elba, and Bill Murray
Release date: April 15, 2016
2. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Plot summary: Victor Frankenstein, a brilliant but naive science student, creates a sentient but grotesque creature using non-living matter. When Frankenstein rejects his own creation out of disgust and fear, the Creature learns how to communicate before tracking down his creator and revealing what he thinks about humanity. The film Victor Frankenstein will be told from the perspective of Igor, Frankenstein's troubled assistant.
Starring: James McAvoy, Daniel Radcliffe, and Jessica Brown Findlay
Release date: November 25, 2015
3. In the Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
Plot summary: The true story that inspired Moby Dick follows the crew of the Essex, a whaling ship that was attacked by a sperm whale in November 1820. With the ship lost, the survivors attempt a voyage to South America in whaleboats but face increasingly difficult conditions along the way.
Starring: Chris Hemsworth, Cillian Murphy, and Ben Winshaw
Release date: December 11, 2015
4. Miss Perengrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Plot summary: Following the death of his grandfather, a teenager named Jacob receives a cryptic clue and ends up traveling to an abandoned orphanage on a Welsh island. There, he finds a girl named Emma who introduces him to the mysterious history of Miss Perengrine's home, which conceals much more peculiar secrets than meet the eye.
Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Samuel L. Jackson, and Allison Janney
Release date: March 4, 2016
5. The BFG by Roald Dahl
Plot summary: A young orphan girl named Sophie teams up with a Big Friendly Giant and the Queen of England to prevent a whole nation of giants from preying on humans, particularly children.
Starring: Bill Hader, Rebecca Hall, and Jermaine Clement
Release date: July 1, 2016
6. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them by J.K. Rowling
Plot summary: The fictional author and magizoologist Newt Scamander's textbook describes 85 magical species found around the world, collected over years of travel across five continents. Because Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them is more encyclopedic than narrative, the movie adaptation will focus on the life of Newt Scamander, most likely on his travels finding these special beasties.
Starring: Eddie Redmayne and Katherine Waterston
Release date: November 18, 2016
7. Silence by Shūsaku Endō
Plot summary: A novel of historical fiction about a Portuguese Jesuit missionary in 17th century Japan who finds that the local Christian population has been driven underground in the time of Kakure Kirishitan ("Hidden Christians"). The story follows the hardships the young Jesuit faces as he struggles with his faith among the brutality of torture.
Starring: Liam Neeson, Andrew Garfield, and Adam Driver
Release date: TBD 2016
8. Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Plot summary: The final installment of the wildly popular Hunger Games trilogy finds Katniss Everdeen leading a rebellion against the totalitarian government in the Capitol in an effort to unify the oppressed districts of Panem. Half of the book's story has already been covered in [The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1](tag:446261), but you can live out the resolution well before it comes out in theaters.
Starring: Jennifer Lawrence, Josh Hutcherson, and Liam Hemsworth
Release date: November 20, 2015
9. Civil War by Mark Millar
Plot summary: Originally released as a seven-issue storyline from Marvel Comics, Civil War confronts a troubling crossover. After the United States government passes a Superhero Registration Act, which requires every superpowered individual to register as a "human weapon of mass destruction." The legislation leads to a major schism among formerly friendly heroes until there's an all-out war between those who are for and those who are against the law.
Starring: Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, and Robert Downey, Jr.
Release date: May 6, 2016
10. The Martian by Andy Weir
Plot summary: After NASA astronaut Mark Watney is stranded on Mars following an unsuccessful evacuation attempt, he must figure out a way to survive in an inhospitable landscape with no way to contact Earth. With his crewmates under the impression that he's a goner, Mark must employ impressive scientific knowledge to grow food, drink water, and, hopefully, get back home.
Starring: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, and Kristen Wiig
Release date: October 2, 2015